After chopping and pureeing I left the potage of lentils (great Jewish soup with loads of lemon and garlic) to brew on the stove. I slumped on the couch while the rest of the family read and (internet) surfed – a peaceful late Sunday afternoon. Channel V was doing a classic song countdown, and among them was Dire Straits, all time classic ‘job-envy’ tune Money for Nothing. Mark Knopfler sings about appliance store workers trying to ‘move colour TVs and microwave ovens’, while watching rock star vision on the wall of TVs in the store. So unfair that these young rock stars get their “money for nothin’ and their chicks for free”.
It got me thinking again of the wisdom of Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel. One of his significant reflections is the idea that we always ‘take ourselves’ on holidays. The palm trees and white sand are impotent against the absence of inner peace, and inner peace is cultivated in the normal routines of everyday life.
It can be easy to look at the jobs of others and imagine how good it would be. Of course there are important shaping realities about the kinds of work we do, the workplace environment and the people with whom we work. However, I wonder whether the most significant determining factor in job satisfaction is our overall wellbeing.
The key to being productive and satisfied at work is being productive and satisfied in life. I’m sure there have been studies done somewhere, but I reckon it would be interesting to see how things like physical healthiness, hobbies, community engagement, family relations etc influence how satisfied we feel at work.
Curious if anyone has any thoughts on this.