I have work to do. All the time. Work. Work. Work. We all may have jobs, but not all of us have "work" to do.
So... what do I mean when I say "work"? What do you consider "your work"?
When I preach about "work" I do not speak of your job. A job is that thing we hate. It's not a 9 to 5-er. Its not something we do to pay the bills (that's a job), but if we're lucky or good or persistent or a combination of all three then maybe, just maybe you can pay the bills with your "work".
When I talk about "work," I'm talking about your art. And when I say art I don't necessarily mean painting, writing, music, lego building or whatever form of conventional art there is roaming the streets and forgotten corners of the world (although these can be your "work"). I'm talking about art as the act of creating. The act of giving.
Last week I posted this question to my Facebook feed:
"What do you tell someone who asks what your work is? Do you tell them
what company you work for? Duties at this job? Job title? Or is your
"work" something different?"
What I got was replies explaining duties, titles, a combination of the two, or people replying with their noble missions to spread peace and love and comfort. I think those are all wrong. "Work" is the bigger picture. It is our passion, our craft, and our purpose. It is far more romantic and starry eyed than a title or a list of duties and it is totally more concrete than curing the world of hate with butterflies and bubblegum. It is something that we can measure by what we do to make it happen. Spreading cheer and smiles is a lifestyle ( a good one to practice) and your job title and job "to do" lists are simply "job shit that we do, because that's how we do", but neither are "work"
Here is a little example.
Kevin Smith was working at a convenience store while he was both writing AND directing "Clerks"... His job was working at a convenience store... his "work" was creating what would go on to become a cult favorite. That store didn't keep him going. Selling cigarettes and soda wasn't his gift to the universe. That film was.
Like I said in the beginning, not all of us have work to do. Some of us have a job with a title, a set list of duties, and a respectable paycheck. We go home to our lovers, families, friends, or whatever. That's life, and for some that is "The Life" and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Who am I to get in the way of that? For some, though, if you're still with me here, we require more from ourselves. Some of us answer to something else than ourselves. We call it a muse, genius, inspiration, destiny, god, "it", etc...."It" is a shape shifter, so it comes to all of us in different ways, but "It" demands more from you and I.
The "work" comes before the reward, if the reward comes at all, BUT for you and I... the "work" is the reward. The ability to share "it," our "work" with the universe.
Our jobs allow us to pay rent or mortgage. I like to think that our "work" is our rent to the universe. The price we pay to exist is that we have to share our best work, our art, and our passion. For some its writing, others its working to better their community. Muhammad Ali's was becoming one of the "Greatest" boxers of all time. For Kevin Smith it was making a goofy little film. For you? What is it? Here's what I know. If something bigger than you calls you to do more, if you simply CANNOT accept your life in the cubicle, if there is SOMETHING inside your conscience screaming "YOU NEED TO DO THIS!", then do it. Wake up every goddamn morning, drink your fucking coffee and GET. TO. WORK.