Over the weekend, one of the girls that I race against mentioned her fear that sticking to a more rigid training plan would make cycling like a job for her.
Many times this season, my training plan has been all that I had to hold onto. After three years of whining and hoping for quick fixes, I've finally made a real committment to something despite having no guarantee that it will get me the results I want. So far, I am seeing great results on my power meter and not so great on the race course. Nevertheless, I keep coming back every day and doing what my calendar say to do.
So it made me wonder if cycling was like a job for me. I decided that it depended on what definition of job I used.
First I thought that a job is something you would quit if you no longer had to do it. Well, yeah. Most people I know would quit their jobs in an instant if they won the lottery. That would be because their needs for food, shelter, clothing, etc. would be met and their job would no longer provide any function in their life.
So a job is something that you do to fulfill a need and that you might not do if that need were filled in some other way. According to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, my day job takes care of my Level 1 and 2 needs and my cycling "job" covers the Level 4 and 5 range. The thing is that there is no such thing as winning the self-actualization lottery, so I pretty much have to have a job to cover that one. Of course, I have several sources of "income" in that area, including some parts of my day job, but athletic pursuits seem to be my career preference.
This season is paying well in the Level 5 area, but not so much for the less mature Level 4. My Level 4 self wants to pout about everyone else being faster than me and say "take this job and shove it". The problem is that I don't actually quit because I don't have another "job" to replace it with, so I just do poorly at the task at hand. This is the fight I've been having with myself for three years and it's gotten me nowhere. That's why I've decided to focus on getting my Level 5 needs filled and see what happens.
Of course, everyone fills their needs differently, so I'm sure not everyone who follows a strict training plan feels the same way. Personally, I don't mind that cycling is a job for me, because the "bills" need to be paid somehow and I can think of worse ways to do it.