my career is not a race horse so don't expect me to jockey


I've decided that the view from my bedroom window is much more romantic than my old apartment. I like the trees and the brick of the neighbouring building. Unfortunately that same building has windows that provide a direct line of sight into my apartment, but I'm trying to deal with that in a sort of Alfred Hitchcock fashion, but more Rear Window than Psycho, contrary to what the photos below might suggest.

the ritual

a return to my regular sullen self

I ran into a friend on my way to work this morning (we both work in the same building) and during our trip up the elevator I jokingly mentioned that I was becoming a bit of a workaholic. Unfortunately this is shockingly true. I've found that I have work on the brain constantly and on there have been days where I've woken, started editing something almost immediately, and worked steadily until I went to sleep in the evening (with the exception a few intermittent snack and bathroom breaks). Obviously, I don't spend every day like this, but it's happened frequently enough that I've realized that it's becoming more of a habit. A habit that I don't want to continue.

I was once in a class with this girl who declared "work is my salvage." I'm pretty sure that she meant salvation, but anyhow, at the time it was pretty ridiculous. She was maybe 22 and was extremely intense. She lived and breathed for her job, but within a few months she was so burnt out that she quit her job and moved across the globe to do something else that was clearly less stressful and allowed her much more time to do things outside of work.

Now, I'm not saying that I think my behaviour is anything like this girl. I love the work I do, but it's not the only way that I find fulfillment in my life. I need breaks from work in order to keep an even perspective on what I do. Like all of the other things I do (photography, knitting, reading, writing, cooking, popping and locking), breaks are necessary to prevent resentment and dreaded burnout. But for some reason, maybe it's because I like what I do so much, maybe it's the company I keep - the gentleman being a bit of workaholic, this job has the tendency to eat up more of my time than any other position. Maybe it's because the projects I work on don't really have an end date. They are self-fueling, which is something I like, but it's also something that means at the end of the day you could just keep working. Maybe it's this sort of sense of pressure I feel to prove myself so my contract is extended. But working all hours of the night is not going to prove that.

It's during times like these that I think about ambition, something that I wrote about back in March.
I often wonder about people and their aspirations. Do they dream big or dream small? Are they concerned with making a big splash, having whale sized ambition... or are they interested in more ordinary successes, performing small acts that might someday amount to being remembered even by a few as a great person.

I suppose that we all have the occasional dreams of fame, fortune and influence, but celebrity is fleeting and what we perceive as real influence is not always so. Sometimes our opinions are popular because they speak to the current trend of collective thought. The underpinnings of our ideas already exist and we just happen to communicate them more loudly then others.

Is it important that your impact on the world be widely known and you be recognized for all that you do? Or do you prefer a quieter, more intimate success? For me, a smaller and more ordinary existence seems to be the more realistic choice. I want to be influential, but I don't think I mind as much if that circle of influence has a smaller circumference than some.
Most of the time I think that I am quietly ambitious. But that doesn't mean that on occasion I wish for something a little bigger. But if the road to that sort of success can only be reached by fundamentally changing who I am - jockeying for recognition, forgetting to do all the other things I enjoy - well that's not something I'm interested in. I think that would be straying to far away from what makes me enjoy my work in the first place, which is to quietly contribute to projects that help shape our understanding of what is going on in the community.