Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Loving Your Work

I like what I do for a living. Most people don't. A 2015 Gallup poll discovered only 31% of American workers enjoy their work, feel invested in what they are doing, and find meaning in it. I suspect an even smaller percentage, probably a tiny percentage, would keep working at what they are presently doing if they didn't have to. Most people trade time for dollars in order to pay their bills.

I find this terribly tragic, and I intend to do something about it. (More on that in future blog posts.) 

Here's an even bigger problem. A lot of people start out passionate about their career, but do not maintain their passion. When you're in your 20s the world is your oyster. High school and college commencement speeches inspire the younger generation to get out there and change the world, but it doesn't take very long for reality to set in.

The real go-getters climb the corporate ladder only to find themselves trapped by the money. Their passion is gone, but the bills are bigger, so they have to keep on working. Americans are bad at saving money. Most of us have nothing put aside to allow us the freedom to continue pursuing our passion should an opportunity arise. In fact, it is worse than bad.

According to an NBC News article, the USA savings rate went NEGATIVE in 2005 for the first time since the Great Depression. That was before the economic collapse in 2008. There is no cushion for a soft landing when you find yourself in a macroeconomic free fall and zero (or negative!) savings. And it gets worse.

A root cause of corporate fraud, corruption, and fiscal malfeasance is formerly passionate individuals who were seeking a better life or desirous of "changing the world," but who got caught up in personal greed and selfishness once they lost their passion for making a difference. They lost their way with a win-at-all-costs mindset on their rise to the top. Sadly, they were willing to do whatever it took to make the quarterly earnings reports look good for Wall Street, even if that required unethical, immoral, and even illegal behavior.

A former CEO of the company where I currently work appears to have taken this path. Sanjay Kumar immigrated to the USA in 1976 to escape civil unrest in his native Sri Lanka, but ended up going to prison for orchestrating a massive fraud. How does this happen?

As a software technology professional, I make great money, but over the years fear and uncertainty has frequently chased away my passion too. I’ve been through five different merger and acquisition experiences as well as a failed technology startup in 2008. Worries over not being able to support my family would lead me into anxiety and depression. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. (Have you seen Groundhog Day?)

It was only by the grace of God that I didn't fall into the same trap as Mr. Kumar. Fear can easily flip to greed, and without a strong moral compass, a motivated and talented person can quickly become a felon. It happened at my place of employment, and the cycle is almost a cliché.

How does our society overcome this problem? I think it is relatively simple, but not easy. And I think I have the secret sauce. If you want to know more before I get to the future promised blog posts, join my new Facebook group here:

1 comment:

  1. Here's an article from Bloomberg I just found on nearly the same topic as my blog post above.