(No, I’m not talking about a certain individual who works at a company whose name is that of a fruit.)
They say every human has some basic needs: food, clothing are the most basic of these without which survival becomes ; shelter from the elements and medical facilities boost one’s chances for survival; education helps us make the transition from living to pondering the purpose / meaning of one’s existence.
On a more practical note, our studies at school, college / University help us earn a better living, or make the earning of a livelihood a little easier. It is unfortunate that our (so-called) education today is seen mainly as a means to earning a salary in a certain range, and not as something that can make our life purposeful. That’s a topic for a different post, so for now, let’s return to what is sometimes called the secular purpose of education: a job.
A job is often seen as the end of education (pun intended!), but what does a job really enable us to do? Save the world? Uplift the poor? Alas! Those are noble tasks that seem to be best left to those with a loftier ideal in life. For the rest of us, a job is a means to pay our bills; a vessel on which to sail smoothly through life without difficulties; a cause to lose ourselves in; less frequently, a means to find self-satisfaction. Commonly though, it’s the first and / or second of these. If that’s the case, then it shouldn’t really matter what we do: we may be farmers, butchers, construction workers, or IT workers, artists – it’s all the same. And that’s indeed true for many of us. We know not why we pursue our present profession and not something else.
For a few others, a job is a single-minded pursuit. What of, is something that varies from individual to individual. (I deal in computer software, so it would be best if I limit my examples to it. However, no matter what profession yours is, the ideas I’m trying to talk about should remain the same.) A typical software engineer these days, at least in the country where I come from, has a vision that’s unwavering. A vision of a great amount of money making its way to his bank account every month. If the colour of that money were to match that of an American dollar or a British pound, his joy is greater. In the steadfastness of this vision, he is willing to sacrifice any ideas that he may have had earlier in life of the kind of work he wanted to do. Money, to him, becomes, not a means to an end, but an end in itself.
Thus it is that you find these “yuppies” willing to sacrifice their time at the altar of their god: the bank balance. Time which they could have otherwise invested in creating a more well-rounded life for themselves; or finding a partner to live the rest of their lives with; to pursue their dreams. What these people have lost track of is the fact that the prime of their life is being used to gather money, probably in the hope that their fattened bank balance will enable them to retire early and enjoy life. Maybe it will, but what sort of life would it be if you couldn’t spend time with your kids as they were growing up; if you couldn’t put your heart and soul into interests that you had always wanted to pursue when you were younger and had the energy to go after it?
Life, I think, has to be looked at as a whole, not as fragments of unconnected times. To think that money alone can solve your need for happiness is to delude yourself.
Which is why it becomes essential to find out early on in your life what motivates you, propels you to become better, keeps your flame of passion burning. And once you’ve found it, never let it go. A job, until then, should only be a vessel keeps you afloat as you search your heart for what it truly wants in the sea of life.