This is another School Days assignment. Better late than never, I hope. If you're interested in participating, find details here .
I remember reading Heart of Darkness in high school and although I can't recall the characters or storyline, I remember that one of the major themes of the book was the value of work. Specifically, how work keeps us from becoming savages.
I did not understand the theme at the time; no, not at all. I guess that's why I remembered it--it puzzled me so. Wasn't life about fun? Wasn't life about getting out of work? I didn't find a lot of joy in work then. I dreaded Saturday mornings when my mom would assign chores. Chores seemed so annoyingly chore-ish. My bedroom was a legendary mess. In my opinion, there were so many more exciting and important things to do than work. After all, nobody ever died of a messy bedroom. On some level I believed that I was the one who really understood how it all worked and all these poor suckers with their brooms, sweaty brows, and timecards were the uninformed. (I realize now that this train of thought is practically epidemic among creative types.)
I don't know when it changed for me exactly--when I realized that work (housework, homework, work-work) made me feel good--although I give a big ol' heap of credit to FlyLady. But it happened. Work made me feel valuable, accomplished, and in control of my life. I began to realize that the work I did now was a gift to the future me, a constant paying-it-forward to myself. I felt better about myself, and constantly grateful for the work I'd done. I felt more free to do the things I wanted to do and less bogged down by what had to be done. Because everything that "had" to be done was not lamented and put off a billion times; it was simply done. As it turns out, it takes a lot less time to actually work than to procrastinate, which is something all those people with the brooms, sweaty brows, and timecards probably could have told me. (This doesn't mean that I don't procrastinate or wallow in disorganization anymore, but I'm 113% better than I used to be. Just ask my parents who used to play State Health Department on me and lockdown my bedroom!)
And, of course, I never realized that working hard at something you really love hardly feels like work at all. I looked over my shoulder for the first six months of my current copywriting job, certain that somebody was going to discover soon that I was getting a ridiculously good deal--all this paying-me-to-write nonsense! Honestly, it felt criminal.
If I read Heart of Darkness today, I would probably understand it in a different way. I can say now that I understand on a personal level what hard work does to me--it rescues me from my otherwise dreamy, lazy, savage self. Although, I'm not planning to read Heart of Darkness anytime soon; I've got too much work to do. And by "too much work to do" I mean "blogs to read." My high school english teacher would be so impressed.
What about you? Do you enjoy work? Have you always?