I recently learned that, as part of a larger corporate overhaul, the Help Center I write will be abandoned within a few years. I found this out when my boss mentioned it in passing in an unrelated meeting. He didn’t even realize that he’d inadvertently delivered a perfect gut punch straight to my solar plexus.
Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time asking: Why am I doing this? What’s the point, if we’re going to throw it away in a year, or two, or five? I want my work to mean something. What does it mean if it’s discarded as unneeded baggage so soon?
A colleague helpfully reminded me that everything in software has a short lifespan. Five years is like an eon in software time. That’s true. And he reminded me that until then, my work does mean something: People will continue reading my Help Center articles and sending me grouchy “thumbs down/This article was NOT what I was looking for” feedback. I can make a difference to those people between now and whenever we draw the curtain on my Help Center.
This reminded me that I’m not the first person to feel this way. The writer of Ecclesiastes put it perfectly:
But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.Ecclesiastes 3:9-13
Okay, then. I’ll make the most out of it: I’ll keep doing the best I can each day, and when my day ends, I’ll walk away knowing I couldn’t have done better.
And I won’t waste all my time working or worrying about work, either. Meaning in life doesn’t come from my job, no matter how many people in our society say it does. I want to “get the most I can out of life” by spending my time wisely — on people I care about, not some ephemeral job that will eventually throw my work in the garbage.