It’s been awful quiet around here lately. Really quiet. More quiet than it’s ever been before.
But I’m not going to apologize.
Truth is, I’ve been working. Day and night. Sun up to beyond sun down. Like every other person in the world trying to make a living.
I wish I had some sort of secret project to announce today. I wish I had a legitimate excuse for my absence.
But again, I’m not going to apologize.
I graduated from the University of Winnipeg in 2013 with a history degree. I started university not knowing what I wanted to do, and I ended up with an arts degree as a result.
In hindsight, I coasted through that degree. I achieved a 4.11 GPA and I can’t remember ever studying beyond midnight. I always enjoyed reading, writing, and researching, so history work was right up my alley.
Unfortunately, it’s an unhireable degree. On the economic front, it has pushed me nowhere. I learnt some very valuable lessons, but they have been quickly glazed over on my résumé.
So, rather than sulking about it, I jumped into finance. I began to utilize some math skills I don’t care to admit possessing. And I entered the CPA Canada program shortly thereafter.
Whatever. Cocky, right? Well, lesson learnt.
You see, I was a kid. A cocky kid. A kid who took those skills for granted. And it has all decided to catch up with me over the last few months.
Accountancy is a well-respected profession. There’s a reason accountancy is printed in the same sentence as dentistry, medicine, law, and veterinary. It takes work. A lot of work. Real work. The kind of work I never learnt or appreciated during my history studies.
Despite those math skills, I struggle to learn accountancy concepts. I work all day in an accounting firm and come home to hit the accounting books each night and I still struggle to understand the concepts, structures, guidelines, and laws accepted in the profession.
This isn’t another one of those “Arts degrees are a waste of time” lectures. However, economically, there’s no denying the value of a professional education.
Actually, the logical conclusion is simpler: I’ve found something that makes me work, something that makes me struggle, and I’m happier for it.
So many people talk about work as the bane of life. We trudge through our 8 to 5 job so we can head home to our families. We value our weekends as though each week is a race to the finish line. And we better take our vacation because we deserve it.
Maybe we do deserve vacation time. Batteries need to be recharged to do our best work and vacation time is necessary from time to time.
But viewing time off as some sort of reward is a flawed paradigm. It certainly won’t make that 8 to 5 job any easier. If anything, it pushes us away from the moment and the job at hand. The allure of leisure time puts us in auto-pilot — unable to focus and find meaning in our work.
My absence over the past few weeks has been some of the most fulfilling time of my life. Sure, I’ve worked my tail off. I spent every waking minute this week completing a project due for my course. I worked from 8:00 AM to 1:00 AM every day.
But I’m getting somewhere. I’m slowly understanding the concepts. I can read a financial statement and understand what a gain on foreign exchange translation means. I can even derive those numbers.
Over the past few weeks, work has equated to progress. Movement, in a forward direction. Acquisition of skills. Patience in acquiring those skills. And a work ethic I never thought I would enjoy.
Progress is addicting. Growth is addicting. Accomplishing goals is addicting. My only regret is the amount of dust collecting on my camera.
There are so many positives to the structured lifestyle of an eight hour work day and proper recharge time. I get that. I’m taking this entire weekend to recharge my batteries before taking on the next three weeks. Recharge is an absolute necessity for doing great work. In fact, I admit to working my tail off now so I can enjoy those eight hour days in the future.
But the flip side isn’t all negative either. Working — and working hard — can be a perpetual machine. It creates legacy. It creates respect. It creates patience and frustration and perseverance. It gives purpose.
I lied when I said earlier that I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I first entered university. I originally wanted to be a lawyer. When I was told lawyers often had to work 16 hour days, I was immediately turned off.
I didn’t want to do that amount of work.
As it turns out, I now work more than 16 hours a day. And I really feel I’m a better human being, citizen, employee, and provider because of it. I’m having a lot of fun, and I’m learning a wealth of valuable information every single day.
Work ain’t so bad.