10 years, 10 months, and 14 days…

…that is how long I worked at my last job.

Who am I trying to kid? It wasn’t a job. It was a vocation. What’s the difference?

  • There’s a job, wherein one usually does work in exchange for money.
  • Then there’s career, wherein one usually works as a way to achieve their ambition.
  • Then there’s vocation, which is rooted in the Latin vocare, or voice – meaning to follow the voice [of God? who knows]. Essentially, it is what we are called to do.

All that time, I was motivated by the guiding principle that I was following my vocation. It was the reason why I regularly worked 12-14 hour days. Or why I dedicated weekends for special events. Or why I cancelled family vacations to handle some crisis or other. Or why I felt it was okay to accept a salary that didn’t befit my skills or effort. And why I lied to my family (everyone except my long-suffering, mostly understanding husband) about just how much of my life was spent in service to this organization.

Was being this overworked worth it?

Well, I was supposed to take two months or so to reflect on just that. I’m in week 7 of this self-imposed* work exile. The answer is…still…

I don’t know.

I loved what I did. I was good at it. And I was doing good in the community, in the world. But I sacrificed a lot, not the least was my own sense of self-worth and self-preservation.

As I’ve now started the soul-sucking job search, I’ve been weighing what sorts of opportunities to pursue, and hearing lots of voices offering wisdom and advice. Can I keep on saving the world? Can I survive in a 9-to-5? Can I be a faceless cog in a corporate wheel?

I know I can be and do all of those things. I just have to figure out which voice is mine.

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* Technically, my sister finally convinced me I had to leave that job, because she was worried I’d wind up having a heart attack by age 43. She has been so supportive, both socially, emotionally, and financially – which I know is a huge privilege – and for which I am eternally grateful. More blogs will be  written about her…other than the one I already did write about her. And then there was this one

via Daily Prompt: Overworked