Tag Archives: Ikigai

Who are You Apart from Your Job?

There have been a bunch of articles about “The Great Resignation” over the past year or so, but this piece by Maggie Mertens for The Atlantic feels especially on point.

I’ve written a decent amount about job satisfaction, often referencing the concept of “ikigai,” and this article gets at some of those notions in the context of said job re-alignment.

Hobbies: Only by Imperial Decree

Hobbies, those interests to pursue without it being a “side gig” and often without the need to be at all expert at them, were something I started focusing on, ironically, in the Before Times. I believed (and still believe), it’s very healthy to have some pursuit that is not monetized, potentially not judged and evaluated like job performance might, and perhaps free of some of the wacky things outside of your control that one can’t avoid in their ducat-earning occupations.

(This is one of the reasons I strongly advocate actors, who by and large depend on others to hire them to act, cultivate pursuits that are not dependent on someone else’s approval.)

I’ve also mused that overall life satisfaction depends on a combination of hobbies and the aforementioned ducat-earning occupations, as no one thing is going to do it all. (This is connected to the concept of ‘ikigai’).

These were some of the thoughts I had when reading Anne Helen Petersen’s piece on hobbies on her “Culture Study” site.

It sadly doesn’t surprise me that people have to work harder to carve out time for hobbies and that being able to do so is almost a form of luxury. The nature of the hobbies too, being demanding in such a way so that the time must be yielded, also scratches my anthropological curiosity. However, I can’t say it seems like a good thing, a notion that I had from the Before Times and feels even more relevant now.

Satisfaction & Stepping Off the World’s Treadmill

Monday posts have been about motivations and resolutions and worldviews so far this year, so why stop now?

After this long, has Sir Mick accrued measurable satisfaction?

From that standpoint, Arthur Brooks’ piece for The Atlantic was a welcome read (or, if you so desire, a 41-minute listen).

What I appreciated was the time Brooks took in defining why we human animals are on this neverending treadmill for satisfaction. The societal pressures are, I would hope to most people, rather self-evident. The evolutionary arguments are ones that make me want to revisit some of my anthro coursework of ages ago and see what’s happened since then. I suspect there’s some nuance on the evolutionary angle. Nonetheless, from societal pressures alone, it makes sense why it’s so hard for one to get off the treadmill.

By the time we get to Brooks’ thoughts on three ways to aim for more satisfaction in life (decidedly not Conan’s way), the approach resonate more because of the definition of the problem.

So, as many of start another workweek, may you take some steps off the treadmill.