Finding joy in day-to-day grind
Maybe the best professional complement you can receive is to be told you appear to enjoy what you do.
I have heard lots of things regarding my work here at the paper — some good and some not — over the last two-and-a-half years. But probably the greatest professional accomplishment I have ever received came about two weeks ago when a player I have covered for the last few years told me he was considering becoming a sports writer because I always seemed to have fun at what I do.
His was a compliment I am not entirely sure I deserved, but it felt good no less.
It is really easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day processes of this, and any other, job. We can so easily lose sight of the things that make our jobs worthwhile to begin with.
When I was a kid, I never really thought a lot about how much money I wanted to make when I got older. That is a philosophy I sometimes question as an adult. Nonetheless, it was my focus to find something I really liked to do.
And, if the words of that one player are any indication, I seem to have succeeded at that one task. Although, I ought to have. I did spend seven years between three different colleges and four different majors. Craziness.
But success in our professional lives is just like success in every other aspect of our lives. It is so much about perspective.
If we make up our minds to find the joy in what it is we are doing, it stands to reason that we will find it. And when we find it, we will be better at whatever it is we do.
That seems to be the greatest thing we can achieve in our careers. Pay raises will come. Promotions will may occasionally come around. We might see bigger opportunities or hear flattering compliments.
But in the end, can we wake up in the morning and find the sheer enjoyment of doing what we do?
If we can’t, I guess it is probably time to reevaluate the direction of our professional lives.
In the end, life is just too short not to find the joy in it. And if we are spending 40 hours or more each week doing something we absolutely cannot stand, then how are we going to appreciate the blissful simplicity of life?
So, on my bad days now, I try to remind myself of that one high school kid that wants to do what I do because of the way I do it because that must mean that at some point I got at least one thing right.
Jeremy D. Smith is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times.