When Is a Job More Than a Job?

I just found a wonderful quote on the equally wonderful blog MusEditions:

“It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit.”

Anna Quindlen, A Short Guide to a Happy Life, 2000

I LOVE that thought. So many of us spend our days carefully planning and creating items to look good on our resumes or fulfill others dreams for us, while taking things we truly need to feed our spirit and putting them off for another day…and then another…and yet another. To the last syllable of recorded time.

Until one day you look back and maybe realize you’ve been crafting someone else’s spirit all along – one that you thought would please others. One that you were told can best get you jobs. One you were told would make you a success.  But also one that can only get you so far before you realize it feels all wrong…because it wasn’t really your spirit you’ve been crafting.

And so…when is a job more than a job? My answer is ALWAYS.

When times are tough and scary, like they are now, we’re even more likely to make small choices that start to eat at who we really are out of fear. That’s not to say you shouldn’t try to figure out what pleases your boss or how to get along with co-workers or do your very best no matter what (rather than shutting off a part of you) – that’s just working smart. But there is a way to do all that and still be yourself. Even in a job that’s not so great. Even in a job that’s just for the money. Because it’s still you spending all those hours working. And eventually, if you keep it real, whatever you do and whoever you connect to (especially positive connections rather than folks who only see the bad in things) can help you get to a place that feels more in synch with who you are.

You have ideas. You have things you enjoy doing. You have things you’re good at. You have dreams. And you can still stay true to yourself while slowly moving toward jobs and a life that more and more fill in and feed the pieces of your whole self.  And you can also explore things outside of work that nourish your spirit.

Of course, it helps to believe in yourself and have a positive vision of what you can create, even if where you are right now isn’t your dream job. You take you wherever you go, so you might as well start now to craft your true spirit!

But don’t worry. You don’t always know what your ideal job would be. That’s ok. Some people graduate from school with a clear picture. For others it takes a while to build the image. And even for those with a clear picture, things can change. But the one constant in the formula is YOU. And the best thing you can do for you, to eventually get yourself to something you feel great about, is to keep being true to yourself and your values.

Check in with yourself from time to time to see how it’s going. You can feel it inside when you’re out of synch. Don’t ignore that inner voice if it tells you you’re not keeping it real.  It’s there to help.

Eagle Soars

BTW…for any of you cynics out there, this isn’t BS. Each piece of the whole matters. Each person we help or screw matters. Whether we stuff down a part of ourselves or instead feed our spirit matters. Each time we give up on ourselves or keep going despite the challenges matters. These things leave a trail inside and out; and they add up and influence every aspect of our lives – including our careers.

Obviously, there’s no way this one post can deal in depth with this huge issue. But I’m hoping you will take the time to ask whether you are making choices just to create a resume or are you crafting your spirit in a way you can feel proud of each and every day – now and in the future.

How many ethical compromises does it take to break a spirit, no matter how many people tell you it’s good for your career? How many times can you keep from sharing an idea just so you won’t look stupid? How many times can you keep from asking to work on a project you’d enjoy just so you won’t be turned down? How many times can you go after the same kind of job even though you know it’s never felt good to you? And how many times can you expect the world to change for you and blame “them” when it doesn’t, rather than realizing you have it in your own power to make things better – even if it takes time and patience?

Are you merely writing a resume or are you crafting your spirit? And which will truly bring you the most joy in the end?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Ronnie Ann


Thanks MusEditions for the inspiration. And to Sulz for inspiring her. 😉 And if anyone wants to read MusEdition’s original post where I found the quote:

Magical Musical Memeical Morph


 About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.


  1. Great Post Ronnie. In my work as a consultant with all levels of management I see that authencity feels like too much of a luxury and risk for too many. The focus is on the externals, something that we are taught as kids and adopt as beliefs that dictate the decisions we make as adults. You are so right to caution that now, more than ever, this will not only be tempting, but may feel like a necessity to appear “marketable.” It may be more challenging for many of us to realize that it is our “authenticity” that is our greatest “selling” point, not to mention what feeds our soul, especially in hard times.

  2. Thanks Louise. Great points! You’re so right. All too often people (especially new graduates) do things to appear more marketable and ironically wind up submerging the one thing that really rings true at both interviews and in the workplace: authenticity. May have to do another post on that one. 😉

    Checked out your new website. Looks good. Love the work you do on emotional intelligence. Can’t wait for you to start your own blog. Please let us know when you do!

    Ronnie Ann

  3. Oh, my, RA, (BTW I love that your initials are also the Egyptian Sun God; but I digress) Each paragraph is brilliant. Of course I agree, but it goes beyond that. You have a way of crafting words (and a spirit!) that allows me to entertain your concepts while feeling encouraged and supported.
    I am privileged that you found inspiration over at my place, and the synchronicity continues. 🙂

  4. Wow! You’ve left me almost speechless, MusEditions! (A rare occurrence.) Thank you so much for the kind words. I love the synchronicity – and that I am a sun god. 🙂 Not bad for a kid who grew up in the Catskills. As always, sooo enjoy your peripatetic brain.

    Peace out and in, ME. (Always smile at your own initials. It feels so delightfully narcissistic. 😉 )

    Ronnie Ann

  5. BRAVO! This was a wonderful post.

    We’re all getting so scared and timid nowadays, and it’s understandable. But “interesting” times can also be a chance to recreate ourselves. When everything is shaken and thrown up into the air, it’s clarifying. We can often more clearly see what’s important and what’s…..not.

    Thanks for writing this post, Ronnie Ann (Miss Sun God!).

  6. Ha! You crack me up WG. Thanks. I like what you said about tough times being a chance to recreate ourselves. Amen. You and I have done it again and again, I believe. Speaking of new adventures… looking forward to your new book coming soon. 🙂 Good luck!

    Ronnie Ann

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