Just the other day, a friend sent along an email (yes, I get emails from friends fairly often and freakishly often enjoy what is sent – I take it that my friends know me very, very well) with an article about how to make each day better through the simple act of being grateful. So today, I shall tell you something that might seem a little shocking (especially for those of you who know what I do) – I am very, very grateful that my job lets me make and create things.

Granted, I’m not making and creating the things I want to make and create (a post on that later perhaps), but it’s still a function that lets me use my brain to make things better – albeit for big business and fortune 500 companies. Still, there’s a sense of accomplishment knowing that what you do in the day-to-day (grind) contributes to making things faster, making things better, building your client’s capabilities and making the company money.

Yes, money. Making it, preferably lots of it. Granted, I’m making it for other people and it rarely ever channels down into my own paycheck… but in essence my job lets me be on the business side of things. I really love being on the business side of things – I love being a part of the big ideas (even if I’m not the one dreaming them up).

For me, there would be nothing sadder than finding myself, 20 years down the road, as part of the bureaucracy – where your soul function is to control the creation and execution of things by increasing the amount of paperwork, instituting unnecessary layers of approval, and enforcing low-level rules that make the work slower, more tedious, and more difficult. I liken it to the people sitting in the booth at US Customs and Border control – endlessly stamping passports and being particularly difficult to weary travelers – except with less of a cause to do so because you’re not fighting terrorism, you’re creating busy work* because you’re not creating business.

I am terrified of busy work. I am terrified by the prospect of one day ending up behind a desk being busy because I can no longer bring in business, needing to justify my existence through additional paperwork and approvals and endless, endless emails… And I hate the idea that I would be hated for it.

Just the thought has me shuddering in my seat, and is enough of a reason to make me exceedingly grateful that everyday I can come into work and make things better.

The lesson here?

Make things –even if you’re not making what you want right now (that will come in time, I’m sure). Because the world needs makers, doers, and thinkers, and our system (especially the one in Singapore) needs entrepreneurs, idealists and yes, politicians (and not the garden variety we’re used to).

Build a business, build a brand, make, create and innovate.

*I just discovered the term “busy work” (don’t you love the internet) while looking for a word to encompass everything I was thinking of —it is a term for work or assignments that are time consuming, but not useful. It is typically used to refer to schoolwork which is time consuming for students but not educationally valuable, but can also refer to procedures or paperwork in a bureaucracy which is unnecessary….

Which I think was the other point of this entire post – be valuable. Make sure what you’re making is of value. Regardless of where you are, it’s likely to be appreciated, and even if it isn’t it’s of value to you.