Saturday, February 14, 2009

Energy Credits for Stress?

I had a money-saving thought: If I could convert my workday stress into electricity, I could power the house and still get a credit back from PG&E. Gas, well that's another story. But with the right diet... Wrong diet?

So far, 2009 has been the Year of Working My Tailfeathers Off. Yes, it ends in a preposition and you probably had no prior knowledge that I ever had tailfeathers. Well, no way to prove it now because they're gone baby gone. And if they have any sense, they ain't coming back.

The big admission: I have a work ethic problem.

It's not enough to get the job done. It's not enough to get the job done well. I have to figure out how to make it better. (Somehow this does not apply to cleaning my house...)

Yeah yeah. It's not actually the intensity and long hours, though they're part of the equation. And it's not just in the job I get paid to do. But in the cube-dwelling arena, I have made a habit of seeing beyond the task at hand. I'm definitely in the middle of that now with some fairly substantial projects -- they're kicking my ass, but they'll be more effective in the end. It makes my job more difficult, but more fulfilling -- because, to me anyway, I'm participating vs. doing.

I'm not in it for happy little brownie points (although I have a well-established reputation for working for high-end dark chocolate). There's plenty of superficial b.s. I can highlight if I want to get attention. I need the challenge. Once I've "been there, done that" with a particular project type, I need another level to keep up my own interest. I like to figure out new things, build the relationships between x and y, and see where it goes.

What's the root? As a writer (I use that term with hesitation), there's always an edit to be made -- a twist of a phrase, a more evocative word, a more precise verb -- to improve your work. I grew up watching my dad return things from rusty dusty abandoned pieces into cars or an airplane -- locating or building the random little part to get it just right -- because he could. As a kid I spent frustrated energy trying to fit in and meet the expectations of others, then woke to realize that I really didn't care. Fulfillment comes from flying my own kite, defining my own challenges, and looking for the next ones.

Or, with a five-year-old as my guide, I'm still asking "Why, how, why, how, why..." and answering my own questions with "why not?" and "let me figure it out."

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