Monday, November 27, 2006


The privilege to work is a gift.

The power to work is a blessing.

The love of work is success.

-- David O. McKay

After a long holiday, it is hard to get back into the grind. I'm beginning to lose my love of work. After more than a decade of working 70-80 hour weeks, I'm worn out and the love is gone. I used to work because I loved my career, my self-employed business, my profession. I used to work, however, to keep me from thinking of other things - it was a way of avoiding the inevitable. It was a way to distance myself from my wife, from my family, from myself. Keeping busy with work, doing good "works", kept me from being "idle".

As I've come "out" to myself, as I've come back to my wife, as I seek to be part of my family, work isn't the shield that it once was. Also, I am wrapping up several projects and the work load is slumping. I should be celebrating. But I'm not. More idle time isn't necessarily good. I'm worried about it. My weaknesses manifest themselves when I'm idle.

Of course, work, as physics describes it, is that force or effort against gravity. Mental work doesn't even count in physics. So maybe I don't truly work at all. As I traveled in India a few months ago, I saw men, like ants, swarming over construction sites with a parade of manual labor. It was amazing to me, particularly as I find myself on construction sites in the USA every week, how industrious and effective manual labor could be without modern conveniences. With enough men on the job site, anything could be done.

Our priesthood quorum moved a neighbor this past weekend - your typical heavy furniture stuff. Getting my son to participate in this service project was not as painful as I thought it would be. We had a good time, mainly because many able hands showed up - and he felt the "love of work".

I'm finding the joy of my profession is not there. The pressure of liability insurance, of threatening law suits, of pending legal hassles - makes it fatiguing. Am I getting old? This sounds like the makings of a good mid-life crisis. I just want to change careers and grab my camera and travel the world discovering new sights and adventures.

Apologies for whining and rambling. I guess I should realize the wisdom of David O. McKay. It is a privilege to work. It is a blessing.


Foxx said...

One of the reasons I have such a busy lifestyle is the fault of the old phrase, "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." I thought if I could keep my mind occupied with work and shows and school and 300 things to do every day that my mind wouldn't have the chance to go to dangerous places.

Now, even though I like sending my mind into the mine-filled frontier, my old need to be busy persists. Go figure. :D

Elbow said...

I love reading everything you have to say. Thank you for your concern. I really appreciate your voice in all of this blogging energy.

You seem to be doing well. I know it's still hard, but you are in a good place. Thanks again for being so cool.

Enduring Eric said...

I enjoyed this post Beck. Where did you get that photo of the guy with the shovel? Who wouldn't want to work next to him? :) When I saw that photo I wasn't sure if I should stay and read what you wrote or flee because of the thoughts that entered my mind! :)

Beck said...

FOXX: You nailed it... my ramblings wanted to say "An idle mind is the devil's workshop". Though I prefer to call it the natural man - I worry that with more time on my hands (working only 40-50 hour weeks) I will slip into the "natural man" more than I should.

ELBOW: Do you realize how wonderful you are? Thanks for being out there!

EE: I don't want to post something that will keep you from reading... I will try to restrain myself.

Loyalist (with defects) said...

Your right it is a gift and a privilege. I just don't like it very much.

I do admit that if I don't keep focused though I have a tendency to idle over to the sugar pile (mentally and physically)