Rosh Hashanah is just around the corner, and the feeling that another year has gone by is thick in the air. Contemplation and resolutions are in style, and thoughts on self-improvement follow everyone.
Life can sometimes get in the way of all these well-meaning plans for change. Sometimes, we are so exhausted from the day-to-day grind that we just don’t have the effort to deal with the monumental task of creating change. Many times, the very act of getting up, going to work, coming home – and dealing with all that comes with – and then doing it all over again, is so draining, all we want to do is veg-out until we drag ourselves to sleep.
According to world-renown psychologist Dr. David Pelcovitz, flow is the happy balance between being under-utilized and over-whelmed. Flow is the place where you are using your talents and abilities to the appropriate extent and the more you use it, the more energy you feel. With energy, comes optimism and with that comes the potential for change and self-improvement. Without it, we are left feeling dull and lifeless.
So how can we get more flow in our lives so that we can become energetic, optimistic, developing adults?
Let’s take a look at the place where we spend the majority of our days – the office. Here’s a quick survey that will determine if your work environment is the right place for you:
- Do you dread going to work?
- Are you exhausted when you come home?
- Do you feel you are using your intelligence and creative abilities at work?
- Do you utilize self-determination to chart your daily activities?
If the answer to the first two questions is yes, and to the last two questions no, then I encourage you to begin looking for employment elsewhere.
Many people are afraid of change, afraid that every positive will bring a different negative, and are used to the negatives they have now. They feel that whatever benefits they do receive where they are currently employed will be lost if they move elsewhere or that perhaps nobody will hire them because of their age, appearance or lack of experience.
However, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kipper are soon approaching, and during our long davening we beseech Hashem, not our current employer, for a sweet year, a fruitful year, one blessed with parnassah and all good things. We do not have to limit Hashem’s ability to provide us with a source of income that matches our heavenly-sent talents with our children’s schedules. Sometimes, we have to want something more than we are afraid of having it. Would it hurt to try? Perhaps it is possible to say a little prayer and send out your resume yet again, despite the fact that nothing happened the first time around.
Don’t be afraid to try something different. Very often, people pick a major or a career path based on specific factors. However, it is possible to switch careers later on in life. I worked as a nutritionist in a WIC office for 7 years before I providentially decided to apply for a job at TTI, a program consortium that allows members of the Orthodox community to obtain higher education in accordance with their values. As blue-collar jobs disappear, and highly-skilled and educated employees become more essential, enrollment in college programs increase, leading to more jobs in higher education.
Another popular avenue today is being a freelance, flexible-hour employee. Finding jobs that give you that incredible work-life balance and provide self-determination is fundamental to finding your personal flow. Jobs in Internet-related areas and graphic design are in great demand, and allow employees to work wherever and whenever they choose to – and garner a handsome salary as well. In our rapidly changing and increasingly multi-media work environment, people in those fields are considered the rock stars of the business world. To quote a recent Observer article, who knew you needed something that not only works well but also looks good?
If you aren’t technology savvy, but are multi-lingual, consider the burgeoning need for translated materials. Translators can work with fascinating materials, and enjoy the satisfaction of sharing that knowledge with a wider percentage of the world.
Whatever path you may take to find your personal nirvana, consider what you enjoy doing, what action gives you the feeling of flow, and see which career path can closely mimic that so you too can spend your days happy, optimistic and ready for growth.
A very happy and healthy Shana Tova to all my readers!