Making Sense of Work

To work is something that all human beings in the world do, whether paid or unpaid. Every one of us helps the collective to improve our economic, physical and emotional well being in our lives.

We work with the purpose of earning resources to advance in our lives, that is, someone values and recognizes our work so we benefit from that relationship. As a result, we gain a salary and/or receive some kind of benefit thus we are able to take care of our needs.

Up until here the story is clear, or is it?

Today, there are many people in the world who feel underpaid and undervalued in their current job, they also feel that whatever they give for free has no relevance at all, they also see many services are insufficient, education has gotten extremely expensive and sometimes unreachable, plus they see the income gap has been widen.

On the other hand, today we have access to tons of information, communication has improved tremendously, we are offered everything from everywhere, meanwhile more than 80% of workers around the world are unsatisfied with what they are doing.

Then, what are we doing with our lives? What is the job that makes sense to us? How do we make our job have value for others and ourselves? What do we have to do to be satisfied with our jobs?

Given that every one of us has a particular situation and these questions have no unique answer, some alternatives to these inquires are:

  • I want to have a better salary

  • I want to have a salary

  • I want to be acknowledge for the work I do

  • I want to know if my work is contributing to something

  • I feel misuse in my work

  • I want to be heard at my work

  • I want my job to give freedom

Despite all of these, there is something that we all have in common and it is: we all want to make sense of our work.

In order to do this, we have to know what makes sense in our lives. I believe that is an answer that varies from person to person and has alternatives hard to compare.

In part, this has to do with the deficiencies of the education we received, both academically and the one we received at home. With this I mean, that we were trained in a system in which the answers were more important than the questions, and asking ourselves questions that had no clear answers was not an option.

Wondering about important questions that would have connected us with the meaning of life and work was the subject of the conversations that we probably we did not have, then those topics became distant and did not reach us so we could be enthusiastic about them.

And then, we grew up, we become adults and we faced the fact that we need to make sense of our work. We face life today with expectations (own and external) that sometimes make us think that love, contribution, self-realization, personal improvement, and others do not have value.

We have focused on the value of our work in terms of money, power, control, etc. and we do not realize that the true sense of our work was related to the question that we did not hold.

I don’t know if today we can solve this ourselves, what I am sure of is that if you have someone young, a child, or a baby close to us, then we can give him or her the opportunity to have this big question in his or her life.

Give yourself the time and help them dream, tell them that magic is real and it is close to them, tell them that to live life is to be present with the pains and rewards they have today, with the laughter and tears they are having today, with the people who are close to them and others who are far away from them.

Tell them that life doesn’t have answers or solutions; life can only be lived.

Tell them that what is important in life is what is important in life, and to love those important things will be a job that will take all their lives.

The Way We Think About Work Is Broken - Barry Schwartz - TedTalks

© 2017 by Ivonne Garrido, Personal Coach, ACC.