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Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “employment”

The measure of wealth

https://www.extracobanks.com/img/measure-tape-money.jpgJoy was a girl who personified the meaning of her name. She was a wave of optimism walking into the room. Her eyes sparkled when she smiled and her good mood easily transmitted to those around her. She loved to please people, to entertain and have a good time. But most of all she loved the preparation for it: the elegant clothes, the glistening jewels, the chic hair-dos. They all belonged to the process of feeling good and showing it. Yet, these were all things that required money. Joy didn’t have a problem with that, so she didn’t really take into account how much she was actually spending each month on these “little luxuries”. She had the ability to do so.

Until she didn’t.

It was one day at the end of winter that was resisting the imminent arrival of Spring. The company manager called all the employees into the glass conference room and announced solemnly that the end had come. The company could no longer cope financially in the increasingly competitive market. So it was letting everyone go and was dissolving overnight.

People didn’t immediately realise all the consequences this involved. It was not just the fact that they would become another statistic in the rising unemployment rates. It was not that they would have to face an uncertain period of idleness. It was the fact that without an income, they would all have to start counting their pennies. Literally.

When that thought struck Joy’s mind, that is when the clouds set in.

Because, now, when her friends invited her out and expected her to show up glowing and glittering under the stars, sipping cocktails on roof gardens, and dancing in extravagantly decorated ballrooms, Joy had to maintain appearances. She had to continue living up to her name, despite the fact that her sparkle had faded. She was no longer carefree, because she witnessed day by day her bank account shrinking. And until she found another source of income, she had to restrict her outings. She was confused, though. She couldn’t stay in and do nothing, see no-one, out of financial fears. How did everyone else do it? All those others who earned so much less than she did?

One night, when the full moon lit dimly over the city’s so-called “high society” or wannabe-elites, Joy stood in a corner of the room and paused. She looked around, observing the crowd that had become part of her usual outings. Their clothes, their shoes, their hairstyles, their hand gestures, their body postures, the intonation of their voices, their fake smiles. She wondered when she had allowed herself to become so superficial, thinking that because of the money she so carelessly threw around, she would “fit-in” and become likeable. She had become so drawn-in to this lifestyle that she had forgotten the true meaning of her own name.

She ran out, saying goodbye to no-one.

She rushed home and called him. Him, who was always there for her through everything, but whom she so often failed to acknowledge.

“Let’s go get lost,” she said to the other end of the line. Her voice was trembling with excitement on the verge of shrieking. “Let’s just go there, to our island, to our room-to-rent by the beach and retreat away from it all. There on our balcony gazing at the sea, with the breeze blowing gently and the waves crashing on the rocks. You can work online, and I’ll write a book. On how the real measure of our wealth in life, is how much we would be worth if we’d lost all our money and were left with only the things that can’t be bought. I get it now…”

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Countless

Living off a passion

do-what-you-loveIt’s a great feeling being passionate. To have this incessant energy to do more, to want more, to want better. In everything. For every part of your life. The problem comes when you feel the compelling need to make a living out of this passion.

Everyone will try to convince you that doing what you love is all that matters. So you try to do that. But then you will soon come to realise that what truly matters is being able to live off what you do. So you will have to compromise. To reach for things that you didn’t think of previously, but at which you are good at no matter if they simply please you, rather than enthuse you. That is how you learn that elaborating on your passion will sometimes be restricted to something you do for you, to maintain that pure emotion of loving what it is that you do, that you are talented at, and that you enjoy.

It would be great if we could all do what we love most and get paid for it so much that we needn’t do anything else. But unfortunately, you will soon come to realise that that is not how the world works.

Many have argued for or against “finding what you love and making this your work”, but there is a distinct difference between doing something for the pleasure of it, and doing something because you must in order to get compensated for it. The notion alone clarifies the distinction.

Some have even argued that “the goal shouldn’t be to find your passion—as if it has been there, undiscovered, from the beginning—but to create one”. There is an underlying truth in that, because the reality is, whatever it is you do, you should like it even just a little bit. Because otherwise, it is no longer work, but a chore. And there is a whole other definition for that too.

So in essence, you shouldn’t give up on your passion, just don’t expect that it will be easy or entirely satisfying to make a living out of it. Because once money is involved, you always know that the commercialization of this world means that someone else also profits of you. Sometimes without them even doing anything. And then that becomes exploitation. Especially if you’re so adept on exploring the opportunities offered through your passion that you’re willing to do it for free, in the hope that once out there, someone will notice you and come calling. You just need to be careful and aware that certain distinctions in life are made to be kept. Not everything is as easy or as blissful as it seems in theory.

Is this really worth it?

heartbeatIt is strange how one single moment can affect your life in ways you could never imagine, or even expect. How one single blow, one missed heartbeat, one strain too many, can change your life forever. You don’t seem to realize this, until something happens and you receive a wake-up call. When you are shaken up and forced to change your perception on everything. On the way you live your life, on your priorities, on what you care about.

Seeing a loved one lying helpless and intubated in a hospital bed, does that to you. It shocks your system to the core and makes you re-examine every single thing in your life. You begin to wonder if everything or anything you are doing is really worth the trouble. If the long hours you work, the lack of holidays or any rest, the multitasking and the constant strive for top quality, are really worth it. Is it worth giving your all for so long without receiving any acknowledgement, recognition or gratitude, while you risk losing the only one thing that matters and keeps you alive – your health?

Maybe it is time to rethink about what really matters in life. Because in the end a job is just a job. And unless you own your own business, you will forever be treated as just another employee. So is it worth wasting away your time, health and energy for this? I used to believe that you should do your best under every circumstance and no matter what. Because that is what you have to show for yourself. But sometimes, that is not true. No matter what you do, your expectations (of others) are never met. And in the end, you are the one at fault on top of it all; simply because you cared too much.

I don’t like hospitals much. And I hate seeing people I care about lying helpless in a bed not knowing when they will be out of there. But these are the moments that get you thinking, that slap you up and awaken you, reminding you that your health is the most important thing of all. Isn’t that what we drink to anyway?

So, ask yourself this then: is this really worth it?

Also part of Daily Prompt: Ready, Set, Done

Breaking out

GarfieldStressPMarisa looked out the window. There was a small white poodle gracefully trotting out into the middle of the street and lying down, rolling around in the sun. It was amazing how it figured out that that very spot was where all the sunlight was concentrated. It cared not of the cars honking their horns after abruptly braking before it. In fact, it even stood up and stared, joyfully wagging its tail as if it was play time.

I wish I was that carefree, she thought.

In her office all you could hear was the click-click of the keyboards, while everyone was sitting mesmerized in front of a computer screen. As if robots had taken over her colleagues who were now sitting there with their energy drained out, waiting for their next break.

Marisa was having a weird day.

It was one of those days when you feel you’re about to explode. All it takes is the slightest push, the cherry on top of the five-pound cake. The last straw. And it didn’t take too long to appear.

It all started with the bling of an email. One that was announcing that there would be no weekend as the whole team was required in to work on a report to be submitted on Monday morning.

That’s all it took.

Marisa broke out. Her stress ball was instantly shred apart as her nails tore into its smooth wore-down edges.

She replied to that email with three words “I hereby resign”.

When she got into the car she started to cry. The anxiety, the stress, the sleepless nights, the endless worrying about the inadequacy of the people she was forced to work with. It all took its toll on her. And now it all erupted. The waterworks had begun. And it was not easy to shut them off.

She rushed into Dom’s arms and let out a drawn-out wimper. Shocked, he did not know how to respond, other than comfort her and hear her out.

Don’t you even have anything to say? she uttered once her tears ran dry.

Geez, there is no winning this one, he thought, as he prompted her to tell him exactly what happened.

Marisa knew it wasn’t easy taking a risk to change her life so abruptly. It’s part of those days every month or so when you just sit and re-think your life and your dreams.

PMS is a (wo)man’s nightmare.

But every now and then, some tears, some yelling, and some comfort always does you good.

Wanted: unpaid worker for paid job

work-for-freeWould you work for free? Of course you wouldn’t. Who would? It is a commonly accepted trend (and very much preferred) that when you deliver a service, whatever that may be, you will receive something for it in return. In the olden days it was food, clothes, equipment. Today it is paper, that kind of paper that has value though. It’s called money. And often it is considered to be worth more than the things that matter.

I belong to the group of people who believe that when you take on a job to do, you should do it well. And sometimes it is difficult to understand whether it is I who am too demanding or if it is the people today becoming stupider and lacking in common sense.

Aristotle himself had said that “pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work”. Hence, doing something you love and feel passionately about would make your job more like an activity. One that, however, renders you an income at the end of the service. No matter what that may be.

But what if you find your dream job, or at least a job as close as possible to this, that would enable you to do exactly what you want, with the freedom of movement you expect, and with control over your own work? There is one catch. You will not get paid for it.

Do you accept?

Oprah Winfrey once stated that “you know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it.” But in this day and age, who works voluntarily? There needs to be some sort of return for the time, energy and dedication you put into delivering work. But what if there is not? No matter how hard you work to prove yourself? Even if you do hope that the exposure will someday idealistically lead to someone discovering how good you are and calling you in for a paid position. Do you take on a job that will allow you to do the thing you love, even if that will make it hard for you to bring food to the table? Or do you settle for something less, that will however put money in your pocket?

And what if you could do a bit of both? It would allow you to engage in your passion, while at the same time being able to buy the food. The downside though is that you may not even have the time (or energy) to devour the latter.

The world is a dangerous place they say. The choices it calls you to make determine your future. And maybe somewhere out there, there are three Moirai (Fates) spinning your life thread. But the most important choice you make comes from within. Working and making a living are sometimes two different things. Wouldn’t it be great though if the hours dedicated to your job helped you live a decent life, as well as put a smile on that pretty face of yours?

Willpower is not an energy drink

In a period where all you hear is “no” and all you get is rejection letters, how do you find the motivation not to give up? With the highest youth unemployment recorded in decades, how do you convince young disheartened spirits that the best is yet to come and that their future lies ahead, when even that now seems so bleak? When at the most creative period of their lives, all they can do is watch idly as it passes by and disappointment settles even deeper. If like the Ancient Greeks said “the beginning is half of everything”, how do you get a chance at even starting something when the perpetuating contradiction reigns: you can’t get a job if you’re not experienced, and you can’t gain experience because you’re not given a job.

Motivation is key to success. To prevent your morale from sinking into gloom and despair. To convince yourself that there is  always light at the end of the tunnel. And that you will eventually take your first step that will lead you closer to achieving your goals.

Motivation can be found in a variety of places. From the wise words of a friend, to the courage demonstrated by another; from the moral of a book, a quote of an inspiring intellectual, to simply the galvanizing of the willpower within to just not give up. As humans we are the source of so much energy. All we need to do is harness it for the right purpose.

Strength lies in having the power to continue despite rejection, defeat, failure. A Chinese proverb says “fall down seven times, stand up eight”. Strength is inextricably linked to motivation and finding ways to engage yourself in opportunities that will demonstrate and even enhance your skills, is a clever way of both keeping yourself active and of setting up the right conditions. The right opportunity will come when the time is ripe.

All you have to do is look ahead and don’t despair.

Good things may come to those who wait, but they come faster to those who make an effort.

 

Also part of Daily Prompt: Pep Rally

 

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