Question & Answer With Chabakuk Elisha - Trapped In A Cube
A Simple Jew asks:
I realize that this is problem many other wish they had:
Baruch Hashem, I have a well-paying, stable, and stress-free job that I davened long and hard to get for months. While I excel working under pressure and never shy away from working hard, there are few expectations in my new job and I have very little actual work to do each day. I do not have a lot of interaction with other people and feel somewhat like I was sentenced to solitary confinement in a cubicle. I perform my work diligently and in a timely manner. I have been told that I am an excellent worker. I know from experience that if I ask my supervisor to take on additional responsibilities I will be tasked with such "fulfilling" work as organizing the file room.
So, here is my dilemma: Do I seek to move to another office where my stress level, working hours, and work-load will increase exponentially, or do I remain in my cubicle, professionally unfilled but with a myriad of brochas to be thankful for? Do I stay in this position until Hashem gives me a sign to move on? What would you do?
Chabakuk Elisha answers:
It depends (of course). It depends on a lot of things… Instead of addressing this specific case, I would just say that IMHO, this is the way I'd go about the decision:
Ideally, if possible, we should spend our time learning Torah and being a better Jew to the best of our ability. Therefore, the goal is to find a job that pays well enough to support our family properly and leave us more time that we use in Torah, Tefiloh and general improvement in Yiddishkeit. If we find such an opportunity, we grab it; if there is a job that will detract from those things, we are best off thinking about what that will mean as far as our mission on this world.
Now, I'm not an ambitions guy at all (nothing to be proud of), so it's easy for me to say. Most of the time, I wait for a sign (which may simply be laziness on my part). A more ambitious fellow might need to find more fulfillment from his job or career, and therefore he would probably climb the ladder to better and better opportunities, while a less ambitions guy might be happier with an easier, more laid back, job. In either case, I think, the issue – as far as what the right answer is – comes down to a couple simple things (in no particular order):
1. Are you fulfilling your responsibilities (short-term / long-term)
2. What are you doing with your "other" time
3. How does it affect your purpose for existence
4. What are the motives for staying / seeking-to-move-on and are they positive ones
And this is the main one:
5. What does your wife say?
A Simple Jew responds:
1. Yes, to the best of my abilities.
2. My other time is split between my familial responsibilities, avodas Hashem, and running on the treadmill for exercise. [one can argue though that this should all be considered avodas Hashem] I don't watch TV or go to movies so very little of my "free time" could be considered a waste of time.
3. Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs states that the number one need is "self actualization". Self-actualization is defined as "the instinctual need of humans to make the most of their abilities and to strive to be the best they can." As I sit within the confines of my cubicle I can't honestly say that I am "self-actualized'.
4. My motives for staying are basically that I am lazy and it is easier to do nothing. My motives for wanting to move relate to my answer for #3.
5. My wife thinks Hashem gave me a huge brocha with this job and wonders why I would want anything else.
Chabakuk Elisha responds:
1. Ok, but would you fill your responsibilities any less if you stay where you are? Would you fulfill them more if you were to move on?
2. Would you have less time for those things if you move on? Would your family, your learning, davening or avoda pay a price? Would it be likely improve?
3. Do you find that this is affecting you? If so, in what areas and is it significantly so?
Personally, I think that our wives usually know best ;-)