It’s Labor Day here in the US, a holiday when we remember those who have fought to create a work environment where people can earn a fair living for doing fair work. Ironic, I suppose, that we celebrate work by … taking the day off.
It’s bittersweet for those millions of people who are unemployed or underemployed, who are unconvinced of that this is the Great Land Of Opportunity that we once thought.
It’s important to realize that there’s different ways to look at work. Many people think of their job as the necessary stuff they have to do in order to have a life. Others have a broader view, seeing their work as a way to BE their life. And of course, those workaholics just take it to the extreme, getting so involved in their work that they really don’t do anything else.
In fact, that workaholism model can work quite well for some people. Despite pressure from older generations, some people are so engaged in their work that they’re just fine treating it as the end in itself. People in religious vocations sometimes fit this model.
And if you want to treat your job as a necessary evil, go ahead. Realize that what you’re doing, though, is spending 40+ hours a week in misery, developing a bad attitude, and infecting those around you.
For me, I prefer finding value through my work. For ten years I was able to explore business and career coaching while I was working for a large employer, because I worked hard to gain the support of every boss and deliver value for the company. Even before that, though, I was constantly looking to expand my contribution, to affect more people, to help the company grow and prosper.
It ended up being a career of 31 years in that company, which isn’t bad by any measure. When the economy finally caught up with me and I got laid off, I could remember a deep sense of satisfaction for what I was able to do over the decades, and what the company gave me in return. I had a chance to work with some truly great people.
That doesn’t make work EASY, by the way. Work can still be hard and frustrating even when you’re getting great value. Rather like having a family, actually: Sometimes they’ll drive you nuts, but overall you wouldn’t trade them for the world.
That’s the attitude we should be nurturing and celebrating on this Labor Day!
|Carl Dierschow is a Certified Small Fish Business Coach and author of the career management guide, Mondays Stink! 23 Secrets to Rediscover Delight and Fulfillment in Your Work. He is a career coach for those going through interesting transitions, and works with small business owners who need to create breakthroughs in achieving their business goals. Find out more at www.Dierschow.com and www.SmallFish.us.
If you are interested in individual career coaching, group coaching, or other resources which might help you with difficult choices, please contact Carl at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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