Life:  It’s a job

Bill-newby L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.
Most people wouldn’t consider life to be a job.  Perhaps we should.  After all many of us derive from work both tangible and intangible benefits.  To imagine that life will provide the same returns without effort is as unrealistic as to suggest we survive on air.  It requires but a cursory comparison of life and work to recognize the similarities: routine “get up and at it”, frequent drudge, occasional high points, general identity and personal satisfaction, need for application and thought, corporate responsibility, etc.

Too often people expect something from life without having to work at it as though its production were inherently magical.  This is both illogical and sadly shallow.  The good news however is that one needn’t work too hard. Nonetheless the imposition on life of even the veneer of work is both its salvation and its undoing. As patently compelling as it is to promote prosecution and intelligence in the way one lives, it requires little persuasion to opt instead for a laissez-faire strategy.  Taradiddle abounds when it comes to avoiding work.

What, you might ask, is the “work” that one must do to live?  The starting point has to be that, as with compensable employment, life will provide bounty commensurate with what one does.  The corollary is that if you don’t work at it, you’ll be out of a job, which in this context means you’re living a hollow life.  Unfortunately for some, when it comes to living there is no Employment Insurance; you either have a job or you don’t.  As with any job, some people will reap greater rewards than others.  There is seldom any accommodation for disability or incapacity; it’s generally the same playing field for all and one must learn to negotiate the rough and tumble without indulgence in self-pity.  If one allows one’s so-called pre-existing condition to trump everything else, the plight is doomed.  Indeed it is axiomatic that where there is no will there is no way.

However as I say one needn’t work too hard.  Like it or not, not all of us is aligned with performance. Rather the intent is to adopt an intellectual approach to living so that we are not merely fish in the sea being swept about by the changing tides and currents.  As comfortable as abandonment may sound the truth is that we derive our sense of meaning from active participation and contribution.  Seeing life as a job, a tit for tat, rather than a chance lottery will ensure we maintain a governance of our well-being, a hand on the tiller.  Far better to direct our course than to feel buffeted by the same winds whence we had frivolously hoped to discover the dew of pearls.  Even the most modest commitment to the improvement of life is better than none at all.  As the circumstances of life change through age or fortune, the need to adjust and temper may also occur. This mustn’t however diminish the requirement to work at it.  The smallest progress will ultimately advance the goal.

The object of course is to live a rewarding life, recognition of one’s services, efforts, or achievements. Especially as one gets older, the need to be valued is heightened though no one should expect it for nothing.  You have to work at it.  It’s a job!