Friday, June 15, 2012

All Play and No Work Makes Jeff a Dull Boy

This is about one way to intentionally experience satisfaction and contentment in almost whatever position you happen to find yourself.

"Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep." - Ecclesiastes 5:12

Let's look at the profession I'm in - public accounting.  As it turns out, my little niche in this profession gives me a chance to work with people, not just numbers.  This may be surprising.  Some may even say that to be an accountant because "I like working with people" is contradictory, an oxymoron.  There are even jokes about this:
"What's the difference between an economist and an accountant?  An economist is someone very good with numbers, but not enough personality to be an accountant."

Many who know me face to face conclude that I am generally introverted, much better at task skills than interpersonal skills.  But I'm not an office hermit, either, I like to think of myself as friendly, nice helpful, even sociable.  As providence would have it, my position with a small public accounting firm in Indianapolis, Dehmel & Associates gives me a chance to be both "task oriented" and "people oriented" because I often work directly with my clients.  My client base includes small / closely held businesses and their owners, physicians, investors, and retirees, among others.  My objective is to help them earn more and then keep more of it by providing tax, financial statement preparation, and financial statement audit services.

Being able to help someone is the part that brings satisfaction.  I just happen to do that by helping clients figure out their dollars and cents, then offering suggestions on what to do about it.  A lot of time it is pretty basic, like making sure their income and payroll tax reporting is correct and on time.  Yesterday afternoon a client called just wanting to know what "tax bracket" (how much of a percent she would pay on the next dollar of income) she is in.  Sometimes it can escalate into responding to a notice from the IRS or state, sometimes it can get involved, such as paperwork for insurance claims or bank financing.

The principle at work here is to find the best part about what you are doing and capitalize on that perspective.  Are you an engineer designing something people will use?  If so, would thinking about the end user help you?  Are you a stay at home parent, perhaps a homeschooling parent at that?  Would thinking about the vision you have for your family help you through another day?  Do you work in a restaurant?  Retail?  Manufacturing?  Work can be a calling.  I enjoy the blog The High Calling - "Everyday conversations about work, life, and God."

Admittedly, accounting isn't a glamorous career.  When is the last time you saw a TV drama or reality show about CPAs?  About doctors and lawyers?  That's OK with me, as long as I have reason to get up and go to work each day.

As my boss says, he wants a place where we don't "have" to go to work, instead we "get" to go to work.

How is it for you?  Do you have to do what you do, or do you get to do what you do?  How can you move from the former to the latter?

Aside:  This post about contentment at work is a companion to contentment at play I wrote about previously.

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