I’ve never listened to an entire set of George Carlin. In fact, I never will. But one thing is for sure. He produced a lot of work. He was no hack. He changed with is audience as well as changed for an audience that was waiting for him without knowing it. Just take a look here. If you haven’t heard him you could say “Carlin’s forte is Lenny Bruce-style social and political commentary, spiced with nihilistic observations about people and religion peppered with black humor.” One thing that caught my attention when researching him was this quote:
Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.
Think about that for a moment. What came to you mind? I’ll tell you what I thought about.
“. . . get paid just enough money not to quit”
I thought about the missed opportunity I had to go on a mission trip to India because I needed to work because I didn’t have the money to go. The day the plane set flight was the very day that I quit that job. I didn’t even realize it was the same day until hours later. Talk about sad. I think I shed a few tears into a Chick-fil-a sweet tea.
Other things and trips I passed because that I wanted to do while in college but couldn’t because I needed to save money. I needed the money because I didn’t get paid enough or rather didn’t save enough or rather I didn’t live frugal enough to prepare. And I think that’s the problem. We don’t prepare for what we might want to do in the future or emergencies. We live in the here and now because we don’t write down what we want to do with our lives or even a goal about what we would like to accomplish in the next year or visit within the next two years.
“Most people work just hard enough not to get fired. . .”
George Carlin worked. He constantly worked on his art. I heard an interview with a comedian who said that every time that he saw Carlin on the plane or anywhere else by himself he was writing. In order to produce as much successful work that he did he would have to produce 10x or more the amount of work that bombed.
People who work “just hard enough” to not get fired has a character flaw. Here’s why. Working just hard enough costs businesses money because of customer service complaints, manufacturing defects, unmet customer expectations and deceptive advertisements. All of these result in lost profit. This, of course, causes financial stress on the boss and thus one’s paycheck.
What if a spouse took the view of “loving just enough to not get divorced?” It’s silly to think about isn’t it.
The reason people work just hard enough not to get fired is because they want to get fired. They won’t tell you that but it’s true. They don’t want to be there and they’re just to scared to do anything about it. The real reason is that they are still there because they didn’t prepare properly. They want to be some where else doing something that they enjoy and most likely willing to work very are at.
Where + What
Where do you want to be? What is it that you want to do? What job brings you joy? What is it that changed right now that would make your work 100x better?
Out of the cubicle
I remember the first time I photographed a wedding. My thoughts raced on and on about a life helping newlyweds preserve their wedding story for their future generations. The only problem was that I worked in a call center in a cubicle 10 hours a day for 4 – 6 days a week.
I needed money to pay my bills + increase savings + extra the unknowns. So I worked hard to make extra money from commission and overtime. I took a part-time job that required a lot of work up front but very easy on the back end. I created personal photo projects to experiment and learn about the camera and photography. I took courses on photography plus internet learning to understand the technical side of photography. A typical day looked like this:
- 4pm – 3am: work
- 3am – 5am: workout, go home, shower
- 5am – 9am: photography editing + learning
- 9am – 1pm: sleep
- 1pm – 4pm: get ready and go to work
Days off were for photo projects and photo jobs.
After years with this schedule the day finally came to quit that job. In fact, I took 15min break that lasted an hour and a half to make my decision. I walked to my manager and said, “I think it’s time we both called it a day.” I did this because I had more than a years worth of business to replace the lost fulltime income. Thinking back I should have really stayed with my day job longer and made sure that I had two or three years worth of income in the bank before leaving.
I’d like to know your thoughts. Leave a comment or two.