Thursday, November 4, 2010

Self-Actualization: At Work And At Play

I, like countless other people, hate my job. I abhor it. A lot of my hatred for my job stems not only from being overworked and underpaid, but comes from the fact that I can almost feel any intelligent thoughts that were in my head prior to work melting out from my brain and dripping into an abyss where I will never again find my thoughts. I work at Walmart as a supervisor, but there is a single aspect of my job that I find challenging, and when there is no psychological challenge, there is no psychological reward.
Maslow's definition of self-actualization states that everyone has a need to "fulfill and utilize abilities and talents". There is no way I can achieve this working at Walmart, or working in any field in which there is no struggle. At least this is how I would define self-actualization in terms of the workplace; if I am confronted with challenges, overcome them and learn from them to better myself, I feel as though I would begin to experience self-actualization at work. This is precisely why I am going to school, so one day I will have a job I can thrive in, and have a career I am proud of. There is no pride, challenge, or reward in where I work now. In fact, often times I feel like Peter Gibbons in the movie "Office Space".
However, my hobby is music, and I love playing guitar. I play with a couple bands and whenever I play a show, no matter where or for how long, I am elated. Through playing music, I not only use my abilities and talents to their fullest potential, but through doing so I get to perform and interact with other people using their talents as well. Playing music virtually my whole life has developed my skills enough to the point where I feel comfortable playing almost any style with any group of people. I'm not nervous or afraid, and I try to be ready for just about anything. When I'm playing, I feel I have achieved self-actualization, because at that point, I am using my talents to the fullest.