A waitress at a spaghetti restaurant exuded passion for her side gig. She was working in some pyramid-like scheme—and she loved it. I delighted in every moment she came to our table, chattering about her pursuits. I couldn’t get enough.
But work was different for me; I thought I’d never work again. I had what I called a dream job that riddled me with workplace anxiety—so severe I was out of commission for most of the work day. I was tucked away in a corner office, creating databases, but with no human contact. But it paid well. Very well. I told myself it was a dream job, fooling myself, as I read multiple Buddhist books on how to be happy at work.
After the business moved to Europe, I went through more than half a decade of extreme anxiety, unable to hold down employment outside of The Voice Magazine. During this time, I gave up all hope for a full-time career. But I read countless books and wrote many articles on overcoming anxiety. Then, one day, I realized I had it controlled.
I then applied for full-time work. My first three jobs didn’t work out. I lacked skills in one. I was expected to hug the boss in another. During job interviews, I’d be on the verge of panic attacks, although I managed to stay afloat. I’d ask myself, “What if anxiety returns? What if I can’t hold a job?” I felt like a failure. So, I invested time in skills development.
But then something magical happened. I found my dream job—a job that paid a salary higher than I ever imagined. But that wasn’t the highlight. Not at all.
Everything about the job was a highlight: the neutral, friendly boss; the passive helpful colleagues; the boss’s amazing family in his family run business; the delightful customers; the performers I brought on board. And that’s just the starting point.
The job tapped into most every passion I ever had. I always wanted to be a talent agent. I dreamed of making courses and working as a corporate trainer. I longed to make a documentary film. I love designing, writing, and networking. I enjoy engaging people in sales. And the list goes on for many miles.
Now, I feel so passionate about my career that I work all day and night and all weekend. I’d rather work than go to the movies, to a restaurant, or to Hawaii. My boss keeps warning me to get my work done during the day so I don’t crash. He says I need work-life balance. But he doesn’t realize that I gain energy from work, that it feels like how chocolate factories and Disneyland surely feel to children.
So, to heed his advice, I spend a bit of time on other enjoyments: learning job-related skills and learning how to be selfless in relationships.
Best of all, I no longer have workplace anxiety. Completely cured. Anxiety’s been replaced with excitement. But at the back of my mind, I think, “My sales are slow coming in with COVID.”
Would I work for free? I probably shouldn’t think this way, but I probably would.