What Are You Working For?
edited: Wednesday, August 14, 2002
By Michael R. Mennenga
Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Become a Fan
Are you a workaholic? Is life passing you by? Reclaim your life....
What are you working for?
What price do you put on your life and the time you spend with your family? This question has been nagging at me for the past few weeks. I have seen and met several people that tell me their jobs require them to put in nearly 100 hours. per week. I am really not one to talk about hours spent working, in that I frequently put in far more than the average 40 hours. Still, I do not do that on a day-to-day basis, and I take far more time than most to spend with my family. So, what are we working these insane hours for? Who does this help? I do understand that if you are married to a large mortgage, and live your life with no limits, you have to put in the time to get the money needed to pay for all these wonderful things. But the real question here is to what end? I still ask the same question, what are you working for? Is it retirement, a better place to live, or just more money? How do you personally assess if you are working to better your life, or living to better your work? If you are struggling to get ahead so you can have a better house and to make a good life for your family, then I say, “Great. Just remember to take time along the way for what really counts.” However, if you already have everything you need - a nice home and a good life - and you’re still working harder so you can have even more, then I say, “How much more do you want?” Will having even more be enough? Do we ever have enough to be truly happy? Or, are you only working to be working, struggling towards an unrealistic ideal? Dreams and goals are one thing, but a goal must have an end. This country suffers from the insatiable need to have more. Nothing is enough, and we spend our lives looking for the bigger, better deal. It is presented to us on every level. Commercials bombard us with more features, lower prices, better quality, more, more, more. They tell us if we don’t get our share, the other guy will get it all. “Let him have it.” As a society we are convinced that if we don’t get more than the next guy, we are not living up to the American dream. What is that? How do you define the dream of a country that no longer knows when enough is enough? Excess has become the norm, and we throw out as much in a week, as other countries do in a year. To me the answer is clear, we need to reevaluate the individual needs, and reclaim family. Politicians have been giving “family values” lip service for several years, but they have never given any course of change. They only spout to us that the family values have been lost to - whatever is politically popular at the moment. How did this happen you may ask? By inflation and higher costs of living that forced us to all go to work, that’s how. Not to mention the one-third, and then some, that the government demands from us. The entire family is now disposed to collecting as much money as they can get, so they can have all the “Things” that life is suppose to give them. They must have the best clothes, the best cars, and the biggest house. We all learn from birth that if you don’t have these things, you are less of a person, and a poor American. To this end we put in insane hours at the office, everyone in the household goes to work, and the home becomes nothing more than a place to collect messages, eat and sleep. Quality time spent with the family consists of a few hours, on the off weekend, where everyone has time to “catch up” and play family. However, most of this time tends to be spent planning the day after they have finished playing house with the wife and kids. This pattern is being instilled into our young from birth and they are going on to become even worse at family than we are proving to be. I look at the world as it scurries here and there, not taking any time to look at the wonders around them, and I just want to yell, “Stop!” Look at the world. Look at the wonders of where you live and the people that live there. This is your life and it is rushing past you without a glance. Once a year these machines of industry pack up the family, put them in a car, and go on vacation. The only requirement for this exercise in futility is that they drive at least a few hours away. This is so as to prove they have taken time off, and it helps make it impossible for any work to be done. It is sad to think that as a society we must escape from our work so that it can be considered time off. Nevertheless, even though they are “on vacation” their stress tends to be greater because the individual has become so programmed to working that to relax at all is a struggle. It is usually more work for them to relax than the job they left. The sad part is that the children see this as normal and begin to mold their lives to fit this image of work and family. Still the same questions remain. What are you working for, how much is enough, and when will your family be more important than the work that takes your life away from you? It is time to take your life back. Take some time, look at your life, and decide what is important to you personally. Don’t think of what you believe you must have - think about what you need to be happy. Not material possessions, but real happiness. (Friends, family, and home) You may not have the best that life offers, but you may be happy. And isn’t that what you have really been working for from the start?
Michael R. Mennenga