What Your Work is and Is Not

Because I’m Feeling Particularly Pretentious Today

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Recently (like within the past 24 hours recent), I talked about the importance of the work in front of you. I also spoke about the importance of your process and added a little definition to what that meant.

Now, it’s time to give ‘the work in front of you’ some hi-def resolution as well.

Your WORK — as I’m gonna refer to it — is likely different from your job.

You could fall into any job that could ask any random number of things from you. But your work is your decision. Your work is an essential contribution that only you can make.

Before I go too far down that road, I want to distinguish the difference between your work and a perpetually overused word: PASSION.

Reading all the follow your passion click bate nonsense makes me want to give up on vision, gouge out my eyes, and transition to only reading braille. But that may be an ignorant statement. I’m sure the blind get tired of that nonsense too.

The way passion is marketed, all I can imagine is people gazing out their windows waiting for an answer to arrive.

Dearest passion, when will you reveal yourself to me?

It won’t. Making a decision is part of your work.

A job allows you to live, pay bills, and support your lifestyle.

Your work doesn’t need to have any relation to your job.

Your job supports you. Your work fulfills you.

That doesn’t mean it is always easy. This is a belief that extends from the tragedy of passion:

Find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Chances are, if you never feel you’re working at something, you’re going to be piss-poor at it.

If something really interests you, there will be questions, lessons to learn, and puzzles to solve(probably with a few missing pieces).

Those questions, that work, and solving those puzzles is how you make a unique contribution.

Maybe your job provides you the opportunity to fulfill that work. Maybe your family does. Or, perhaps this work is something you do whenever you can sneak in a moment. One way or another, it’s yours.

If you don’t know what it is, you choose something. And, if that doesn’t fit, you choose something else until you find the thing that you can’t unchoose.

Call it a passion if you want… I’ll be over here ripping my eyes out.

You can love TV, books, or movies. But, if your only consuming the work of others, it's not really YOUR work.

All of these things certainly can be your work if you are creating something of your own or contributing to a community of fans.

The work is in the doing.

It is putting something into the world that wasn’t there before.

It’s creation… and while that feels cheesy to the point of approaching PASSION… I’ve got to give something a pass here.

For those who say, “I’m not creative,” I’ll have you know you have misjudged the meaning of the word.

Hiking is creative. Parenting is creative. Even friendship is a creative act.

Everybody is creative. It comes hand-in-hand with existence. Even waves are creative in the way they flow or crash along the beach.

Your work is the choice you make to set your creative force into action on the world.

Go create.

M.J. ‘the creator’ Hutchison