“It must be nice to do what you want to do.” Her condescending tone gave away her belief about the meaning of work.
I had just left a full-time position and was seeking a part-time opportunity to free up more time to pursue work I’d always dreamed of. The recruiter had a difficult time understanding my reasoning.
She’s not the only one. I’ve certainly endured my fair share of criticism and eye rolls since leaving a “perfectly good job.”
After all, it’s work. Work isn’t supposed to be fun. Go to work at a job you hate, complain like everyone else, and never seek a better alternative. One day you’ll retire and be happy then. It’s selfish to pursue meaningful work. At least, that’s what some would have us believe.
What if, however, it’s actually selfish not to pursue fulfilling work? Could we even be doing a disservice to ourselves and others by tolerating work we don’t believe in?
3 Reasons to Pursue Fulfilling Work
When we view our career as much more than a paycheck, we recognize how important it is to perform meaningful work.
1. Our time here is limited. Spending our precious hours on hollow work instead of investing that time is no way to live. Wouldn’t you rather invest as much time as possible doing work you enjoy?
2. We should work in an area where we can make our greatest contribution. When we don’t enjoy our work, we’re incapable of performing at our highest level. We know it. Co-workers know it. Our employer knows it. By staying in a position we dislike, we merely take up space.
3. If we have something of value to offer, we must share it. If we have a product, service, or information that could help others and we keep it to ourselves, we help no one. Each of us is uniquely gifted. We count on each other; therefore, we have a responsibility to share our best work.
Before meeting with the recruiter, I found myself in a job that drained the life out of me. Perhaps for others it would have been the perfect position. For me, it felt like a massive waste of time because it wasn’t aligned with the vision I had for my life.
Don’t get me wrong. I was thankful to have a salary and great benefits that met our family’s needs. It just was not what I wanted to do. I longed for more and yearned for fulfillment.
The poem below was created one fall morning at a significant low point. I decided to skip the interstate and head in to the city on an alternate route. The narrow, curvy road winds alongside a beautiful creek and offered the perfect backdrop to think.
Carter’s Creek Morning
Autumn leaves scrape my windshield.
They say a front’s moving in.
Anxious geese take Southern flight
While nature sheds her skin.
Those winds of change gust through me
As a dormant longing stirs.
What I tried hard to silence
Doesn’t shout but still whispers.
Empty work stole last night’s dreams.
Time ticks it’s dreadful warning.
Can’t bear 65 today,
It’s a Carter’s Creek morning.
The road, my old friend, calls
In a voice familiar to my soul
Reminding me once again
The wheel is in my control.
Majestic trees grow skyward.
Water ever flows downstream.
Deer run wild, hawks soar on high.
The innate pull reigns supreme.
Sure seems of all creation
Only humans compromise,
Park calling out of the way
And choose to rationalize.
Security’s lure snares and
We concede and go astray.
That yearning we may quiet
But it never dies away.
Still the road, our old friend, calls
In a voice familiar to the soul
Reminding us yet again
The wheel is in our control.
We were not created to
Merely shrink, settle or hide,
But to honor our gifts and
Make count this one precious ride.
Singly we’re part of the whole
Each contribution matters.
We offer our uniqueness
Else a sacred plan shatters.
If we ditch the jammed freeway
And choose our own route true north,
We’ll risk some hairpin turns but
Find it leads the best way forth.
The road, our old friend, calls to
Fill and satisfy the soul
As we serve the world’s needs with
The one wheel in our control.
What contribution are you longing to make?