I work, therefore I am.

(by guest blogger Andrea De Moliners)

Whether we like it or not most of us at some stage in our lives will need to have a job. Where we will live and how we will live will probably be dictated based on the job we have. How many people do you know wake up cheerful with a spring in their step itching to get to work?

How do we define that makes us happy? Just recently my theory – that aiming for the top of your profession will make you happy in your role at work – went up in flames. I was under the impression that for example if you are a journalist, your ambition would be to become an editor. This is probably not always the case. I know an avid animal lover who works in a pet shop. When I asked her if she would like to be a vet, her immediate and honest answer was a definite no. Not even owning a pet shop would make her happier than just working in one. I was surprised, are there others?

I envy those who from a young age know what they want to be when they grow up and I don’t mean the kids who say “I want to be rich when I grow up”. You’ve heard them, “I   wanted to be a lawyer when I was a kid”. I just wanted to know (and still do) what I was destined for when I grew up.

Well the answer won’t just come to you mulling away your dilemma in front of the TV. Sparks have got to come from somewhere to light the kindle that will be become the eventual fire to light your path. In that spirit I tried new things, did some classes and went to places I have always been reluctant to go. Still nothing, but I think at least I’ve got up off the couch, out of my comfort zone and begun my search instead of waiting. You won’t catch me professing my faith at a Hillsong festival. I do however, appreciate a biblical teaching that says “God helps those who help themselves”. Perhaps we can substitute God for something else, fate or chance maybe. (Hmmm perhaps I should stand next to someone taller than I for a few days just in case of lightning)!

That brings the next question – is your chosen profession a matter of destiny or chance?

That would not explain the child taking over the family business, or siblings who all have successful acting careers. I can’t imagine a person destined to be a bus driver. In the cave man days, you either became a hunter or a gatherer. Was there a need for an IT systems engineer during the renaissance?

What then determines what career we are to follow?  I was hoping that school would have given me the answers, it didn’t – not even close and the clock is ticking. A few thousand years ago some clever guy Greek said “know thyself” and then what? Thanks a lot! I know this – my time is short on this pale blue dot, which makes it valuable (to me anyway).  So how do I make it count? “Be brave, take a risk, do something out of context of normal expectations society has placed on us” I say to myself. (I don’t mean “rob the local bottle store”). I can’t, I’m afraid. I’m off the couch but haven’t quite left the living room.

I quite like the idea of some ancient philosophy I stumbled on recently. The reading said to strive for immortality and happiness.

I doubt that the Hollywood version of immortality was meant in the book I read, you know the box office version which involves a great adventure and the excitement of finding the holy-grail and with that immortality Indiana Jones style. The constant playing of the theme song in the background as you go about your adventure would be enough to make you nuttier than squirrel turds. I presume their idea of immortality means that your memory lives on in others based on what your actions were when you where alive. Ruling a European country with aggression and murdering millions in the process should not count. He doesn’t strike me as someone who was overtly happy.

That thought led me to ponder and what I pondered was this. In my line of work if someone came up to me and said that what I managed to get through to them was the understanding of being a safe motorcycle rider and that they would try and make others aware of that, then if that made my actions immortal then I would be happy and consider my life well spent. – Andrea De Moliners (August 2010) teacher, writer, philosopher & motorcycle enthusiast.

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