I’ve been catching up on my magazine reading lately and just got around to reading an article on writing that touches on work. The article’s focus is on how writers don’t pay enough attention to the work that their characters do.
“(Y)our way of seeing the world bends around your work.”
So much affects the way that we see the world and we do spend quite a few waking hours per week at work. The type of work that you do, your place in the hierarchy of the organization, the type of organization are all part of your world view.
We work, toil, have a job. Whether we do it because we love it, because we understand the import of participating in the economy, or we just put up with it, we work.
When we think of the word vocation either religious work comes to mind or blue collar training and jobs but the definition of the word includes any business or profession which is seen as a calling. All honest work is a worthwhile vocation.
As Americans, we often seem to treat those in the corner office as the only ones with worthwhile work. We need to rethink this idea. Each person in an organization plays a vital part in the success of the business.
I can think of so many examples of people that I have encountered who had pride in their work, an inner sense that they were doing something meaningful – regardless of where I have encountered them. There is no pattern to the type of work that each of these people do, their level, or certainly their potential compensation – the pattern is their sense of purpose, of a vocation.
When I used to work at the circulation desk of a library, during college, I took it as a personal challenge to see how far I could help someone before handing them over to one of the reference librarians. The librarians found my determination amusing and encouraged me.
While in Italy I realized that most of the waiters there see their efforts as a vocation to provide service and food, not just a job to hold while waiting for something better. Not to say that I haven’t encountered good servers here in the U.S. as well – but most of them seemed to be good because they truly enjoyed the customer interaction.
You may not have picked your current job if your opportunities had been unlimited, but you do have control over your ability to make it a vocation. What little changes can you make to give yourself that sense of pride, of a personal mission that will affect your world view?
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