Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Path to Real Inner Peace
Is to Leave Bad Jobs Behind

'Never continue in a job you don't enjoy. If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself, you'll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.'
--the immortal comedian Johnny Carson, who helped launch scores of comedy careers simply by his thumbs up, the coveted invitation to come sit awhile for an interview on his Tonight Show couch.


At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Sherri Henkin said...

Thanks for this reminder, John. Not only do we get inner peace, but we usually find a great job around the corner!

At 12:57 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Thanks for that little shot of bracing Sunday enthusiasm, Sherri. May your week ahead be productive.

At 2:18 PM, Blogger Jim Murdoch said...

There are times, more times that I care to mention, that I wish I was born when I ought to have been born, i.e. circ 1938 and not 21 years later when my mother's body decided to play ball. I'm know the fifties had their problems but having to stick at a job because you couldn't get another doesn't seem to have been one of them. The world is a very different place now and even more so since the current recession started to bite. I know Carson means well although he's not a part of my childhood so I don't revere him the way most Americans my age probably do. I've heard other people in secure jobs, whether due to natural ability or more often lucky breaks, coming out with stuff like that and I wonder if they've forgotten just how hard making a move like that can be for an ordinary Joe. I've been a responsible cuss all my life and put my art to the side to make sure the bills were paid. Do I regret it? Yes, of course, but I could always look myself in the mirror in the morning. Now I look in the mirror and shake my head but I know I wouldn't have done anything differently. Success is invariably a trade off: what you win on the swings you end up losing on the roundabouts.

At 2:32 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

You're absolutely right about those tradeoffs, Jim. And I know you speak for an awful lot of people (as well as for my better angel, the one perched on my one shoulder, forever engaging with its opposite on the other shoulder). And of course in tough economic times, anyone would probably be a fool to take this literally--he was talking in a different time.

And in the U.S., where health coverage is tied to your job, you'd also have that not-inconsiderable issue to deal with.

But having said all that, his larger point is one I share, and have lived out: that going to a job you hate day after day robs you of your self respect and is a form of slow death. In the U.S., we sometimes call cushy, well-paying jobs (remember those?) that don't challenge a person and help them grow "velvet coffin" jobs. I left one of those 16 years ago, and have never regretted it. But like you, I do think of those trade-offs, and am thoroughly conscious of them. Ultimately, we all do what we're meant to do, and tend to follow our temperment and training. As long as we remain conscious of the inevitable tradeoffs, we have no one to blame for those decisions. And we always need to remember that no matter what path we chose, the grass will always seem greener on the other side. That's just part of being human.


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