Monday, July 27, 2009

Is Your Work Worth Dying For?

The other evening, I watched a fascinating lecture on UCTV, the television channel that broadcasts lectures from the University of California. The particular lecture I was watching was one given by Laura A. Schmidt, titled Health in America: Whats Health Reform Got to Do with It? In it, Dr. Schmidt discusses the sociological dynamics of healthcare, and identifies something that has long been asserted by career development professionals. She suggests that the less autonomy people have at work, the more stress they tend to experience in life. And the more stress one experiences, the more likely they are to also experience the most damaging health care problems experienced by Americans. Her point was effectively made by graphs showing the incidence of major health problems correlated with social status. Those who are marginalized or who have lower status were more susceptible to health ailments, while those who have the greatest amount of control in their work had the least health problem incidence.
Though her points were made to influence how the United States approaches health care policy, they make an equally compelling statement about the workforce of the country. Is it really worth it to stay in a job that has you so stressed out that you are miserable? If you consider how EXPENSIVE health care is in its present state, and how a job where you do not feel empowered with autonomy or competent enough to feel like you are effective can be harmful to your health or even kill you, is it worth it?
How much control and autonomy do you have at your work? Are your daily tasks the kinds of tasks that you are good at, that you enjoy doing? If you are lacking in your work in either regard, take a moment to consider how your job is impacting your health. Does your job leave you feeling so drained that you are not motivated to exercise? Is it so stressful that you resort to not-so-healthy practices like binge eating, eating high-fat or high-sugary foods, drinking to excess, or using other harmful drugs? If so, strive for something better and work towards it. Work that makes you feel good about yourself will probably motivate you to also take better care of your health. So when you do this, I imagine, you are taking a step toward healthy living, and you might be more naturally inclined to be healthy in more areas in your life. Imagine if everyone loved their jobs. If that were the case, perhaps there would be no need for health care reform, because there would be no crisis in health costs to begin with.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Brush That Dirt Off Your Shoulder

Approximately six months ago I began the process of transferring and transforming my blog from an old site to a new site. Though this process began with a passionate fury, I found myself bogged down when it came to deciding which WordPress theme I should use. I am still as frugal as they come—so I limited myself to free themes, and even with that limit—there were ENDLESS options, and none that I came upon were something that I liked—something that I could call ME. Months passed with me stuck only on choosing a theme. And then, I found one that was good enough. But by then, I felt so badly about not writing for so long that it then took a month or two for me to get back on my mission and do what I set out to do in this blog which was to write honest, inspirational, and sometimes witty blog entries sharing my knowledge and experience. I procrastinated. I procrastinated because I was dismayed that my way of establishing a new blog format and domain was taking a hiatus of over six months and essentially turning my new blog into an instant ghost town. I guess the kick I needed was the combination of reading a blog posting from Leo Babauta from Zen Habits about killing excuses and a Facebook posting on Independence Day from fitness trainer

Craig Ballantyne:“If you fall ‘off the wagon’, cut your losses, don’t worry about it, and get right back on track. Immediately. It’s minor damage that can be dealt with.”

I have given others similar advice in the past—but admittedly, it is more difficult to step back into something after you have let it slide for a while. I am back, determined to bring new life to my domains—virtually and in reality. And here is the essence of success in career and in all of life’s endeavors: do not get lost in barriers, setbacks, insignificant details, or general comfort and complacency. My inability to choose a blog theme could easily be related to the existential challenge we all face which is connecting with the right theme for your unique self. When we are in a period of transition, it is sometimes difficult to create a new path or theme for ourselves. Though this consideration is most important, the pitfall is getting lost in possibilities and not making progress at all. Wherever you are in life, stay committed to your continual growth and dedicated to understanding your unique God-given role in the universe and how to use that role to your greatest potential.