Raise your hand if you are doing your job for the sake of _________(insert: money/ survival/ experience/ better prospects/ because you have to/because you want to). I am guessing not many of you would have picked the last option. Me neither. The difference between jobbing and calling isn’t what you do, but how you look at what you do. Our relationship with what we do for a living can be so enormously complicated. If you are having problems with your partner and want to seek professional counselling, you can at least have them come along with you. But if that partner happens to be your job, well, then, there is an empty seat next to you. No one whose hand you can hold and communicate your feelings to in the presence of a neutral party. Even though we go through the same motions, if not more, with what we do as with the people in our lives, we do not have someone on the other end whom we can expect to understand our needs, sense our moods. Your job isn’t an extension of yourself or what the universe throws at you. Your job is what you do with your time while you still have it.
I feel like a jobbing writer with this blog this month (without the pay, of course). I took on NaBloPoMo because I wanted to challenge myself and even though I have been getting a much better response than I expected, I still feel that this is not the way I should be conducting this blog, at least for now. While it is great if you can produce well-written, thoughtful blogs daily, for we all have our favourite bloggers we can’t get enough of, I am not conditioned to be that proficient. I have been a jobbing freelance writer before, and though this experience is infinitely better, I just can’t do my work to the best of my ability or satisfaction when under pressure by factors other than the intrinsic nature of the work itself. I wouldn’t say I am one of those writers who is never happy with their work. Though I find editing my work very difficult, I still can, to some extent, gauge its external value. Of course, my personal taste does not always correspond to how something I’ve written is received. With jobbing, I’ve learned that I just have to switch that taste button off. You just don’t have time for it. That is the essential difference between jobbing and calling, reality and passion. They are not exact opposites, and yet they align themselves to be so when they get together. With calling, you can as well be as dissatisfied with your work as you want to be. But, that work means something to you. With jobbing, you don’t have time for it to mean anything more than what it means to you at that very moment, which consists of factors like money, experience etc.
It is unfruitful to believe one is better than the other. There are countless examples of wishful thinking in movies and books by self-help experts talking about breakthrough moments that usually go by the phrase of “I quit.” In reality, there are so many people who waste away jobbing, because they never had the courage or the circumstances to go after their calling. Just like the above mentioned inexact opposites, I think the two primary opposing forces in life aren’t love and hate, but love and fear. Fear exists to quash every hope, every expression of love in a man’s life. If you are jobbing, and yet your capacity of love is greater than your capacity of fear, you may still be able to follow your calling. It isn’t jobbing that should bear the brunt of our misery, it is fear. Learn to accept and fight with that fear, and your calling may soon be calling for you.