Lost and Found

Old Joy

Old Joy

I came across something that had long been forgotten.

The Dead Sea Scrolls they were not, but I did find a small box of magazine articles I wrote 15 years ago. There they were. A record that I’d been published and paid! In fact, I was published and paid 8 times. Good for me..I think I’ll have a cookie, or a nap.

I thought back to when I did that. I was single, poor, and not focused. I did have two things going for me though:  hope and joy. I was hopeful in that maybe this was the start of a cool career. I had joy because I enjoyed writing and the future possibilities were endless. Then one day, the publisher stopped assigning me articles. My calls went unanswered and my emails were not returned.

It was then that career-type joy ended and I began settling. I settled on things like:

  • the safe and steady (worked at a… yawn… bank)
  • the risky (start up medical where I was first introduced to downsizing)
  • the stupid (start up with out any capital – went home for lunch and didn’t go back )
  • the safe again (“We’ll Pick You Up”)
  • the half safe/half risky (pharmaceutical $ales)
  • the unemployed (downsized part two)
  • the small business co-owner (scary, but touched on joy)

I picked up Jon Acuff’s book Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, Do Work That Matters and read about not confusing job titles with awesome. When I look back, I see a string of job title jumping, but I don’t see much joy or awesome. I see things I jumped into, but was not really prepared for. I see things I could do because I got a paycheck, but not joy or awesome.  Setting up checking accounts, seeing paychecks bounce, and jumping through hoops for a regional manager was not awesome or joyful.

Working occupies a big chunk of our life and to slog through 40 hrs a week, year after year and not have joy is sad. Put another way: I’m on track by age 65 at 40 hrs a week to have worked around 90,000 hours – or about 25% of my life to that point – doing something for a title, that pays the bills, wears me down, fulfills another persons dreams and leaves me with a joy deficiency. All because a publisher did not return my call? Now that is double sad.

Starting a family, going to Haiti, and seeing how my wife’s book and blog help people has been awesome. That’s joyful to me. What’s joyful is seeing my friends succeed in their businesses. It’s joyful being around good, passionate people who are making a difference.

I’m glad I found these articles. I showed them to my daughter. She screamed and smiled and ran to show mom. It brought her joy to see my name in print. That brought me  joy…and hope too.

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