Thing to be thankful for #5...my incredible job that I truly love. Probably ever since I started thinking about career choices (sometime in high school), I've always known that I wanted a job that I really loved. I didn't want to work just to make a living. I wanted the kind of job that I'd do for free if it weren't for all the bills. This may not sound all that uniquewho doesn't want a job they enjoy? But I don't think many people put much thought or effort into it. Hence all the miserable people in the workforce. I think for most people, a job is just something they have to do to get by and they don't put much thought into what they really want.
I guess growing up with parents who basically did what their skills would allow and never seemed really happy with their jobs, I was exceptionally aware of the importance of one's job in one's life and level of happiness. It wasn't that my parents didn't realize the impact their jobs had on their lives or that they didn't want better or different jobs, but they had kids. They couldn't drop everything and go back to school or start at the bottom of some more exciting industry. Maybe that's why I've been so focused all my life on succeeding at what I dobe it high school, college, summer research, graduate school and now a real jobI wasn't about to let myself end up in just another job (even if it meant sacrificing on the social end).
Unless you're born with a silver spoon in your mouth, or you like living as a hermit off the land, full-time work is a necessary part of life. If you want a decent standard of livinga car, a home, the occasional vacation, hobbies, entertainment, good food, etcyou need money. And a fair amount of it. And so we spend most of our lives working to get it. So if you don't enjoy your job, it's just not worth it. Why bother?
There were times while I was trudging my way through grad school, that I wondered if I wan't being a little too naive or optimistic. After all, there were several years when I really hated grad school, making it hard to imagine finding a job doing essentially the same thing and enjoy it. But I kept going. And I finished. And now I think I am so fortunate to have the job I have. I love the work I do, the people I work with, the place I work-all of it. Sure, there are days when stress gets the better of me and I can't wait to get home, but for the most part I can't wait to go back the next day. I get to do cutting edge research that's really going to have a positive impact on people's lives. I'm learning something new almost everyday. I'm getting better at what I do almost everyday. I work for great people and I have great people working for me. I get to travel to exciting conferences and see what the rest of the world is doing. I have a hard time imagining a better scenariowell, I would like some more compensation, but those stock options are supposed to make up for the small salary when we finally go big.
Having said that, I do realize the need for balance. What's the point of working your ass off just so you can afford a nice caronly to drive to work and back every day? Or a nice home if you're never there to enjoy it. Or to buy your children nice things when they'd be better off with some of your time? Anyway, this post has rambled on for long enough.