It’s Only Work

Not only is business management my vocation, it’s also my avocation. In my free time I write this blog, manage two three-family investment houses, and help with two companies as an unpaid board member. I’m some kind of 24/7 work machine – The Manager-Bot 5000. What’s wrong with me?

It’s a disease, and I’m not the only one with this sickness.  You know you are sick when you catch yourself trying to get your identity, sense of self-worth, and fulfillment from arbitrary career/work achievements.

Do prestigious sounding titles mean a lot to me? A couple extra bucks from a raise? An “atta boy” from my boss? Do I covet and chase these things like a starving wolf? Yes. I’m sick.

At least I’m smart enough to know how stupid I am. I know my title is a made up thing from a made up place. I know money beyond what I need to get by won’t make me any happier. And I know seeking the praise of higher-ups is a despicable habit.

Some time ago I sat down and wrote a priority list for myself. It looked something like this:

1. God
2. Family
3. Health
4. Work

Of course, that’s not my actual priority list. I mean, if you followed me around for a week you would not see a person living that life. At best, my behaviors just haven’t caught up with my truth yet. At worst, I’m becoming an amoral work drone who is wasting a life that is incomprehensibly short.

I recently watched this TED talk from Billy Graham who said he was surprised most by the brevity of life.

Tell me if you’ve heard one of these lines before:

*Where does the time go?
*Can you believe it’s already December?
*Enjoy those kids, they grow up fast.
*It’s like I blinked and then I was old.

Oh, you have heard them before?

And if you are at least thirty like I am, you can sense these aphorisms are true. You can feel an exponential loosening of your grip on Time, with Time slipping by faster, and the rate of the slipping increasing each year.

We know life is short.What are we doing about it?

Maybe if I work real hard for the next five years I can get my priorities in order before it’s too late. Maybe if I get one more raise. Maybe if I get one more promotion…

What draws me towards these foolish goals of career achievement, prestige, and money. Is it Ambition? Greed? Fear? Is the temptation coming from within or outside of me?

I’m glad I got a chance to take two weeks off from work for the birth of our second child, our daughter Grace. I’ve been gazing into that pretty little face for hours. I can tell she knows more than I do. After all, we are born perfect.

Baby Gracie's first bath.
Baby Gracie’s first bath.