Every day you go to work and change stuff: you pound or ratchet or type or speak or listen or direct. Your try to move a product or process or people forward. And every day your work changes you.
We work to live. And we live to work. That’s true for all of us (vs. just the workaholics). We live to work the work we were meant for. Sometimes we’re paid to toil at that work every day. Sometimes we attend our life work after the daily shift. Happy is the man or woman who fits together their life work and daily work—even if only for fleeting moments.
Daily work shapes us. There’s the people: Bosses and companies who spend themselves seeking keys to motivate employees and then rewarding them at every turn. Then there are bosses and companies that reward selfish ambition and turn kind people into bastards. I’ve worked for both. We need to know who we want to become because our environment (including the people we hang with) always rubs off on us. And vice versa.
Then there’s the work itself: creative work that demands insight and penetrating perspectives—and builds those qualities into the worker as the worker applies him or herself. Relational work that builds compassion, patience and wisdom even as the worker feels the very lack of each quality. Or repetitious work that may bore, but can allow thoughts to wander in productive ways even while attending the details. And there is the work the worker cannot stand that brings death and loathing with each moment spent.Maybe we should pick jobs that accomplish the financial goal as best as possible, but have a component that lets us grow. That kind of work is worth praying for—which is possibly the most productive work we can engage in.
“The work itself will teach you how to do it.”–Estonian Proverb