Snowy Sunday

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Had a random snow burst this morning. It won’t amount to anything and whatever got put down will be gone by later today. But since it made everything wet and there is no reason to go outside and do anything, I felt the need to write some stuff.

I’ve made my opinion about snow crystal clear. (ARE WE CLEAR? Crystal.) But I have to admit that at this time of year when the grass is still brown and there are no leaves on the trees that a blanket of snow does look pretty. We took Rocco the wonder dog out for his walk and it is always funny to see him get covered with snow. At least until it melts and you’ve got wet dog to deal with.

The latest from the rumor mill at work suggests Wednesday might be the day. In this case, the rumor is driven by the fact that several of the conference rooms in our building have been booked all day by the highest executive assistance. And we know of no scheduled visits from lead teams or others that would require rooms for the entire day.

In a typical bit of bad corporate timing, there is this little basketball tournament starting on Thursday and they’ve sent out invites to come watch the games with snacks and the like. I’m sure if they are letting people go on Wednesday, it is a corporate order for other reasons but you wonder if they have any idea of the mixed message. Well we fired a bunch of your friends yesterday but we’ve got snacks and basketball for you survivors!!!

When we considering what to do about Dolly (trust me this seems like an awkward segue but it does go somewhere), the vet asked us a relatively simple question – if she was gone tomorrow, what would she miss. Granted, you can’t get into the mind of a dog but it is just to make you think about their life and all the things they used to do but can’t do anymore.

If I were to be called in on Wednesday and dismissed, what would I miss? Interactions with my team and my workouts at the fitness center. Working in the corporate world has always required accepting that decisions are going to be made for “business reasons” that won’t always align with your personal values. But it was easier to accept that when we were busy with projects and you could get excited about the work and knowing that you were doing something that really helped people. In other words, the work had intrinsic value. As the workload has dried up, there is no buffer from the corporate silliness.

Which means that if I’m escorted out, it will be fine with me. I’m not sure I want to be tasked with trying to put the pieces back together again. Maybe it is time to leave and find something else to do with my time.

There was an article in the paper today about “doing what you love”. This seems to be a common theme and the article was one of many I’ve read that issue all kinds of cautions about how this isn’t always good advice. And one of the points that always comes out is that following your passions may not pay the bills. So you have the dreamer vs the practical realist.

But I don’t really see that as a valid reason for not “following your dreams” as long as you can accept the reality. Life is about choices and consequences and if you are willing to accept the consequences, then you shouldn’t be afraid to make the choices. I’m reminded of a story my Mom told about my Uncle. I think he was in accounting or finance or something like that and got early retired out of his job but was happy to leave. Mom said he always hated his job and would have loved to have done landscape design but that wasn’t what men did in those days.

What’s my point? If it is just you living on your own and you can eke out a living while following your passion, then it shouldn’t be a problem. But you make a decision to join your life with another person (and if other people come along as a result), then the financial realities become more important. Choices have consequences and that sometimes means putting finances ahead of dreams.

Although I really hope there were parts of the job that my uncle liked. Because if you are doing something that goes against everything you stand for just because the money is good, that will eventually kill your soul. This is where I think those who value financial security above all else are wrong. It is certainly possible (and a good idea) to find something in your life that feeds your passions and if work doesn’t then you need to find something. There can’t be anything worse than waking up each day dreading going to work and feeling like you are in prison for the entire day. That will eventually cause all sorts of problems and it is no way to live.

For me, it was ballroom. If I hadn’t found an outlet, I think it would have been hard to balance out the stress of work. Actually, I know this to be true because I didn’t have a doctor and one day I went to an urgent care place for another reason and they took my blood pressure and said “you need to start on some medicine NOW”. And they sent me to a doctor. Don’t worry, it is well under control now but I was headed in the wrong direction for sure. Dance doesn’t always cancel out work on the really bad days but you can have those moments when a pattern goes right and everything else just falls away. (I hate to use this because it sounds so cliche but it is like your soul is singing). So work can sometimes just be the vehicle to pay for the dance which is my passion – except for the days when dance stresses me out for other reasons but let’s not go down that path. Also, ballroom lead to weight loss and fitness and other good things. So, if you can’t follow your passion at work, find some other way to do it outside of work.

Of course, the article also mentioned that you may not know what your passion is. So true. There was always something about ballroom that intrigued me but I never really knew until that first lesson at the studio. Of course, it is also true that a job may not always be what you think. Suppose you love animals and think you want to be a vet tech. Sounds great, right? Except you have to deal with the people who bring the dogs and cats in and you also have to deal with the dogs and cats you can’t save.

OK, I don’t have any big piece of advice to wrap this up. Like everything, I can see all 20 sides of each argument. “Follow your passion” sounds easy but it is difficult to put into practice. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try but just know what you are up against.

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