The Surprising Truth about Work
Updated: Oct 17, 2021
It's probably no surprise to anyone, anywhere that I think about work a lot.
But not just work itself. I think about "the nature of work" - what makes us feel purposeful and why we do it.
Now, believe it or not, I have a very practical bone in me about all of this. Even though I am a coach and get people in touch with their sense of purpose for my living, I don't necessarily think our "every day job" is always right at the center of all things purpose and fulfillment. (Of course, that's what we are hoping for and working toward most of the time. But I also recognize that there can be many competing priorities, seasons of life, or other dynamics which make that goal somewhat complex and nuanced.)
I was raised by a wedding cake maker, a factory worker and a medical coder. They weren't exactly looking out the window wondering about their purpose!
Sometimes (all the time!) "work" had everything to do with putting food on the table.
But I can tell you what else I observed about work.
No one cultivated a garden better than my grandfather. The time and energy he spent appreciating the outdoors was noteworthy. He knew how to dwell.
And my grandmother didn't just make wedding cakes. She made people feel confident throughout the whole process. She was an artist who understood that for the person on the other end of the "transaction" it wasn't a cake, but a memory.
And my mom wasn't just a medical coder. She created a circle of friends from the medical field that supported each for over 20 years. And over the years they raised thousands of dollars for charities by hosting an annual (HUGE) yard sale. She leveraged her work for community and connection.
I learned from them that work, is in fact, incredibly meaningful. When we work, we derive something important about who we are, and what we have to contribute to this world. It may take on many forms. But to consider how we contribute, how we find meaning, and how we find purpose; this is always an important part of what it means to be human. It's an important part of the work we need to do each day.