I was described today as someone who looked happy in their work. I was lost in thought at my desk, pondering a spreadsheet and didn’t notice that a friend of mine had quietly dropped by. Not wanting to interrupt my flow, this friend was sitting patiently by my desk with a cup of coffee, waiting for me to surface for air so he could say hello. When I belatedly realised that he was sitting there and tore myself away from my work, we had a little chat about what I had been doing, and I must have been so passionate about it all that he remarked that I must be a happy man to be so enthusiastic about my job.
Who honestly describes themselves as truly happy in their work? Would I come here and do this if I wasn’t being paid for it or if I had anything remotely better to be doing with my time? Doubtful. But, you know what? He’s actually right: I am happy in my work at the moment. I like the people I work with, I get on well with my boss and I feel as though I’m in a position to make a real difference. Oh sure, there are lots of little things I could be carping about, and there are probably many, many better things I could be doing with my life (I had an idea about a book earlier this week, for starters)…. But right here and right now, it’s nice to be able to take a step back and to admit that I actually quite like what I do.
It’s been a long old time since I’ve been able to say that about my working life. My work definitely doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the broader scheme of things, but things could definitely be a whole lot worse. Whilst I don't exactly jump out of bed in the mornings when my alarm goes off, that's more to do with aching muscles than any lack of enthusiasm....
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.
Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.
And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.
(A.E. Houseman, "A Shropshire Lad II")
Sometimes, you need to take the time to appreciate the cherry tree hung with snow.
3 hours ago