52. People Who Talk Work Outside the Office

Dear People Who Talk Work Outside the Office:

I once despised all of you. I never understood why you’d leave the office and actually continue talking about what you had been doing the last eight-plus hours … working.

Be it positive, negative or gossip, it never made much sense. I often thought to myself: Self, why would someone commit so much brain matter, energy and time to something when he/she isn’t being paid for it?

I don't see a single smile ... you know why? Because this is an icebreaker concerning work. lol.

I don't see a single smile ... You know why? Because this is an icebreaker concerning work.

Over time, I did overtime (read: over thinking) and realized that most people who speak negatively about jobs or refuse to talk about them are not doing what they desire to do with their lives.  Even if they just want to be a lazy bum or a housewife. Most of them aren’t happy. The people who speak glowingly about their professions or crafts often times love what they do.

They often come up with their best ideas when they are off the clock. I’ve come to this conclusion over the past seven years of post-college life.

If you know me, you know I will almost never ask you about work. I want to know about your passion — be it knitting, your kids, writing, acting, singing or doing people’s taxes.

If I ask you about your job, I’m secretly hoping you’ll answer  with one of two replies: “Man, it’s work,” or “It’s cool.” That is, unless you are absolutely passionate about what you do.

If there’s an accountant out there who loves his/her job, I really could listen to him/her talk about crunching other people’s numbers. I know some accountants. None of them ever talk about work. They instead speak of other life aspirations same as Harold Crick (“Stranger Than Fiction”) spoke of playing the guitar once he freed himself from his monotonous work.

I also know a few attorneys who make six figures. They all seem to be scheming to leave their practices in pursuit of their life goals/dreams or simply to work a schedule that doesn’t require clocking 19-hour days.

That said, I’ll loan this advice to anyone who reads this: If you don’t love what you do and do what you love, you ultimately cannot be happy with yourself. Fulfilling passion is where happiness is found.

And the more friends I know diving head first into the blissful abyss that is dream chasing, the more desire I build up to take a similar plunge. That’s what TMCY is about. That’s why I talk my friends ears off about it daily (sorry, homeys).

It’s also why I can’t hate you for talking about doing what you love, even if it is your labor. For you, it makes your day fly by. And that’s a 1,000 times better than looking at the clock every five minutes praying that 5 p.m. arrives five minutes from now … and the actual time is 9:05 a.m.



P.S. Here’s a great song about living your dreams from a songstress you may or may not know. She also happens to be a former schoolmate of mine: Janelle Monae’s “Letting Go.”


20 responses to “52. People Who Talk Work Outside the Office

  1. 1st – I love Janelle Monae and I really hope she starts getting the attention she deserves.

    I try my best to avoid talking about work because currently I don’t really enjoy it. I look at the clock wishing for quitting time to come almost everyday. Luckily, I have goals and ambition and see this as a means to an end (or beginning). So I talk about the things I do love, the things I have a passion for. I try to avoid wasting time and energy on things that don’t bring me joy.

    • I really hope Janelle does as well … She’s refreshingly talented, and I’m proud to have heard her before she stepped on the big stage …

      And you’ve got it right. Talking about the things that don’t bring you joy ALL OF THE TIME can inhibit you from finding that joy in the things you love. It’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in life.

  2. I concur. At my previous job, I never talked about work outside of work. I didn’t enjoy it enough. Now I’m freelancing and I talk about writing all the time. Because I love it.

    And I really don’t understand people who have their work email sent to their phones. Unless my employer is going to pay my phone bill, I will refuse until the day I die. But I may only feel that way because the only work experience I’ve had was passionless.

    • @akirah: that work e-mail to the phone thing is scary. I won’t go too far into it, but it can be both good and horrific. Depending on the situation …

      But I’ll say this: I know plenty of people who are passionate about their careers that would love nothing more than to chuck their work blackberries into the Hudson, Mississippi and Missouri rivers … and I’m sure that list of rivers could go on for quite sometime if I thought about it.

  3. thecomebackgirl

    i hate talking shop too, esp. on a date. but i find men like to quizz a woman in a similiar industry so whatever…then i gotta him with the BAM..i know what the fyck im talm bout homie.

    • I think it’s different if you’re in the same industry. The convo is bound to happen on Date no. 1. But just hanging with random friends? IDK …

  4. thecomebackgirl

    Yeah random friends..then no..unless you’re talm bout making mad paper then yeah I want you to talk shop until it rubs off on me LOL..

  5. After toiling for eight years in corporate America, I’ve finally found a company whose mission and values I believe in. It’s refreshing to get up and be excited about the idea of coming into the office versus dreading it and finding an excuse to do anything but work whenever possible. With that said, I know I’ve been gushing about it endlessly to my friends, but being the great people they are, they seem to understand how much of an impact it’s had on me.

    • @kindred: Your friends will always listen when you are passionate about what you’re doing. They may be annoyed. lol. But they’ll listen, and be happy for you.

  6. I heart Janelle Monae! I saw her w/ the Roots NYE in Miami.

    I work in drug research at a university….the majority of my co-workers are white or African males 40+. I’m the youngest and only blk female in my lab. We have nothing in common besides work but I enjoy those guys so much and they are great mentors! I also find joy in being involved in something that can change ppl’s lives some years from now. That’s my payoff.

    • @garcelle: Your second to last sentence is the big thing. It’s what I feel like so many people are missing in what they do with their lives. You have to do something that will affect/help people and/or promote positive change. You do that, and you’re bound to be fine with what you do.

  7. Strangely enough I think I’ve actually found a position that I don’t want to ever leave. I want to retire from the hospital. Not only do I like my job alot but I don’t have the stress I’ve experienced with previous positions. I also love my schedule and the close proximity to home. All those things can weigh in on someone’s desire to discuss the job. I’d love to talk about my job all evening but most people find what I do boring as hell and look at me like they don’t know what I’m talking about. Once the teaching gig starts I’ll slowly start working on my PhD and I’m strongly considering being a professor later in life…ya never know…

  8. thecomebackgirl

    i think the rub is when people think what they do is WHO THEY ARE…thats what i shy away from at social functions where its apparent that one has missed the discussion on life being about so much more than your occupation.

    i don’t think i ever want to have what i do be directly TIED and BOUND to who i am. life is too short for that.

    • You know, I agree with you. But I have a whole set of questions regarding this premise … the first of which is, “Why do we spend so much of our lives working, instead of spending more of that time with our families and friends?” … I mean, doesn’t that contribute to what’s truly wrong with America today, too many people working so much that they aren’t raising their kids?

      • I agree with this too. Other countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, etc. don’t have societies that constantly work work work. During one of my International Business courses in grad school I found out that vacation time is indefinite, especially when you have a baby, and you are able to return back to your job at your leisure. Of course other things suffer like the strength of their currency and economy but I bet the people there are much happier…lol… Of course there are other areas that they don’t enjoy like we do in America (they probably pay even more taxes than we do) but Americans have to be the hardest working people on the planet probably next to China. We work so much that our families and personal ‘me’ times are neglected. I’m a strong believer that the credit markets were created to enslave us, because how many people can you call up right now who are working hard every day to pay everyone else but themselves???….THINK…

        • @jlbd: True, true … And that’s why it all goes back to doing what you love/doing something that actually betters the world (if feasible) …

          Life is short, and we spend too much time working to pay bills instead of living our lives. But like you explained it, there’s some give and take … the countries you mentioned have weaker currencies and economies … but in the end all, which is more important? Love of money is the [what?] …

          • EXACTLY. I would rather spend my life here with average to above average means and being happy than to be filthy rich and not seeing my family at all, or be dirt poor and still working so much that I don’t see my family…nothing sickens me more than to see people working on holidays because they have to or else…..Money capitalism is definitely the root of all evil…. ***disclaimer: I actually like america’s current society but it’s definitely been run poorly in recent times***

            • Love of it. Love of money is the root of all evil. And the crazy thing is that your money tells you “don’t trust me, trust God …” but nobody does. So many of us think more money is the answer to our problems. But look at all of the ignorant stories concerning people who win lotteries … Doesn’t tend to work out so well, does it?

              We’ll have this discussion another 2,136 times before we die. I’m sure of this …

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