In the same way I crave salt, fat, and sugar I crave work. It can be attached to periods of time I haven’t been productive. Like a way of making up for vacation. Other times it’s the desire to move a project forward.
I even have cravings for physical work. I need to get outside, go to the gym, or work with my hands. As much as I appreciate the white collar work I could potentially do into my 70’s, I love having a tangible outcome from a day's work. Staring at a spreadsheet or filling out paperwork just doesn’t have the same satisfaction as stacking wood.
The downfall to this craving is the equally shiny distraction. Yes, things like television, but I’m talking about the difficult to identify distraction. Things like laundry, cleaning the bathroom, or even starting a new project rather than finishing the one in mid-progression.
Work is a reverse bell curve.
Starting a project provides a dopamine spike. Enough to motivate starting the project. Due to the nature of the project I need to take a break. It’s too big to finish in one sitting, I have to wait for the glue to dry, or I get stuck on a problem I can’t immediately solve. This slump is enough to end the project completely. Even with the craving it’s hard kickstart the motivation to finish. That second dopamine spike is a bitch, and it’s never quite as satisfying as I want it to be.
But the reason to complete a project, to get back to work is much bigger than the dopamine rush I get from starting. There is a deep fulfillment to completing projects. Looking back on what’s been done and knowing the work it took to get there. It’s the same fulfillment that creates nostalgia and reminiscing. Like years after the 50 mile hike and going out and to eat with the same group of guys to allow the stories to come flooding back.
When I crave work, that’s really what I’m craving.