I'm not sure if she knows it, but I follow the blog of a friend of mine from URI. She is an extremely articulate woman, who I was lucky to have met through our mutual love and dedication to meeting the band Brand New. She posed a question at the end of her last blog post, and as I was writing in the comment section, I realized I had way more to say that was probably appropriate for a comment.
So first, check out her post so you can give a little context to mine!
In my opinion, there are 3 interwoven ingredients to facing challenges: a strong work ethic, the drive to succeed, and the desire to be better than average.
I find myself in a well-paying, but under-stimulating job. I am in the unique position of being a hard worker in a job where the work is not very hard. Some would see that as a blessing, but I see it as a very backwards challenge. The work ethic here is more of the "work harder, not smarter" variety. I see many of my co-workers napping or online shopping during the ample down-time during the work day. The work day is 8:40-5, and with the class periods finishing at 3:10, I find it rather absurd to be required to stay until 5. Most teachers at home finish their classes, stick around if they have extra work or after school duties, and then bounce home.
Here is a little more of a view into my Korean work day: I go to work
Here, you are given a lot of time to accomplish things, yet important tasks are not handed down until the very last minute. I know that my coworkers DO do work, but their work style is much more relaxed than North American style. When I worked for GTECH, my day was absolutely packed with work; and that is how I prefer my work time to be-- jammed with work and tasks. I have a pretty hearty fear of becoming lazy, so I would rather be overworked than under-worked.
So here is how I remedied the challenge: I found a legal (on my contract and visa, I am extremely limited in how I may make money) program to work for in addition to my regular job. I think I would be very unhappy if I had not found that second job. The job does cut into my free-time once a week, but it provides me with work during the work week. I would still have quite a bit of free time, but I try to stretch out my tasks a bit. This has turned me into a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to my PowerPoints and handouts. Also, now I always have a tv show on in the background, so my brain can float from super-serious focus over to light, dramatic fun. Keeps me on my toes.
So the bottom line, Amma, is that I 'bloom where I'm planted' by turning the not-so-Katiesuqe work environment into something I can deal with. I'm like a tension wire: I'm happiest and at my most efficient when I'm a little bit stressed out.
The advice I would give to anyone who is facing challenges, welcome or unwelcome, is spin the situation to fit your style. Know what works for you. If you have too much work: ask for help or delegate. If you don't have enough work: find a new project to work on. If your apartment sucks: don't complain about it; grab a friend, slap a coat of bright colored paint on that sucker and head to Ikea. Straw can be spun into gold if you work at it.