Work =/= Love?

And what is it to work with love?

Work is love made visible.

And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.

– Kahlil Gibran in The Profet

Back in junior high, our social studies teacher gave us this ridiculous-but-interesting assignment: Interview someone you see everyday on the street about their occupation. It could be anyone you want, but it had to be a local from the area where you live, and no, it cannot be your family. Being a lazy ass, I wrote a questionnaire sheet and handed it to the maid.

“Go find the vegetable vendor and make him answer these questions.” I barked.
“Yes, non!” My little underage maid gingerly waltzed out of the house to look for the vendor.

I suspected she had an ongoing crush on the vegetable seller, but we’re not gonna talk about that today.

image taken from

So, since this was like 15+ years ago, I totally forgot what questions I asked the seller, and what his answers were. Funnily the only question I remember asking was:

“Your job is so damn hard. Everyday you have to push a bike cart full of veggies in blistering heat. Why did you become a vegetable seller? Why not do another job?”

Looking back, yes, it was very much a naive, nosy question from a spoilt, sheltered 8th grader who went to private school in Pondok Indah.

His answer was: “I had no other choice. I have to feed my family. This is all I can do.”

15 years later, I often find myself asking the very same question. Why are we doing what we’re doing for a living? Do we have other choices? And does the martabak (bakso/mie/gado2/whatever) seller ever get sick and tired of making martabak (bakso/mie/gado2/whatever) every day, after day, for years?

I conclude that maybe you have to really, really love martabak in order to be a good martabak seller.

I believe that what keeps us going is simply called “passion”. To take it further, I also think it’s called “perseverance”. There’s no use being passionate about what you do, without the ability to endure any hardship that comes along the way.

The question is: Do we have enough of both passion and perseverance in what we do?  If we don’t, are we fortunate enough to have other options? Are we willing to explore these other options? Or maybe, are we just doing this shit for the money?

Think about it. And I’m sorry if I’m using too much analogies here. That’s how I roll, beetches.

Wannabe-career-coach signing off.

4 thoughts on “Work =/= Love?

  1. Hi Amel, I love this post. More often than not, we take what we got for granted. Choice = Privilege. Those Abang2 has no choice, they have to persevere to feed their family.

    If we, the privileged ones, have the perseverance of the unprivileged people, we would definitely achieve so much more. Too bad, most of the times we’re lazy.

    • Thanks for reading! Yeah! It also dawned on me that sometimes we give up too easy or not put enough effort on the things that we love, too, simply because we have too many choices! That means, sometimes lack of opportunities can work for your good! Nice insight!

  2. Pingback: Martabak = Love « Amel + Sheep

  3. Pingback: Taking choices for granted | Patricia Chan

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