HOW TO BE A BREADWINNER...

The family "breadwinner." Most families have one. Some have two! The term carries a certain degree of status: A responsible job; the family provider; an example to be modeled by children. This status also carries certain fringe benefits. One of these includes the right to complain about how unhappy you are being a breadwinner! In today's work force, men and women alike spend a good portion of their day complaining (or at least thinking) about how much they dislike their jobs; and when you consider that what they dislike occupies most of their waking hours, it's not surprising that they seem depressed or angry to the world at large.
 How many times have you found yourself saying things like, "Oh, ____! Tomorrow's Monday. Back to the pits."
 " I hate that place!"
 "Ugh1 This job is such a drudgery. The more you do, the more they demand; and the building is dark, ugly and smells awful, and everyone is always complaining and acting depressed."
 If this sounds familiar, rest assured you are not alone in your feelings. Consider some of these real-life examples (with fictitious names for obvious reasons):
Bill W., a computer programmer at a large corporation, had been fascinated by every phase of the field. Now he's a departmental manager earning a good salary, and work has become unbearable.
 Prodded by her parents, Anna K. became an accountant. She had been told all her life that she was "good with numbers." Once she achieved a responsible position in a tax firm, she began detesting calculators, forms and accounting in general. The only good number to her soom became "5", the time she went home!
 During Ron C.'s internship, he found radiology intriguing. However, after practicing radiology for fifteen years, the only pictures he enjoys looking at are those of Caribbean Islands.
 Gwen F. had a hobby of decorating, often helping her friends plan their homes and offices. When she decided to take her skill seriously and begin a business providing decorating services, she began to hate it, feeling as though she had painted herself into a corner.
 The American work ethic tells us two things about "work": 1. We should rise as high as possible in our chosen fields. 2. Work is generally difficult, time-consuming and unpleasant; but certainly not fun. Questioning both of these assumptions may help make your work life a little more rewarding and less painful. First, look at what is now called the "success trip." It says basically that your worth depends upon seeking increased status, responsibility and income. This idea produces a lot of people like Bill. He liked being a programmer, but didn't like supervisory duties. When offered a promotion, he didn't carefully consider what the new job entailed, and he paid for his salary increase with unhappiness and frustration. When a promotion is offered, stop and think. Talk to others in the position you are considering. Learn as much as possible about your future duties. Then ask some questions of yourself. "Would I like the new duties as much as my present ones?" "Am I suited for them, or do I need further education?" "Can I get it?" "Sure money is important, but can I increase my income doing something in which I have more experience and confidence?" If the overall picture is more positive than negative--fine! However, if the whole prospect makes you a candidate for ulcers, think again. There is no law requiring you to make the upwardly mobile climb.
 Gwen is a victim of the second assumption. When decorating was a hobby it was fun. When it became "work", it automatically became a drudgery. If you have learned to consider work unpleasant, try lightening the load. Imagine that your occupation is like a hobby. As such, consider all the things you would enjoy if it were a hobby. Select one task that is your favorite. For one week, act as if that task were a delightful game, a challenging adventure. Plan for it. Think about it. After treating a few more tasks in this manner, you may find yourself enjoying work a little more, complaining less and doing a better job in the process!