By all accounts, this has been a very long week. Perhaps I should have seen the foreshadowing that lie buried within the quote that greeted me on Monday (in the form of a friend’s Facebook status):
Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overall and looks like work. – Thomas Edison
Throughout the week, this concept of work — and the attitudes, processes and ethics that surround it — continually demanded center stage in my consciousness. Several times, I found myself in defense of my work habits; not that they were lacking, but rather that they were too intense.
I have always been dedicated to the task at hand. I love hard work. It is simply how I’m wired. There is something ultimately satisfying in the process and completion of a job. It matters very little what I’m doing, as long as I see the productivity, efficiency and usefulness of the task. My greatest disappointment is ending a day during which I can’t say I’ve done something. I’ve often thought I would have made a great factory worker, taking pride that every one of my widgets rolled off the assembly line exactly as expected.
It has been very disconcerting to have to defend my work ethic against claims it is too intense. If anything, I’ve recently felt that my focus has been slipping. With that as a background, I found Mike Rowe’s TED lecture particularly interesting. It’s not the most coherent logic I’ve heard on TED.com, but he’s struck a nerve with me at the end of a tumultuous week.