What's In A 'Job'?

What’s in a “Job”?

Last Sunday I guided a relaxing day rafting trip on the section of the Rangitikei River we call “The Awesome Scenic Adventure”.

The sun was shining, the water warm, the two families were nice people. Life was good.

Did I make a fortune from being a river guide that day? No.

After the trip, did I drive home through traffic in the latest $60,000 Ford Ranger (complete with finance)? No.

Did I have a satisfying and rewarding day sharing the river, the scenery, and the sense of place with our guests? Yes, I most definitely did.

According to a 2013 article in the Washington Post only 13% of people who work are actually engaged with their jobs. This figure was drawn from data from over 140 countries.

What About Everybody Else?

Well it appears that 63 percent are “not engaged”—or simply unmotivated and unlikely to exert extra effort—while the remaining 24 percent are “actively disengaged,” or truly unhappy and unproductive.

These figures highlight the disconnect that most of us have with what we do.

For most urban workers the day starts with a stressful commute, eating up hours of their lives that could be way better spent at home or with family. Then the job itself.

I once read an article saying one of the attributes of the perfect job is the opportunity to be creative. On a daily basis, how many of us experience this?

After an often-stressful day there is the reverse commute home.

And why do we do this?

To pay for the car and fuel that we need for the commute.

To pay for the house where we hardly spend any time.

To buy the energy dense but nutrient poor items that masquerade as food in the supermarket.

To become materially wealthy, but poor in so many other ways.

To keep up with the Joneses.

When Are You Going to Get a Real Job?

I often hear about this from younger river guides. Their well-meaning parents, relatives or older family friends have queried them with questions like, “It must be fun what you are doing, but you know, when are you going to get a real job?”

In other words when are you going to get the mortgage, buy the expensive car on finance, spend hours in traffic, and live a stressed life like the rest of us?

The Best Job in The World?

There is probably no single job in the world that can truly be called the best job in the world, and of course it does depend on what measurement criteria you use. But spending the day on the river on Sunday I think my “job” came close to being the best job in the world.

Brian Megaw

brian rafting

Brian Guiding On The Rangitikei River, December 2018

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