How do we deal with work in this modern world?
I wanted to be a lawyer since the time I was 12. Of course, the old adage says "be careful what you ask for, because you might get it." I got what I asked for, but it wasn't what I wanted.
My ambition to become a lawyer was largely spurred on by television and movie depictions of the legal profession. I wanted to do good deeds and help the downtrodden. I wanted to be Atticus Finch. The only trouble with that plan was that they don't tell you on television that ordinary people cannot afford lawyers. They also don't tell you that lawyers who spend most of their time helping ordinary people can't pay the mortgage.
And so, for the last 24 years, I have represented impersonal, "soulless" (for lack of a better word) corporations. My work mostly involves facilitating the transfer of large sums of money between competing groups of petty, greedy businessmen. In the process, the rich get richer and the poor get ... absolutely nothing. Not much to like there. Not much to be proud of at the end of the day.
I get to do a little pro-bono work, but only enough to meet my Bar requirements (my firm does not want me "wasting" my time when I could be billing a paying client). But, I do finish my yoga teacher training next month, so that will provide me with an opportunity to do something a little more meaningful, something that makes people happy (albeit something that I could never make a living doing). So, maybe that will help to balance the scales a bit.
Just to clarify, I am not unhappy. Quite the contrary. I have reconciled myself with the professional path I chose so long ago and I have accepted the consequences of the choice I made. I perform my duties and try to be "unburdened" by them (to rely on the wisdom of the Metta Sutta). But the happiness that I feel is not related to my work in any way. It is the result of my friendships and my practice and my acceptance of my situation.
So, I return to my original question. How do we deal with work in this modern world?