Workday vs. Work Life

The interesting thing about a work life is that it is very much like a workday. Most of the hard work is done by simply turning up, facing the task at hand and moving forward, inch by inch, foot by foot, until we look around, admittedly after a much greater time than we expected, but surprised to see it has all been done.

Like a workday, a good work life must be accomplished in the midst of all other competing demands. {Nel mezzo, “In the middle.”}

The other interesting thing about a work life is how different it is from a workday. The tasks we face on a given day are often specific actions, or specific conversations we need to undertake. The tasks we face in pursuing a work life more often have to do with intangibles, with what cannot yet be touched or spoken, and very often with the great intangibles of our unhappiness.

In a good workday you are more often than not trying to make other people happy; in a good work life you are trying to make your self happy.

In a work life we must treat the intangibles as seriously and as practically as we treat the touchable, doable tasks of a given day. To do this we must use a different language and a different imagination from what we might use at a desk or a workbench; we must locate a form of current different from the one that powers our laptops or our power tools, an internal current inside the imagination, inside the body that is determined to flow out around all external obstacles and find its way home.

David Whyte,
The Three Marriages

Kristen Bentley