Monday, 11 July 2016

Are You Happy Doing What You Do?

In the beginning, people used to ask me how I found teaching, and echoing most of the reports and write-ups in the papers, I responded by criticizing the profession, the system I was in because that seemed like the correct answer, the answer most people expected to hear about the teaching career in Malaysia. The more I repeated this answer, the more depressed with work I became. Teaching is a headache. Teaching is stressful, teaching is never-ending paperwork.

And one day (okay not one day, it was a gradual thing) I realized that I had happy moments, and I was taking home those happy moments. Suddenly, insulting my job wasn’t sounding very truthful anymore. It conflicted directly with all the funny tales I had to tell.

I recently found myself in the company of some new friends and one of them commented that it must be easy work to be a teacher because of the short hours we spent at the workplace.

Quickly on the defensive, I said that teachers had to bring home their work when a lot of other jobs didn't, but the truth is we all bring home our work in one way or another, either in the form of stress, reflections or physical heaps of marking. 

I believe the more important thing to ask is not “whose job is harder” but “are you happy doing what you do” And realistically we can’t expect to be happy with every aspect of the job, so, at the end of the day, what sticks with you? The high points or the low points.

So I’ve discovered that whenever I ask someone what they do, no one expects me to ask the follow up question, “is it fun?” and what I mean by fun is, not to describe the job to me, but to tell me if YOU enjoy it.

So you could be a bank loan officer, a doctor, an engineer, a teacher, your job experience is very individual and extremely personal, and it is very interesting to see how people talk about their experience doing their jobs. 

Bottom line, if you cannot say with conviction that you are having fun, at least most of the time, then in my humble opinion, you need a change of scenery! Toodles! 

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