An unfulfilled vocation drains the color from a man’s entire existence. ~Honoré de Balzac, Scènes de la vie Parisienne
A few weeks ago, my husband and I had a minor disagreement about who was going to pick up our younger son from water polo. I do about 90% of the driving to and from school, activities and various appointments and I wasn’t in the mood to head out again – this time at 7:30 pm.
I do not recall the specifics of our conversation but the gist of it was that my husband felt I had implied he doesn’t help enough with the kids (although he is a huge help) and then said six words that had me simmering: “Karen, you don’t have a job.”
A job? I don’t have a job? His statement made me angry and resentful.
Three years ago, I quit my job to tend to my Mom. When she passed away, my role was to manage my father, his finances, and the trust while tending to my husband, our kids, the dog, and our home. In addition to those responsibilities, I started coaching a few hours a week for a start-up company. Wedged in between was the rediscovery of my enjoyment of writing.
True, the work that I was doing didn’t produce a paycheck and compared to the job I had before, the work is somewhat menial, however, what I am doing during this time in my life is something of value to my Dad and to my family.
Over this past weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend a three-day program on Minimalism, Alignment, and Meaning. Initially, when I signed up for the program, my intention was to follow the breadcrumbs that had been laid out for me since leaving my job and trying to figure out where my skills could be put to good use.
On the final day of the program, we discussed distractions that get in the way of fulfillment. My thoughts went back to the anger I had experienced after my husband’s comment a few weeks prior, a comment that made me doubt my worth and questioned my decision to leave my job.
After letting go of the doubt and anger, I was able to see that what I am doing at this stage of my life is a labor of love that fills my family’s cup. In return, the “salary” I receive is not traditional currency but rather an intrinsic currency that delivers fulfillment and alignment with the bonus of achieving results in line with purpose and values. It may not be a job, but it is work that brings good into my world and to the lives of others and where every day is “payday.”