Sunday, June 29, 2008

Work as pleasure--What is your true Work?

I'm feeling frustrated and discouraged. I have so much research and writing to do--work I crave and love. My body aches when I'm not doing it. Yet some weeks there is so little time even to check e-mail and respond, let alone return to the work of Ordinary. Last week, at my paying job, I worked 47 hours in four days. The fifth day I got to spend with our precious new grandchild and her mama--a joyful respite.

Yesterday was my monthly Saturday to work on the whales website. Five or six years ago I made a pledge in sacred space to build a web site about whales for kids. At that time, I had basic HTML down and felt confident in my ability to build a site, but the web was changing. Websites were becoming more dynamic, with lots of interactive features, and the old, static ways of putting up information simply couldn't compete in this vibrant, new virtual world. I knew I would have to learn how to build a glitzier, bigger website than I had ever dreamed.

For most of those years, I gave at least one Saturday a month to the project, a woefully inadequate amount of time. I don't retain information like I used to, and I found myself constantly training and retraining. No sooner would I learn one way of building a site, than it was obsolete. Soon, I was hopelessly behind. The web evolved a language of its own, and I wasn't learning it.

A few months ago, I found Lorenzi Davide's Dynamic HTML Editor. It claimed to build CSS, PHP, and W3C compliant web sites all in a WYSIWYG editor. Glory be, that's exactly what it does.

For the first time in five years, I feel confident I can finish and maintain the whales website myself. I am ecstatic.

It's going to take a lot of time to finish the writing and and to find enough images in the public domain, maybe five more years if I can only give it a Saturday a month, and I need to hire an attorney to assure I'm getting the legal stuff right, which means finding the money somewhere. The exciting thing today, though, is that the design is down, the basic pages are established, and it's looking fantastic.

In the first paragraph of this post, I confessed to feelings of frustration and discouragement. That's because of the time and energy factors. At sixty, I may not have many years left to research and clarify the vision of Ordinary, to continue to write the story of Rose, Cheyenne, Ruby and their friends in the Village and beyond. Then, working the long hours I do, how will I finish the web site? Once it's up and running, how will I find the time to respond to questions and do the site maintenance? A web site is never really done, you know. It changes constantly, and I've planned a lot of change for this one--keeping it fresh so children and teens who care about whales and want to do something to help them will return again and again.

So I feel discouraged, gearing up for another week at the office. I love my job. My contribution is fun for me and critical to the success of the company, but the truth is I'd rather focus all my energy on these creative projects--Ordinary, the whales website, my Squidoo lenses--so many in the planning and drafting stages!--and another website with a totally different theme, but just as important to building a world more like the Village of Ordinary than this one.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if every person on earth could spend our time doing what we most loved, that our contributions were rightly rewarded, and that we all felt cared for and supported in our work?

I hope you are finding ways to live your dreams and to do work that gives you pleasure and feels like your Work, not simply work-for-paycheck. I welcome your comments and hope you'll take the time to share your thoughts here.

May you all be blessed.


  1. Good luck and blessings with the Whale website!

    What work would I do if I had my dream job?

    I have no idea! :-\ You got me thinking now...

  2. You sound like a person with quite a systematic approach, so I'm sure you will realise your ambitions with the Whale Site - it sounds like a very exciting project!

    Now for the Dream Job question...

    I tend to think BIG :-D. Any of the following or a combination thereof will do:

    Cinematographer or Film Director, or Photo Journalist for a publication such as National Geographic (these jobs should entail lots of travelling)

    In the real world I've been job-hopping relentlessly most of my working life, looking for a Dream Job and currently I'm teaching English as a second language (which potentially could lead to some travelling ;-).

    You have a very nice blog here, I shall return!

  3. Thank you for your continued interest and encouragement, Michelle. I can't wait to learn what you came up with. Or perhaps you haven't needed to think about it in the past because you're already doing everything you love. Let us know, won't you?

    Jean-Jacques, thank you as well. I see you are nurturing your photojournalism dreams through your blogs. How about video? Have you posted any shorts on YouTube? If so, come back and tell us about it.

  4. Hi Grace

    I've never lived the dream exactly, but I've found compromises. Writing is the dream. Especially writing that makes a positive difference. The compromise is journals, bits of paper, emails, forums, blogs... I write a lot, but very very rarely do I earn anything monetary. I do get a lot of thank yous and they are brilliant, but sometimes I do wish for more.

    I suppose my dream job would be doing exactly what I am doing, but able to make a living from it, especially since we can't afford to buy our own home.


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