By Fareeha Qayoom


e spend most of our lives working. There is no choice involved. Most adults have to work. The lucky ones get paid. The unlucky ones don’t. (For example, parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world – you never get paid even if you signed up voluntarily. Majority of us have to do it no matter what, 24/7, 365 days a year! There is no time off for good behavior. Funnily enough, there is no right way to do it. You are always wrong in retrospect and in your kids’ eyes!).

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There are apparently three kinds of jobs according to experts–

  • Jobs that involve your passion – in other words, they are a virtual labor of love, you would do them even if you never got paid a dime (hobbies come in this category);

  • Jobs that offer you a degree of autonomy, variety, learning and a challenge, not to mention status and money and a chance to move up and forward as your skills develop,  and

  • Moribund or Dead end jobs.

Unfortunately, most jobs are dead end jobs. There is no escape, there is no end and you don’t even get paid or appreciated. There is no career corporate ladder to climb…for example, if you are a mom, you will always remain a mom. You don’t start from frontline mom to middle manager mom to senior manager mom to suddenly end up as CEO mom. You are thrown in at the deep end from day one and you remain there till you die. Also, Peter Principle applies. You are stuck at your current level of incompetence. Same goes for your other major roles in life – sibling, spouse, parent, relative, friend, Co-worker, business associate, professional…this is all very subjective and you can never win.

You can choose your spouse (in some countries) and friends; however, you can’t choose your parents or siblings or indeed your relatives. Mostly, you don’t even get to choose your career/job. It chooses you. In other words, there is no such thing as personal freedom (of choice). It’s a delusion.

So what can you do? You can choose your attitude. Happy people cope better with boring, demeaning or stultifying jobs. They make even boring jobs look interesting. They have fun. They learn. They develop their mind and their skills. They also find the nearest exit as soon as possible. Unhappy people get stuck in a rut and switch off. They might go through the motions and turn in acceptable degree of work but the essential spark is missing. They never excel. They can never escape. They are stuck like a needle in a groove. Not going backwards, forwards or sideways.

In case you are wondering why I felt compelled to hold forth on this subject…well, a colleague of mine was complaining the other day in an idle moment about the general nature of jobs available, our material world and the family values being currently taught at private schools, not to mention, inflation and high school fees and the lifestyle that’s being demanded by the current crop of kids because of these so called posh private schools’ expectations…his conclusion: life is tough – what makes it bearable?- Having a sense of humor.

I couldn’t agree more. Our attitude makes all the difference. ■

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