June 26, 2011 in Business

Life’s priorities help put our careers in perspective

Elea Sprinkle Katzele

We’ve all seen the doomsday movies. We’ve been inundated by end-of-time predictions online and in the media. We’ve seen the zealots with their signs waving at us from the side of the road to get “right with God, the end is coming.”

One question we should ask ourselves, regardless of whether the end is near, is this: What really matters in life?

In the past 16 months my priorities have drastically changed. I’ve always had this gigantic picture of my life, containing in it all the pieces that I deemed important to my existence on this planet. One of the biggest items has been my career. It always has come first, and still does, but in a vastly different way than I pictured 16 months ago.

In January 2010 my husband and I were blessed with a baby girl, after being told multiple times it wasn’t likely either of us would be able to have children. We, of course, assumed it was a miracle and that would be that, our small family of three plus our dog, Itsy. Then low and behold, five months later we found out we were to be blessed again, this time with a baby boy.

Anyone with children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, or even adopted-best-friend’s-kids, knows that kids change your life – unprecedentedly, unpredictably, change your life. Suddenly life is no longer about you. If you’d never found a higher calling before, you now have one so high up there in responsibilities and expectations, I often find myself wondering how much it would hurt to fall from that height and whether it would even be possible to survive.

Some mothers are able to stay home with their children full-time: not an easy feat by any means, and one I’ve realized I’m probably not the best at. Not only does my bank account not allow that luxury, neither does my ego. I need to be out there in the world doing something that forces me to grow, something my kids can learn from, something I can be proud of when I sail into the retirement sunset many years from now.

After children, I find that the picture of my career is even more focused, with sharper images and brighter colors. I’ve had the same picture all along of being proud of who I am and what I do for a living. The difference is that now I have two small, adorable, rambunctious bundles of love to push me even harder. Because what matters to me, what makes my career even more important than before, is that I make life as good as I possibly can for my babies.

Part of my duties at the BBB include human resources tasks, and I often find myself talking to someone not performing at a level that meets job expectations. My first question is always the same: Do you like your position here? Do you like the work you do?

If there is any hesitation in their answers, I launch onto my soap box. We spend 40 or more hours a week away from our families, the people that mean the most to us. Why on earth would we give up that time for something that doesn’t make us happy?

I know jobs are hard to come by these days, but in order to be the best person you can be, it is imperative you do something you’re passionate about. Find something that makes you a better person, and that you look forward to when you get up each morning. Genuine passion can be felt by everyone around you. It is uplifting and influential in ways you’ll never imagine.

We never know how much time we’ll have in this world. I, for one, ask myself every morning what’s important to me. I’m reminded the second I see those perfect little faces; they light up the photograph I have for my life, and I know it’s going to be a great life, no matter how many days I have left.

Elea Sprinkle Katzele is vice president of the local Better Business Bureau. She fills in this week for regular BBB columnist Jan Quintrall. Contact Katzele at ekatzele@spokane.bbb.org.

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