Tag Archive - Work

Corporations: Rich But Sad?

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What is a country? A piece of land? That’s part of it. What really makes a country is the millions of “units” who inhabit it: citizens, people!

Can you imagine a country with no people? It would be useless, and meaningless.

How about a smaller entity: a company, or a big corporation, what is it? It’s a business, indeed. It’s there to make money by selling a product or service. Could a business exist without customers and providers, buyers and sellers? No! Then the money alone is useless and meaningless without the people who create and sell, and the people who pay and buy!

But companies could function just like a despotic country: The top executives and owners make all the money, while the workers make minimum wage!

You know one example too well: Wal-Mart! It’s where one branch could close the day having made hundreds of thousands of dollars, and the cashier goes home having made $8 an hour, from which he or she will even give a few dollars in taxes!

What would we think of a country where the president and ministers are rich and happy, but the citizens are sad and poor? It’s a country which needs a revolution!

Why don’t we feel the same about corporations that don’t make their employees happy?!

It’s totally right that the CEO makes more money than the cleaning crew, but the question is: how much more?

The question is: What is the quality of life of the cashier compared to that of the owner?

Thankfully, many young (and BIG!) companies are now adopting a new culture of making the work place fun and the employees happy (think Google and Zappos, for example).

It’s not only about paying people enough; it’s about the quality of the hours they spend at work.

What does a company that is rich but sad have to offer to the world, to life?

As customers, we should use our money and voice to vote for companies that care about its people, and against the ones that use people as mere means to make money.

Money is here to serve us. Once people are used to serve money, the world becomes a toxic place. That’s what it is now in many places and cases. It shows how much the lack of compassion and humanity is at work!

The math is simple and clear: Corporations – Lack of compassion + low quality of life for most employees + abundance of money for owners and top executives alone = very bad deal for our world!

When it’s Good to be Bad!

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We spend much of our life at what we now call: “work”. We have 168 hours every week, we spend one third sleeping, and the rest is almost fifty-fifty between work and life! Should I say: work/working vs. life/living? That would be a dull situation, but is part of many people’s life!  

We can say something nice and idealistic like: we should only do work that we love. True, in theory. The whole system today is not designed to make it such an easy task though. Since the industrial age, when people, or workers (that’s us!) were required to work in assembly lines, humans were mostly expected to operate like machines. Go to work, do the exact same thing over and over and over, get a paycheck at the end of the month, spend all of it, etc. You know the vicious circle.

Now more people realize that job satisfaction became almost a life or death choice. It’s moral life or death! Mental, psychological life or death! I don’t know about everyone, but I’m speaking for myself, at the very least!

Fixing the system itself is not a one man’s job. Every one of us is none but a “one man job” anyway! Therefore the task will not be quick and will not be easy, the task of doing something meaningful and finding satisfaction in what we do for half of our waking life.

What is a job that brings satisfaction? That sounds like a straightforward question. It just occurred to me. But to answer the first part of the question (what job?), we need to define the second part, the goal (satisfaction): what is satisfaction in a job?

I didn’t write this post to answer this question; rather, I wrote it to pose the two-part question.

What is the satisfaction that we’re looking to have in our jobs?

What are the possible jobs that could bring us this kind of satisfaction?

To properly answer the questions, one important guiding thought to keep in mind is to come to terms with what we’re not good at. I, for one, am not good at repetitive tasks. Let me say it differently: I’m bad at doing the same thing over and over and over. Finding myself in this situation will drain my energy and almost drive me insane. Once I master a task completely, I need to move on to something else or I will sink in boredom. This is my ultimate weakness, which could turn into an advantage in different situations. We have to realize what we’re bad at, because our weakness is the strength of another person. There is nothing wrong with that, life is designed so people work together and complement each other. Ideally, the world needs some switching of roles: everyone should move to that other place where someone else is being miserable, but we can be happy and do a good job. But that won’t happen on a global level. We need to do it one person at a time, starting with ourselves!

Yes, it’s not only good, it’s a must to “realize” that we’re terribly bad at certain things! It makes the difference between a life of misery and a life of productivity and fulfillment.

If I Was Free, I Would…

What if I didn’t have to work? What if I had enough money right now to quit my job and do what I want? That’s fun to imagine :) So I though I should enjoy some fun written visualization!

I sometimes wonder how we made life so complicated! Our society is designed in a way to make sure many people will be stuck doing things they hate in order to survive!

Our needs are really simple. We need food, cloths and shelter. Once we have them, we’re good to go, and good to live!

“If you wake up free of illness, safe in your community, with enough food for the day ahead, then you can say good buy to any other needs from this World!” Prophet Muhammad

Why in the world did food become hard to find for millions of people?!

Why, when land is immensly vast, did it become expensive to get a piece of land and have your home in it? Why build those crazy skyscrapers, they’re complicated and maintaining them requires much more work and resources than a normal building! Did we already use every piece of land that we have to build up and high?!

Why would a house cost hundreds of thousands after all? It really doesn’t have to be this way.

People designed a labyrinth and they got lost in it. Then they designed tools and maps and jobs to try to make life easier inside the labyrinth! How about we just get out of the labyrinth?!!!

Well, most people are already stuck in it! We have governments designing our lives, we can’t just go out there and redesign our life. It’s not even about redesigning life, it’s about getting out of the sophisticated traps and get back to normal!

We even have countries, boundaries, visas, citizenships! Someone living in a poor country has to use tunnels to come into a richer one, they wouldn’t be granted a visa anyway!

Oh, politics! Politics is the proof that we gave up our life to the greedy, the heartless, the self-centered to take care of our needs and communities! Let’s get out of there or frustration will knock down my mind!

See where my though chain took me, I started by a fun idea and ended up into a depressing look at reality!

Back to my fun visualization :)

Now if I had enough money to pay off all my debt – car loan and some other debt :( – and be free from the need to work for money, what would I do?

I will not quit my job on the spot. I hope I can give a one month notice and make sure I hand my duties over smoothly, while working on the transition:

1. I would donate/give away all the stuff that I don’t need and don’t use. I’ll go through my cloths (which I’ve been already doing, slowly) and keep only the pieces that I really love. Dealing with my books will be harder! I won’t rush into giving them away (I’m already working on a plan to deal with my bigger-than-I-need library).

2. I will get a storage in Chicago where I will keep all the stuff that I didn’t give away, end my rent, get in the car and go on a road trip! The point is to visit the places that I think I want to move to.

3. Now I need to move somewhere warm and sunny. Lots of greenery and nature required! Ideally somewhere in or close to the mountains. I will look for an apartment with a balcony, looking to an open horizon!

Once I moved into my new place. How would I spend my all-free time?

- Lots of walking, hiking and biking!

- Now that I’m relaxed, no energy wasted in going to and back from work, no energy drained sitting in a dark room staring at the computer, I can engage in the kind of slow, focused writing that I really like. This type of writing is more of an introspection. No rush to finish anything. Just listening to my inner self and bringing it out in words. The kind of writing that is like taking a bath in the light of Spirit!

- I can also breath the fresh intellectual air of focused reading! I want to read about religions, history, get back to reading great fiction (haven’t done it in almost a decade!), philosophy, biographies, and the subjects relating to our present day problems and challenges, especially poverty and the environmental crisis. I’d like to gain a deeper understanding and make my own conclusions of what we can REALLY do to REALLY make a difference. It doesn’t matter how much we will change history. What matters is do what we have to, what we really can do to end the shameful injustice and humiliation that tens of millions of our brothers and sisters in humanity are enduring this very same moment! :(

- I will read and write out in nature.

- A great lifestyle change that I will now introduce is waking up early enough, every day, to witness the powerful everyday re-begining that is Sunrise!

 

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- Now I can also feed my body the things that I love most in nature: green and sunlight! You must already know how connected these two are, no mystery here! I have time to actually touch my vegetables, cut and prepare them slowly and mindfully, and smell them in the process! :)

Now, wouldn’t you love to do the same?!

Ok, and once you do it like I just did, what’s the point? Are we then to get depressed to the immense gap between hope and reality?

The point is to look at this vision, and start doing what can be done already. No waiting intended! Surely some, if not  many, of its components can already be started today.

I can, and already started to, exercise getting rid of unnecessary stuff and spending, in order to lose all the heavy weight that’s holding me down!

I can plan more walking and hiking during the week-end, during the summer. Indeed, the freezing northern winters have nothing to do with this vision. The trees take off their greenery. Being outdoors when it’s 15 F and colder is not too much fun! But while doing more of it in the summer, I can bring the vision to the center of my plans, instead of burying it under depression and hopelessness. With the vision energizing the hope, I can make a long-term plan for moving to the Sun!

I used to post in this blog once a month. Now I’m writing more even though I have more blogs in English and Arabic. I’m also trying to improve my reading. Both will not be as focused as the above vision would like to, but they can be gradually improved and increased.

Why don’t you write down your own vision? Why don’t you start today, little by little, to introduce pieces of it into your life NOW? I just wrote a draft of my own vision. I will build on it. That’s the way out of frustration into inspiration, from surviving into meaning.

Meaning is the food of the soul. We can’t be happy carrying around a soul in a coma in a polluted vehicle – the junk food bodies of modern times!

Waiting for the Now!

The following is not a breakthrough: many people spend their lives waiting. When young, we wait for when we’re grown up. When we’re single, we wait for when we’re married. When we’re married, we wait for when we’re divorced (sometimes, sadly!), When we’re in college, we wait for when we’re “free” and having a good job. When we have a job, we wait for when we have a better job! When we have a better job, we discover it’s not really what we were hoping for, so we wait for yet another job that’s even better. We get that one, then we wait for having our own business and being our own boss! We have our own business, we wait for it to pick up! It picks up, we work too much and wait for our retirement!

If we’re constantly waiting, it’s not that we’re really waiting for anything. It’s not an illusion either, we’re indeed waiting. What we’re really waiting for is ourselves! We’re waiting for something that’s within, but we seek for it outside, so we never find it. That’s where the illusion resides. We’re just heading in the wrong direction, that’s why we never seem to get to our destination.

Waiting for a change means that we did something wrong in the past, we’re still doing it in the present, which promises that it will continue into the future! Unless we take our rightful ownership of the Now, turn our faces to the right direction/destination, and embark on the joyful journey!

BECAUSE,

Waiting is a sure symptom that something is missing.

Waiting is a state of lack and poverty and incapability.

Waiting is ungrateful to all what we already have, which in many cases is a dream and a luxury for hundreds of millions of fellow humans.

Waiting is a pessimist! Don’t confuse it with the (good) expectations that come with optimism.

Waiting is an infidel! It’s an accusation to God that He is not treating us right! Because the truth is, it’s a sign that we’re the one doing, or more accurately, THINKING wrong!

Waiting is a virus, it disrupts our system and our perception of reality; it damages our to-do-list; it causes the loss of our old files, therefore keeps us from building on it; it causes our mind to suddenly shut and stare into a blank screen, as in a state of sleep-waking

SO,

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We need to stop attacking this poor Wait, right now! And focus on the real problem: Ourselves! Our Thinking, and our Focus.

We will never get what we want as long as we think it’s somewhere else, be it another time (future) or another place.

I recently wrote about my desire to get out of working for money and being stuck doing something that I don’t enjoy. That’s impatience. Impatience is counterproductive because it keeps us stuck in negative refusal of our current state, instead of focusing our energy on what we can do to improve our life.

I’m now shifting my focus in another direction: how to do what I want to do when I’m not working (week-ends, evenings), and how to embrace the challenge of making the best of my current situation. The wait can end, right now. We just need to start doing what we really want to do. We don’t need to do it full-time, we start part-time. We do it in the week-end, instead of spending it shopping or seeking distractions as if to compensate for the work week behind, and the work week ahead! Instead of renewing our energy and build something that is meaningful to us, we just destroy this time off, then here comes a sad Monday and we feel even more tired than when the week end started!

Doing something meaningful is the only sure way to renew our energy during our time free of work. Simply doing the things that we think we want to do full-time. At least this way we can make sure that we really want to do it full-time, so we don’t one day come to actually do it full-time, then discover that it’s not really what we were hoping for, and wait for when we can do something we like for a living!

The importance of staring at computer screens!

A lot of today’s work is done in front of a computer. I spend most of my working day staring at a computer screen. We know it’s no good for the eyes. Is what we do important enough to risk the comfort of our eyesight for it? That must be a good question!

Before computers, work was being done too. People used different tools. Phones and faxes. Faxes must have been revolutionary enough when they came out. How miraculous was puting in a piece of paper here and have it come out thousands of miles away!
 
At the time of faxes, no one would have imagined something like email. The future might very well be hiding some other tools that we can’t now imagine. Those who dream those tools will make the strange realities of tomorrow. But that’s how it’s always been. Dreamers create the future. They know that things can be better. Conventional thinkers are slaves of the past and the status quo.
 
But I didn’t answer the question about our eyesight, the computer screen, and the importance of our work! Well, we can just accept the status quo. Think that there is just no other or better way of doing things.
 
But I rather be a dreamer. That’s why I know that we can do important and meaningful work, with the most effeicient, eyesight-friendly tools!