While editing my novel, I came across a part of the story in which 2 married individuals confront the declaration of love by that of the married man. The woman, being the elder and more clear-headed one, told him this:
It loosely translates to:
We meet many people in our lives who makes us want to tell them how deeply in love we are with them. However, remember that there is someone at home (your wife) whom you had promised to give your all. If you are able to check your feelings towards every other woman who touches your heart, that will be the best love you can give her.
And since my novel was about work, I naturally thought of how being in a committed relationship (a.k.a love or marriage) is akin to being committed to a job.
First, there are those part-time jobs that we took when we were young. Those can’t really be counted as jobs, and we won’t decide to call it our careers. Some of the jobs are such that the employers won’t even recognise us as a formal employee! Those are the times when we explored what kind of work we might enjoy, without having to commit our whole lives to them. Such was the joy of being in puppy love.
And then there are those jobs that others have, that we may dream of working when we grow up. We know we do not have the capabilities to fulfill the responsibilities, but we still take out our phones to do an online search before we sleep every night. Some times, we hear of people who really got their hands on these dream jobs. Most times, they are just crushes that our inner desires feed on to spur ourselves to move ahead in the rat race.
Our first job will always be full of bittersweet. It will be the first time we really find out what it means to be committed full-time to something that we may or may not know about. There are people who moved on, and there are those who ended up spending their lives with it. There are those who are like me, who took on my first job out of necessity, out of desperation because the economy was not doing well. There will also be those like me, who found passion in what we do for the job we did not expect to take on. Most people grow up during this first relationship. Many come out of it, hurt. Not many will be like me, though, who ended the relationship on a high, happy note; A peaceful ending that marked a new chapter, just like graduating from another school, the School of Society.
Many people move between jobs, looking for what they deemed as the ideal one. They might see it as an experience, or see that as misfortune on their parts. Some may find themselves leading such a nomadic lifestyle their whole lives (and it seems like this trend is growing), and some may eventually settle down… Maybe they settled for the best they could find, or they really found what they are looking for.
Despite being committed, we all tend to notice that there are many opportunities that are passing by us. Do we take the next offer? Is it even a bad thing to just think about those jobs that we may be taking? Are people poaching us because of the value we bring, or is it just because of who we are committed to? We may like the current job, but we may not like the design of the building the office is housed in. We may not like the vendor who are maintaining our computers. We may not even like the way the company seems not to be progressing according to our ambitions. But we love it nonetheless.
Sometimes the company will take in new recruits, who may or may not stay for long. Sometimes the company may seem to be very involved in a vendor or client that makes us feel that the company is treating them way better than they treat their own staff. Sometimes the company may fall on hard times and ask us to make some personal sacrifice in order to keep the company going. Sometimes…
And then of course, there are those who engage in their hobbies while holding on to a full time job. Perhaps the day job does not fulfill all of their needs, or perhaps humans are after all, not programmed to focus on just one responsibility. Some may end up allowing the hobbies to develop into a passive income. Some may end up leaving the current company because the hobby has grown too big.
There are also the few minorities who set out on their own, so that they can make their own calls. Many call them self-employed, or entrepreneurs. Some may give more depracting labels like un-employed. They most likely do not have CPF or any other retirement benefits. They may end up with nothing, and/or living their twilight years all by themselves.
There are those with degrees who abandoned it all to take a job that does not require them to be so highly educated. They may be a hawker, a volunteer at a 3rd world country, or painting artist. Either way, they disregarded people around them who chided them for not fitting into the stereotype of their qualifications. They think that it is a waste such a qualified person is doing a job beneath him. They think that it is against the rules to be trained as an engineer, but ended up working as a customer service personnel. No matter what, these people knew what they loved and they pursued that.
For the majority out there, they will really spend most of their lives in one job, that they may proudly call an occupation. They may go on to take bigger responsibilities, to develop projects one after another. They may be asked to help set up a new business unit. They may end up being a specialist in that company. They will grow old to find that the company has taken real good care of them, to ensure they retire well. Or not. They may find the company dissolving before they themselves retire. Many will just end up being attached to everything related to the company, no matter how much they hated it many years ago.
The multi-facets of work, is very much like that of an amorous relationship.
To commit, or not to commit, that is the question.