06 October 2014

Why I need to start writing again

Earlier today, a friend (on Facebook and Twitter, and, I'd like to believe, in real life), Jack the Scribbler retweeted this article by Jory MacKay, How I forgot to write. And among all the things the writer covered, this is what struck me most:
"I forgot that just because people are giving you compliments doesn’t mean that you’re doing a good job. It’s easy to get caught up in the praises of others and forget what your own definition of success is.
Success to me means personal growth. Success is defining your own set of values and aligning your work and personal life with those values. It means continuing to learn and constantly questioning why you’re doing what you are."
With this came a barrage of questions, stuff which crossed my mind before, but which I haven't really given much thought, until now. Does professional growth equal personal growth? How do you differentiate between passion and desperation? Dedication and insanity? Will there ever be a sense of fulfillment in the corporate world? By doing my work, am I really making a difference in society?

I've been relatively successful in my work, often doing more than the required KPAs (above expectations, wow!). I'm actually notorious for working all hours of the day, directly coordinating with stakeholders from Asia, Europe, and North America, which is tantamount to working 18 hours a day. What they don't see is how torn I am, facing yet another spreadsheet, sending yet another email, asking if this is all worth it.

As I grapple with these doubts, I always go back to what I refer to as my two-question policy, In working, only two questions matter:

(1) Do you love your job? If yes, you don't have a problem. Just keep doing what you're doing, with the same passion you've been doing it with. If no, then next question please:

(2) Do you need your job? If no, then you don't have a problem either. Quit. It's as simple as that. There's no point in staying in a job that you neither love nor need. But if it's a yes, you need that job, then you don't have much choice but to stick with it, and do what you have to do. And since you're already doing it, you might as well do it the best way you can do it. Because at the end of the day, you will have your name on it, so you might as well deliver something that you can be proud of.

In a pernicious world where "Passion" is sardonically uttered when work drags on for more than 12 hours, and "Dedication" means willingness to work on weekends and holidays, it's so easy to lose yourself and just be another corporate drone. When it reaches a point that "Creativity" means nothing but colors on your spreadsheets, and "Values" are linked to profits, we need something that would allow us to find ourselves again.

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