Fast Company Review January/February 2000 : LUSENET : M.Ed./International Falls : One Thread

A Living or A Life? by Anne Field, Fast Company, January-February 2000, p.256-267.

Submitted by: Paul Brownlow

Anne Fields article, A Living or a Life? talks about Mark Albions crusade to make a living and a life at the same time. Albion was a former Harvard professor who seemed to have everything a person would want in a job- prestige, wealth, flexible work hours, and brilliant colleagues. Even with those assets, he still felt miserable going to work. He later realized the missing link was his passion for his work. He wanted a job that would enrich the lives of others.

Albion found this missing link when he received the terrible news that his mother had cancer. Although she was terribly sick and fatigued, she still came to work because she cared about the employees of her company. Albion said, Never in a million years would he do the same thing for Harvard (p. 262). It was at that time that he realized he must change careers.

It took him a couple of years to find something which allowed his work to mesh with his personal goals. His first passion, a character promoting drug-free lifestyles to kids, fell through, but that did not stop him. He kept working on projects that had an impact on himself and others. By networking, he was able to develop Students for Responsible Business, a college organization which helps students locate jobs that are financially and personally rewarding. From that organization, he was able to create his profit group, You and Co.

According to Albion, The only way to find true balance is to make your passion and your work one and the same (p.267). He believes that rewarding work is work that is in progress. A fulfilling life and livelihood may undergo changes in order for that person to journey in the right direction.

Many people go through the same dilemma as Mark Albion did. We, as a culture, see money as the ultimate life goal. If a person is making decent money, then they must be making a decent living. But, this is not always true.

Before moving to Elbow Lake, I had three job in International Falls. I delivered newspapers before school, taught music during the school day, and taught drivers training after school. I was earning good money, but hated waking up each morning because I knew I had a long day ahead of me. I did not realize how stressful that situation was until we moved. This year I have one job, teaching, which for the most part is rewarding. I enjoy working a normal day and being able to come home to my family like everyone else.

I have often thought about moving up to the administrative ranks. But the more I teach, I see how much more demanding that job is. I appreciate summers off and would hate dealing with everyone elses problems. For me, administration would mean a comfortable living monetarily, but I do not know if I would enjoy it as a livelihood. Right now, teaching allows me to make a difference for my students at school and my family at home. Teaching has allowed me to spend the holidays and summers with my family. I am able to travel for weeks at a time during the summer to visit whomever I want whenever I want. There are not too many other professions that boast the same flexible schedule.

There are days when I wonder why I chose to teach and look for a new profession. The only problem is I do not know what else I would rather do. I find teaching music to be rewarding and challenging. Some days drag on longer than others, but each day does come to an end, and each new day always starts with a positive beginning. Because of that, I believe I have found my passion meshed into my work.

-- Anonymous, January 24, 2000

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