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I have been able to build a loving relationship with my significant other due to an intrinsic desire to care for and nurture her in return for the love she shows me. Doing the nitty-gritty work like housework, or listening to her stories from work, or providing a shoulder to cry on never seem to tax me or present insurmountable hurdles. Things are not perfect or magical, but the work put into the relationship clearly pays off. This fact is so obvious to me that I know that relationship with my significant other is my number one priority and I am consciously trying to improve myself and make myself a more tolerable person to live with.

Work seems to present more of a challenge. I would be lying if I said it was engaging, engrossing or provided great value to anyone. I doubt that anyone would miss my work if I left. To be honest with myself, the work I perform is replaceable with the correct person. This realization seems to be a major source of frustration throughout the workday.

One of my happiest memories from Chicago (where I lived for the last two years) was when I came across a man trying to lift something heavy on all his own. I immediately jumped in and helped him make it to his doorway. He reached into his pocket to try and compensate me, but I just shook his hand with a big smile and left. Little did he know how much that task reinvigorated me and reminded me of the joy of helping others.

I came home later that day and called my girlfriend to tell her about the experience. It seemed so real and genuine to help someone out who was struggling. My sense of happiness might have been derived from the fact that at my past job I spent 10+ hours a day generating financial reports no one seemed to cared about. I doubt more than a handful of people, over the span of two years, actually read the work I spend hours of my life producing. Spending 10 hours a day, five days a week for two and half years doing work no one bothered to read was so demoralizing, I would literally have to push the thought out of my mind in order to concentrate.

Even nowadays at my far more humane job, I find difficulty finding motivation to excel when I find the work not serving a useful purpose and the nitty-gritty skills to success do not come easily or do not present any fulfilling payoff, unlike a real relationship.

I often think about the circumstances of coal miners who had to work uncomfortable jobs for their families and themselves. I certainly have it much better than they did, so I should be thankful and grateful for my circumstances. On the other hand, I know I am capable of providing more value to others, even if it is something as simple as reading to a child.

I often remind myself I am lucky to have any job in this economy, let alone a well-suited “stimulating” job, however, I can’t help but think there has got to be a way to provide value for others and earn a wonderful living at the same time.

To read more about the economy, click here.