Like most people, I don’t love my nine-to-five job. Nor do I hate it, mind you. It’s just that it’s not so much fun, even tedious and boring at times, and the paycheck isn’t really great. It requires me to spend a major portion of my waking hour sitting on a chair, staring at a glowing display and writing about things I’m not really interested in. Sometimes I feel like my life becomes so sedentary and I’m dying inside.
Alas, I have to put up with it anyway because otherwise I would have to live with my parents raining onto me, like on a daily basis, their sickening homespun philosophy: getting married solves life’s problem. Accordingly, I have to be grateful for my job because at least it pays the bills and gives me a hint of responsibility and independence. Because that’s the point of being an adult, right? Paying bills and stuff.
Now, before you feel sorry for me, I want to let you know that I’m happy. Really.
While most members of my generation avoid nine-to-five job (especially when they’re tedious) like it’s some kind of disgusting contagious plague, I’m grateful for my shitty, unimportant job. Why? Because even though sometimes I feel trapped in it, it offers me something that most “cool and important” professions don’t: free time. A plenty of it.
You see, free time or downtime is a rare thing in this age of hyper-productivity. Where did all those relaxing weekends go? When did the last time you peacefully go to bed without thinking about that overdue tasks at work? For how long has your job robbed you of your time doing something you really like, like hanging out with close friends/families or Harry Potter marathon?
That’s why I value free time more than I money. Not that I’m lazy or having very little interest in pursuing a lavish lifestyle. The abundance of free time that my job provides me gives me space, and of course time, to do what I really want to do: my hobbies.
My favorite artist and writer, Austin Kleon, lists the importance of hobby at number five on his 10 things about being creative. To me personally, my hobbies — reading, film photography, and now, blogging — are really the things that make me, if not creative, grow as a person, alive, happy and less stressed-out.
Your hobby is yours only. Nobody can take it away from you. It’s not something obligatory or task that you have to do or submit. It’s an enjoyable thing you want to do, it’s voluntary, and you don’t complain about it.
I mean, how great is that?
I used to feel bad about and ashamed of my job. I used to worry so much about not having passion about it. I used to envy some of my friends who moved to different cities to pursue their career while I had no single clue about what mine was.
But then I come to a realization that I don’t have to have what others have and I don’t have to follow others path, especially when it means that I have to be somebody I am not. It’s okay to have a job you don’t like as long as it doesn’t prevent you from doing things you really like.
Jack Ma, the founder of million-dollar company Alibaba, wrote in his blog that “happiness at work comes from your own attitude. There are always people who can find happiness even in their tedious, repetitive jobs, and yet others are always dissatisfied regardless of how important and interesting their jobs are. A good job isn’t something you go out and find, it’s something you discover while you’re working.”
Then, Mike Rowe summed it up perfectly.
Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.