Do I Need To Go back

Dear Rabbi and Susan,

Like so many others these days, I have a job that I can do mostly from home – I’m a software engineer. It’s great for my family. I can take the kids to school in the morning and on many days my wife and I even get to have breakfast or lunch together. But – I am finding it harder and harder to sit down and work each morning. There is always one more thing to do and no one is noticing when I actually get to my desk.

I’m almost afraid to ask this, but do I need to go back to the office?


Chris M.

Dear Chris,

Welcome to the real world. Everywhere we turn we face a challenge. This is a good thing as it means that we are alive and have the chance to grow. Confronting our challenges and joyfully overcoming them is the credo of the Happy Warrior.

You may have heard us talk about our 5F principles; integrating our families, faith, fitness, finances, and friends. Your work situation is letting you move easily between finance and family. Our recommendation is to add in three more Fs to your morning.

We don’t know if you are a person of faith. If you are, make sure to take time to pray in the morning, including asking God to bless your work and let you be of use to others with what you do. Be sure to enumerate the good things in your life generally, and add in specifics from the past twenty-four hours as you express gratitude. If you are not a person of religious faith, take the same time and meditate. Train your mind to focus on the many aspects of your life for which you can feel gratitude. Gratitude is the portal to optimism so whether you pray or meditate on matters for which you feel appreciation, you will emerge from that quarter of an hour with renewed optimism, which is a wonderful asset with which to start your day.

Second, we would like to draw your attention to the F of fitness. We advise a period of exercise. We don’t know whether it should be aerobic, cardio, or strength training. But we do know that it must be a challenging workout. If some days you can take that time outdoors surrounded by nature, all the better. If you master your body and exert discipline each morning, you will more easily overcome all the other challenges confronting you through your work day.

Deadlines and sticking to them punctually convert a daydream into achievement. Consider appointing a friend who has a similar work-at-home lifestyle as your punctuality partner. You could agree to make your first order of business as soon as you sit down at your desk or workstation, a quick phone conversation to confirm that you are both at work. (If you can exercise together, all the better.)

Lastly, we don’t know if there is still an office to go to. But, maintaining good relationships with co-workers and with those in the tiers above and below you at work is a very good idea. If feasible, we recommend that you go into the office once or twice a week even if it isn’t required. Strengthening the finance-friendship crosslink will yield results and is well worth the effort.

Let us know how it goes,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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The Art of Making Challah

Purim, the Feast of Esther, is approaching. It is a time of joy, celebration, and sharing a meal with friends and family. What a great time of year to up your baking skills and learn how to bake the traditional Sabbath and holiday bread known as Challah! Join Susan Lapin and have some fun as she walks you through each step of the process in this video tutorial (including her favorite recipe).

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