I think probably the best days of my life were spent doing menial tasks, but with complete freedom. For example, in college I had several jobs. I did some free lance web design and even some tutoring, but my main job was as a cook. I spent at least 4 hours a day back there behind a hot flat top making orders as fast as my arms would allow me. It was hot as hell, the work wasn’t glamorous, and I doubt anyone could care less who was back in the kitchen making their perfectly prepared meal.
Those days were great though. I barely made any money, but I had all the freedom in the world. I would get off work, take a shower, and head to the gym or to go grab a beer with friends. The other guys I worked with back in that kitchen were great too. We would sit back there for hours a day, but the time flew by because we were busy – and keeping each other entertained. Later I became a manager at that same establishment, but I would still return to the kitchen during a rush just to get a piece of the action. I never minded the labor, the repetition, and some strange since of satisfaction from seeing the results of my labors right there in front of me.
Today, I have a job most would argue is “more important”. I guess I work for more expensive clients and a mistake would cost people a lot more money, but sometimes I don’t think that I get one ounce of satisfaction out of it compared to the days of my kitchen existence. Honestly, some days I just sit at the computer and do work that I doubt will really add much value to the company. I know what I am doing is necessary, but damn I do miss the days of seeing my finished product right in front of me. These days – sometimes – I don’t even feel like doing what I do.
This job gives me security though. If I stayed with this company, making great money, I could literally retire by 35 if I wanted to. I could pay my house off in the next 5 years. I get offers for interviews almost every week. What I do is really in demand – even in the rough economy. Sadly, I am fairly sure it is not what I want to do for the rest of my life.
What I really want to do is one of two things: own my own business or travel and write. I want to open a restaurant or start my own business consulting firm. Something about working for yourself just provides unlimited satisfaction in my opinion. I just have to work up the security and balls to drop everything and make the leap. Give up security, give up insurance, give up a nice paycheck – all to pursue a dream. Hell, its what I talk about doing all the time, but putting those thoughts into action is a lot harder than just saying it.
I’ll put my time in. Make a plan. Build a security net. But I realize that doing those things can take forever, so eventually I’ll have to make the leap and do it while I still have the fire inside myself to do it. I keep reminding myself that this is the only chance I have to live my life – so everyday I spend wasting it on a false since of security is a wasted day. The time for action was yesterday – I have to really think about what I want out of life and do it. Now is the time.