The work you should be doing

Jessica Hische:

The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.

That’s a great sentence. It implies one of the principles I think is most important for one’s professional life: Do something that’s fun for you. I can’t stand the idea of doing something for a living that doesn’t appeal to me. This may sound harsh, but I’d rather shoot myself in the head than spend 30-40 years of my life doing something I don’t like. It’d be pointless, too ‘cause I really suck at doing things I don’t like.1

Therefore, the quote above frightened me. It is great and true I think, but it frightened me. It frightened me because when I procrastinate, I check Twitter, watch TV Series or work on my blog.2 And that has nothing to do with law in general or my studies in any other way. Well, don’t I like studying law? Nah, that’s not it, when I do intensified studying, it’s fun. I really enjoy working on my very own solution for a case and write it up in some 30 pages. And I love to be right, so I just might as well make it my job. But to be honest, I constantly fail at getting a routine to do intense studying on a regular basis without any pressure, any deadline or exam.
So the quote above stood open in a page in the Safari on my iPad and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I wanted to live by it, but what is it that kept me from doing so?

And it got me thinking. There are hobbies that can be professions, like all this Web 2.0, Public Relations, Social Media, Designer stuff that takes place in lofts in the most expensive offices in town. It’s real work, you don’t need to tell me, but you don’t have to read a book to do this kind of work. It’s very likely anyone who now works as a graphic/web designer used to launch Photoshop (while procrastinating) and play with it.
And there are professions that can’t be hobbies, and those are hard to come by while one procrastinates. It’s very unlikely anyone without further knowledge of the law begins to ruminate on some civil law matter. In order to do so, you’d first need to acquire quite some knowledge. As one of my teachers used to put it: ‘We have to chew some brown bread!’, meaning there’s some work to do that’s not much fun, but obligatory. And I hate to admit it, but for me the crude ability to get over my weaker self and take on something that is not fun from the beginning is the most crucial skill in studying law.
It’s like the postponing of ‘do something that’s fun for you’ to reach a higher level of doing so is the ultimate challenge. This of course even applies to the decision of beginning a study or a job training after school.

Well, the above seems very obvious to me now that I read it, but it took me quite some time and thinking to get there.

  1. Still looking at you, mark I got in French in 7th grade, still looking.
  2. The latter is more productive procrastinating, but it still isn’t studying.