“Work” has a bad reputation, when it shouldn’t.
Whenever I tell my friends or family that I worked over the weekend the response is typically that of apologizing, of stating: “I’m sorry.”
This weekend, for example, I had to spend a few hours updating the creative apps I’ve created for iOS devices. I ended up missing a birthday party as a result of having to do the work, and when I gave my excuse the response I got back was along the lines of: “That’s terrible that you have to work!”
For me, work is something I immensely enjoy. It’s rewarding, challenging, and provides me with a sense of purpose. No, I don’t work every weekend and I do have hobbies and other things I really enjoy, but work, for me, is something very few activities can match in terms of how rewarding it can be.
This mentality of work as a negative thing needs to change if we’re going to be successful creatives. Work isn’t bad when it’s balanced healthily with non-work life. We need to change how we view “work,” particularly in the creative field.
This isn’t a rant about how we should never spend our weekends playing video games, going camping, or watching an entire season of an popular TV show (I’ve done that more than I’d like to admit). What is this article about then? It’s a reminder that work isn’t something to dread, to fear, to apologize for.
Work, instead, should be viewed as a rewarding experience, time well spent, something you can proudly admit to spending a weekend doing.
Consider the fact that work is something you can uniquely offer to the world. It’s something that can influence people, impact your life, and give you purpose when you need it most. How can something so empowering be viewed as so negative?
Without good work to be done, many of us would waste away from boredom, or a senseless set of direction in life.
Why is it that work gets such a bad reputation then?
There are a few reasons, and they are reasons that each of us needs to address personally. I call these: Reasons Why They Dislike the Work. The reasons many people end up disliking the work their doing are as follows:
1. The work is boring.
Work that isn’t challenging for your skill-set, or that requires little stretching outside of your comfort zone, is work that is going to always seem like a chore.
Nobody wants to do boring work. From filling out Excel sheets to writing up invoices, work that doesn’t challenge you to strive for betterment is going to always seem to simply get in your way. This type of work has to be done though, more often than not.
But even the boring work can be stretched into more challenging work.
By setting hard-to-hit goals around objectives, attempting to learn new skills (like keyboard shortcuts, better and more efficient ways to reach the end-goal, etc.), and even turning the work into a type of game, can all make it much more enjoyable and worthwhile.
2. The work is too challenging.
On the other end of the spectrum is work that is too challenging.
This is the type of work where you don’t have any idea what to do with it. It keeps you up at night even after spending countless days working on it. You know there’s a way to get this type of work done, but you just can’t seem to get moving.
For overly-challenging work you may find yourself often procrastinating, waiting until somebody forces you to do the bare minimum or take the work off of your plate for you.
When it comes to this type of work, the solutions commonly involve finding a mentor, digging your heels-in to learn how to do the work on your own (thanks to the power of the Internet), or even passing it off to someone more experienced.
The benefit of overly-challenging work like this is, of course, that you can always learn from the experience. It’s a matter of mindset at this point, as long as you seek help.
3. The work just isn’t important.
Ah yes, the most daunting of all reasons for disliking work: uselessness.
When you find yourself feeling as though there’s something else you should be doings, something well-worth while, it’s important to do two things: first, take a step back and figure out whether or not what it is you’re supposed to be doing is actually important (filing taxes doesn’t seem very important when you’re doing it, for example, but here in the United States it’s actually extremely vital to your well-being).
The second thing you need to do is remind yourself of the end-goal. Your end-goal.
Filing for a business license isn’t everyone’s idea of fun work, for example, but for a freelance artist who is trying to take her business to the next level, it’s a really critical step to getting things done. The meaningless work that gets you a step closer to the work that matters.
If the work is important enough to where it impacts your long-term-goal(s), then it’s worth reminding yourself that it’s important to do now, even when you aren’t feeling like it.
Long story short: I love working. Particularly when it comes to the work I’ve always dreamed of doing.
Work is a way for me to ensure that I’m using my time wisely: by challenging myself, I’m growing personally and professionally.By doing work that has long-term returns, I have a clear direction in how I spend my days and time. And by working on things that allows me to learn from others who know better than I do, my abilities and skills reach out infinitely.
As you should be able to tell: work isn’t bad! It doesn’t have to be, anyway.
Work is a way to grow, to influence those around you and who love what you do. Whenever anybody tells me: “I’m sorry you had to work over the weekend,” I just laugh now and say: “I’m sorry you didn’t have anything important enough to enjoy working on.”
So what about you: do you have anything that’s important and challenging enough that you would spend your time doing it, rather than watching the TV or laying around?