What a Way to Make a Livin

They just use your mind and never give you credit

It’s enough to drive you crazy if you let it

This morning I officially set out on a mini-course in something most my age have long ago experienced…9 to 5 work.  I am a public policy fellow in the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office, which means that for the next three months my work days will fit neatly into boxes (kinda).  There are five boxes a week.  Each box is 8 hours long.  Amazingly, I have rarely been put in this box.  Thinking back, since turning 18, I have been either an undergradate or gradute student for every school semester except one.  My class schedule has never come close to 9 to 5, and my work during the semester was quite flexible.  The one exception involved one-of-a-kind work in our state capitol with hours that resembled nothing of set schedule office work.  My summer work the last two go-rounds involved partially creating my own hours and partially working via computer from any location of my choice.  Only the first two summers after graduating high school did I have set 5 days a week hours, and they were far and away my least favorite summer endeavors.  Then again, those two summers invovled installing random computer software over and over on an endless line of iMacs.  The hourly schedule was likely least of the problem.

Yet, the entire point of this post was to admit my feeling of apprehension as this summer fellowship begins.  I am continually worried by the reports I hear back from friends and family who despise their job.  And those who do not despise their job rarely actual like their job.  And I couldn’t name anyone I know who loves their job.  This terrifies me.

The fear has igniting a quest to discover the secrets of work happiness before I begin making more important choices that will affect my own long-term work experiences…beyond this summer.  I am lucky.  I have no money, but I also have little weight (or, quite frankly, much responsibility) holding me to a job or location that may create misery.

The way I figure, the next year or two will likely offer more complete and utter freedom in all aspects than at any time in my life.  So perhaps my goal is to position myself such that the next fifty years of my life maintain the beneficial parts of my current life.

I would greatly appreciated all of you working folks thoughts on your work-happiness in general.  And I certainly plan on discussing the topic much more as I learn and process.