Mar 10, 2006

letterman's lament

Dave LettermanI've been a Letterman fan since I was a kid. Recently Dave was chatting with guest Amy Sedaris in untypically confessional terms about the people he has on show. She asked him, "If you could change one thing about your show… who would you have on?"

Dave easily answered, "People who actually do something with their lives. I feel sometimes as if I’m a pimp for the motion picture company... ask me if I care if anyone goes to see King Kong."

He went on to talk about how the real fun he has is using his show to try things outside his personality. For instance, when Jennifer Aniston was on the show she wasn't open to extended chatting about too many things. He spoke about how he asked her to come to his house to continue the conversation over cup of coffee, adding that he was absolutely serious because "This is a complex from high school where there was no way I could ask a girl like Jennifer Aniston to come visit me at my house."

Me teachingWhile I'm not all that interested in having coffee with Jennifer Aniston, I was tracking with this idea that there is always a perk to a job... even one that you aren't crazy about. We all have stuff that we're required to do that we don't like (for instance, I'm not a big fan of my current 75 minute commute). However, there is usually a perk that that keep us doing it (like for me, I enjoy teaching for life transformation, building friendships, helping the church get healthier, and even the surface level side of receiving a simple paycheck to help pay the bills).

Wind up guyWhat works for you with your job?
What can't you stand?

And what kind of percentage of your job do you think you need to actually like in order to do it well (i.e. 50%, 20%, 70% etc)?
"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men." (Ephesians 6:7)


Melanie Morales said...

See, ya got me here. I am stuck on thinking, "Maybe Letterman needs to have RED on...." hehe Anyway... I don't have a job where I collect a regular paycheck. I am building my publishing ministries company and then I'm building my visual arts production company which somehow merges in some mysterious way with my publishing company... Anyway - but a job?

I do think you have to absolutely love what you do to be any good at it for any length of time - whether it's a job, a role you play (mom, wife, teacher, minister, etc.) You are only as good as you like/love your job. My mom is a great example of this in two ways. She was a teacher - she loves kids. She loved to teach... until these stupid tests came along and started dictating her classroom. She was robbed of her joy and her love of her job - and she quit teaching when she realized she had become ineffective due to her attitude and diminished love of her job. My grandmother and mom both are known in this region for their clean homes. You can go by any day any time and just drop in unannounced - and their house will appear that they had just put the cleaning supplies away before answering the door. Same goes with their laundry, ironing, etc. ME? Everyone asks what happened to me? I just answer and smile, "I was adopted so I didn't inherit that gene!" I once asked my mom what their secret was - and she said she LOVED doing it. So, when my husband asked me what her secret was, I just told him to start praying every day, "Lord, please give my wife a deep desire and love of housework." I am much better than I used to be...

What do I love? Playing in the floor - making up silly songs and silly games to play with my son and listen to him giggle. I can do it all day - and I normally do. Then, I go to my second love once he goes to bed - writing - I work on my book, blog, and reading/commenting on other blogs. Of course, you look at this and say, "Umm, Mel... aren't you forgetting someone?" Yes, I love my husband, too. I do things for him that remind him I love him... As long as I'm doing that, he doesn't worry so much with raising his eyebrows and Kade's Cheerios spread throughout the house. He just waits until I take Kade for a visit at Gran's - and I come home to a Cheerio free vacuumed house and smiling husband.

I think the reason I don't have a job is for the very reasons you touched on here. I got burned out. I gave my jobs everything I had and no one cared. There was no meaning in doing accounts payable for Apple Computer or being a Vice President over a Sales Team whose only goal was to separate people from about $10K of hard-earned cash on a sales opportunity I knew would soon be obsolete anyway. Then I watched as the President of the company sold the company - swore me to secrecy while we knew there were team members signing contracts on houses and other major life changes - that they were about to be without jobs in one of the toughest markets in the country at the time. I ran the best office in an entire region for a food service company - we contracted with school districts - I had four of them. I caught the attention of people way high up. I was the one they turned to when they needed someone trained. My opinion was highly regarded. I had tons of input when they did a major POS and technology conversion. Then, I got a new DM - and he took notice... the wrong kind of notice... He was just a skirt chaser. That's all I was to him - a pretty skirt in the office. I couldn't go over his head. I just prayed whenever he had to come to our district, he was busy enough doing his job - he didn't have time to stop in the office. The stress made me physically ill - cost me a fortune trying to find out what was wrong for three months until I finally quit - within 48 hours of quitting that job, I was miraculously healed - no more infection that didn't respond to antibiotics. No more pain.

I don't think I ever had a job that brought meaning or made a difference to anyone - and only to me by paycheck - but I never got paid what I should have been paid. That kind of life was completely draining. That's not the first time I've heard Letterman make reference to his job - and wanting to have someone on that really would bring meaning to his show. I mean really - a woman who can whistle with her toes?

I'm glad I can choose not to work for someone else anymore. I am the most demanding boss I've ever had - yet, I love every minute of whatever it is that I'm working on. Because what I do - I get to use my creative talents to enhance the lives of others in one way or another. How cool is that? And it's all for the glory of God. I'm amazed at what He uses me to accomplish - both big and small on a daily basis!

As for me, Jennifer Aniston would not be my choice to have over for coffe... Well, at my house, you wouldn't want coffee... I don't like coffee - and it's about as good as I like it - so that warns you right there... But for say, some hot chocolate with caramel sauce... I would like to have Laura Bush, Vin Diesel ... or who knows? Maybe even Tony... you know... If any of you ever make it this far South - brave enough to come to the Texas Panhandle.

Just don't come in hunting season. We've got hunters with worse aim than Dick Cheney - they actually hit the game bird instead of the lawyers.

Tony Myles said...

Sounds like you've been processing through this well, Melanie. I have some friends in Texas and know that the ministry opportunities there are ripe.

Vin Diesel and coffee don't seem to go together for me any more than Jennifer Aniston. I'll happily stick with my lovely wife.

Thurman8er said...

My new DVR has allowed me to start watching Letterman again! There was no way I could stay up until 12:30, but watching him when I get home from work is something to really look forward to.

As a high school teacher, the perks are when you have one of those really great moments with a student, when you connect over more than just the work. Instilling enthusiasm in the subject is another one. Oh yeah, and summers.

I can't stand defiance and I've had a lot of that this year. It's also hard to walk that line of not really being able to share my faith, which is, after all, who I am. I'm up front with my kids about preaching on the side, so at least they know that much. Sometimes it leads to good discussions. But most of the time I have to obey the law. Ugh.

I also hate beaurocracy and politics, both of which the teaching profession has in spades.

Tony Myles said...

That's great stuff... I almost became a HS teacher and think that would have been my alternate profession had I not gotten into pastoring. Then again, you are on the frontlines so who's to say who is the pastor anyway?

I have a buddy who teaches and once told me, "No one gets into this thing for the summers off. But once you have your first one and still get paid, no one wants to give that up."

stephanie said...

I like how Letterman had the guts to say he wanted "people on who actually do things with their lives." Some of the people in the entertainment industry are doing things with their fame. Look at Cameron Diaz, she drives a prius and wants to save the planet. Why can't more people with money want to help the planet rather than themselves..??

Mark D said...

My wife and I were on Letterman's show in November of 2004. Not as guests - in case there was a need to clear that up. We were in the 3rd row and got on TV (no autographs please). We did get to meet Rupert. I have liked Letterman since the velcro suit days, and over the years we have seen his heart become...the heart who knows there is more. His heart surgery, the first show after 9-11, the birth of his son - one can see glimpses that he knows there is more to this life that glitz and glam. My wife and I continue to believe for his salvation. Who knows maybe he's already there.

Anyway, my job pays the bills. I am thankful to have a job where I can apply what I have learned and work hard to become better. Flex time is a nice perk, and the option to listen to music if I so desire (earphones only). I know God has more for me, but my focus is to remain faithful where I am and work as unto the Lord until it is His time to move me on.

Pammu said...

Unemployed at the moment, and enjoying being a bum, sadly. But there is an opening nearby that can vaguely be described as being paid to read. That always sounds good, especially for a book junkie such as myself.

My previous paying job was as a university part time assistant lecturer, and the paycheck wasn't exactly what I'd thought it would be. I tithed anyway, and blew much of it on books and coffee with friends. I'm not teaching now, but going back to the the department the other day made me realize that I don't miss it, which may mean that teaching isn't for me. I'm 24, and the quarter life myth dictates that you should look for a career and figure it out as soon as possible. I'm still young, and God definitely has something for me. Even if it's being paid to read for a book selling company.

Tony Myles said...

Be sure you have a good pair of glasses, Pammu. I had a friend who used to get paid to test video games... then he busted up his hand and had to give up the job. Crazy.

Friar Tuck said...

Sounds like you feel a little challenged in your work lately?

Am I reading too much into things?

Tony Myles said...

Thanks for asking... not really feeling challenged in any negative way. Just thinking about why we do what we do and what it takes to be authentic with the ups and downs.