What’s another word for work?

But seriously, what’s another word for work? I’m genuinely looking for help here.

I’ve “worked” as a consultant and an engineer, with hurried deadlines and stressed bosses and incessant client emails. I’ve done home“work” for classes I had no interest in ever applying. I’ve “worked” on self-improvements that I knew were necessary, even if I didn’t particularly want to be nice to every stranger I met. If I’m guessing right, so have you.

Last weekend I went to a cabin with some friends, but had “work” to do. We arrived Thursday and I “worked” for a few hours while the rest of the party arrived, then “worked” for most of Friday to catch up on a relatively new project. Even after a night of debauchery, I woke up early on Saturday and went to the coffee shop, solo, for a few hours of “work” before meeting everyone for lunch.

When I got back, my friends tried to console me. They said things like “sucks you had to get up early” and “deadlines, huh?” Actually, no, and no. I wanted to go; I chose to.

To do what, you may ask? To read something that will expand my own mind and abilities? To write some transcendent business plan that makes me and my friends lots of money? Or, to think through a deeply complicated problem that will drastically improve the world?

Nah, I banged my head against a wall trying to figure out how bootstrap v4 is different from bootstrap v3. One hundred percent of the time, it was frustrating. Not 99%, not 99.9%, but 100%. I’m not a good enough coder to appreciate the subtle differences, but a new project was using v4 instead of v3 so I had to dig in at some point. For the uninitiated coders out there, wrangling with bootstrap is like learning how to dribble a basketball — it’s a basic skill that you shouldn’t be struggling with in the first place.

I didn’t read, or paint, or any of these other words that imply artistry. I didn’t “love” what I was doing, it was thoroughly frustrating. Yet when I was done, I didn’t want or need any empathy, I was quite content. I had no deadline, and no one made me do anything.

I’m writing this to suggest we need a new word for this type of effort, one that still implies banging your head against a wall, but being happy about it afterwards, for no one’s sake but your own.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.