Friday, August 19, 2011

More Lessons from our Dogs

I often joke with people that our border collies are the best employees a sheep rancher could have - they always show up on time, I never have to bail them out of jail on Saturday morning, and the workers comp is reasonable since I'm married to a vet!  I told this story to someone at Sierra College today, and he remarked, "It's a pretty good deal for your dog, too!"

This made me think.  Our work is a pretty good deal for our dogs - our border collies live to work.  Taff will sulk if I don't take him with me.  Ernie becomes very serious if he thinks he's going to get to work the sheep.  Mo is usually happy, but he's happiest when there are sheep or cows to move.

Working border collies live to work - they absolutely love what they do.  How many of us can say the same thing about our work?  Many of us take jobs simply because we need the money.  We work all week to earn enough money for basic living expenses.  My dogs live by the basic principle that their instincts and inclinations require them to do the job that they were evolved/trained to do.

I've long been intrigued by the idea of finding my avocation - the work that suits my temperament, skills and abilities.  I think that raising sheep is my avocation, and in this sense, I'm much like my dogs - I'm doing what I love to do.  For many of us, economic realities interfere with this concept of avocation.  We sacrifice happiness in exchange for a paycheck.  In my case, I've sacrificed a paycheck for my happiness.  Hopefully the economics of my avocation will improve!

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