Scribbled in the margin: juggling the 4 crystal balls of life

Job prospects don’t look good for Americans. Surprise, Surprise. As a journalist, I’m extremely concerned about where I’m going to end up next, especially when I keep hearing about newspapers downsizing and the unemployment rate is just at over 10% in 7 states, according to Bloomberg Media.

I couldn’t help but think today of an address given by Tamil poet Vairamuthu at a hospital’s anniversary celebration yesterday. He said, in life, we have to balance 4 balls: health, family, friends, and work. One of balls is made of rubber, and the other three are crystal. The three crystal ones, we cannot afford to drop, but the rubber one is one we can live without, he said. Take a moment to think of your priorities in life, and try to guess which one he said is drop-able.

I’ll give you a hint: it’s none of the first three.

His point was that we often sacrifice our own health for our jobs and such, a valid point to make at the anniversary celebration of an eye hospital. But as a twenty-something year old just out of college in a world where it seems all economies (and by that I mean, American) are crumbling in front of my eyes, it’s really hard for me to accept that the ball labeled “work” is made of rubber. I mean, how can we possibly ensure the security of the other three without a job? I have to disagree. A job means money, and with money we can take care of our families, our friends, our health. That’s not to say that I value money more than the other three. In fact, it’s for the other three that the fourth, work, becomes so necessary.

Plus, in an ideal world, its all well and good to be talking about how it’s only family, health and friendships that make a life worth living. Of course these are important to me. But let’s be practical–“work” cannot be dismissed as the rubber ball. And hey, without work to stress us, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy the pleasures that family and friends give us when we get time off.

Especially in today’s job market, I feel like if I were tossed the “work” ball, I’d catch it and hold on to it for dear life.

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