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Does your work feed your soul?

February 14, 2012

I think I’m getting old.

Well, old for this PR gig, maybe. I find myself getting a bit reflective; bestowing my wisdom on the young(er) – often when it’s unsolicited. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion I’m getting a bit pompous.

Which is not to say I’ll stop it, or anything crazy like that.

And today, I would like to proselytise about: the importance of doing something. Like something that’s not work. Or maybe you don’t even have to do it as such, maybe just care about it.

What I mean is, something that’s not work, and that’s not hanging out. As much as people love putting it on their CV under ‘interests’, I deny that ‘hanging out with friends’, ‘meeting new people’ or ‘socialising’ counts as an interest. It’s just life.

So, anyway, it worries me to see people put their heart and soul into work, and build their identity around it. Because you know what, work’s still just work. It may feed your ego, but it doesn’t feed your soul.

And in fact, it’s just as likely to batter your ego. Meeting someone’s else’s expectations can be disheartening at times. Learning is often hard and slow, and sometimes you feel like  you’re never going to be any good at this game (whatever that game is). So it’s better not to put too many eggs in that proverbial basket.

I read something a while back about spending more of your time doing what you enjoy. It sounds pretty simple – obvious even –  but it made me think.

For instance, it’s easy to get home after a long day and veg out in front of the TV. Except I don’t really like what I watch most of the time (my husband is a remote control nazi, and has a terror of anything on ABC or SBS). So I have actually been ditching him and the remote, a bit more often.

I think the word ‘passion’ is totally overused, so I’m not advocating that we all spend hours ‘following our passion’. But I think there’s something valuable in thinking about what you really love doing. What are you interested in? What do you wish you did more, and what stops you from doing it?

My own interests are pretty pedestrian. I like weight-training. I like learning about biochemistry and nutrition. I like cruising the internet for stories about politics, economics and various nerdy topics. I like reading literary fiction, Victorian-era novels and Cary Tennis’ column in Salon. I like writing my blogs (yeah, I have two of them).

Thing is, I like these things outside of work. Probably not enough to make them my work – I’ve racked my brains about how to monetise my penchant for reading stuff and talking shit, and am yet to crack that nut.

But it gives me a level of balance that I think actually makes me better at my job. Not to mention the usefulness of having hundreds of pieces of internet-knowledge stuffed away in my head, for bringing out in client meetings.

So, no PR tips today. Just a slightly preachy reflection on the importance of doing stuff; and loving stuff; and making time for stuff; and not being fooled into thinking that work is where the important stuff begins and ends.

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  1. Maybe you can join me in being some sort of panel expert on a TV show were we talk shit about stuff we’ve read/watched/done… now, to get someone to commission it …

    I fully concur that ditching TV is the fastest way to find another 20 hours a week to do things that add value to your life (ie exercise, call your family, spend 3 hours in a tantric tryst… lol). I don’t have a TV and while that makes me a pretty crap PR person, it makes me a much happier random human.

  2. I would love that TV show! Hang on, doesn’t it exist? The View? But their version is lame. Ours would totally rock.

    I didn’t have a TV when I lived in London, because we were too poor for a TV Licence. Man, I read a LOT of books.

  3. Solange permalink

    Agree, agree, AGREE!
    Great post, Belinda.

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