The Meaning of Work
- Work consumes most of one’s life.
- We often define ourselves in terms of what we do.
- We often derive our meaning, self-worth and life satisfaction from work.
- The work place has become a home and a community.
- Work means more than income.
- Need to become conscious of our responsibility in the work setting.
- Without a sense of meaning and purpose, we will be hitting a wall of fog.
- It is difficult to be happy and productive workers without a sense of meaning and purpose.
Debunking the myths about the meaning of work
- Meaning comes from “the person’s work as a contribution to society, and not to the actual occupation as such” (p.118)
- The work itself does not create meaning; it only gives people the opportunity to do so.
- What counts is not the work, but the manner in which one does the work, and being oneself to the work.
- “The medical profession provides a framework through the doctor’s personal exercise of professional skill.” (p.119)
- What we bring to the work is more important than the work itself.
- What occupation we do is less important that the attitudes and motivations we bring to the work.
Sources of meaning at work
- Meeting the higher human needs.
- Bringing one’s personality and character to work (uniqueness).
- Feeling good to be part of the mission of the organization (belonging & experiential value).
- Making a useful contribution to the organization and society (significance & creative values).
- Feeling good about the quality and the worth of one’s work (creative values).
- Being responsible to the demands of the work situation (responsibility).
- Fulfilling one’s life goals and missions (purpose).
- Experiencing the state of “flow” (experiential value).
- Validation from others.
- Taking a stand for one’s convictions and beliefs (attitudinal values).
Hindrances to meaning of work
- Wrong kind of occupation
- Assembly line
- Drudgery or sweatshop
- Abuse and exploitation
- Unfair treatment
- Lack of recognition and appreciation
- Being ignored or ostracized
- Too much pressure
- Too much crap and toxin
- Inability to get into the state of “flow”
- Lack of success
Helping people cope with failure
- Perceived failure can be very demoralizing
- Competitive pressures are increasing
- Lack of results can mean bankruptcy or unemployment
- Blaming and rationalization do not help
- “Believe it and claim it” may be harmful
- What can we learn from “The Secret” and the law of attraction
- Recognize that failure is both necessary and beneficial
- Learn to fail or fail to learn
- Practice the PURE model
Overcoming external obstacles & achieving success
- Understand the causes of failure
- Remove all known hindrances
- Repair the weakest link
- Set clear goals and objectives for success
- Develop the right plan of action
- Execute the right strategies
- Evaluate and adjust your actions
- Create conditions for success
- Create one’s own games
- Get around obstacles
Overcoming internal obstacles & achieving success
- We are often paralyzed by self-doubts and fears
- Don’t be your own worst enemy!
- Beware of self-fulfilling prophecies!
- Understand and resolve your personal issues (victim mentality, inferiority complex, etc.)
- Resolve your problems of denial, avoidance & self-defeating strategies
- Work through your doubts, fears and anxieties
- Capitalize your signature strengths and virtues
- Discover and re-affirm your calling and purpose
- Develop the right action plan for self-improvement
- Devise a right plan to develop your self-esteem
- Evaluate regularly to make sure that you are making progress
The six pillars of self-esteem (N. Branden):
It takes daily practice to repair and develop self-esteem.
- Practice of living consciously (being mindful and aware)
- Practice of self-acceptance (living with one’s limitations)
- Practice of self-responsibility (living responsibly and conscientiously)
- Practice of self-assertion (being authentic and courageous)
- Practice of living purposefully (living with a higher purpose)
- Practice of personal integrity (living with dignity, integrity and self-respect)
The magic wheel of faith (P. Wong):
The five spiritual practices for moving forward psychologically, spiritually, academically and professionally
- Practice of belief (affirm your beliefs and values to counteract your doubts and fears)
- Practice of prayer (pray all kinds of prayers continuously)
- Practice of endurance (persevere through failures and difficulties)
- Practice of acceptance (surrender yourself to God and accept whatever life throws at you)
- Practice of praise (express gratitude and thanksgiving for who God is and for all His blessings regardless of your circumstances)
Psychological problems of life without work
- Unemployment, retirement, the idle rich and chronic sickness can create psychological problems, such as boredom and meaninglessness
- Lack of challenge and purpose
- Loss of self-esteem
- Frustration, discouragement, depression and anger
- Marriage problems
- Mental and physical health problems
Coping with unemployment
- Don’t be a victim
- Not fate but choice
- Be a volunteer and seek opportunities of service
- Improve yourself and make yourself more marketable
- Seek career counselling & job retraining
- A paid job is not essential to meaning
- Don’t equate calling with employment
- Cannot use work as a escape from meaninglessness
- Take on several part-time jobs
- Make use of the time to create content for your life
“The certainty of death terrifies only the person who has a guilty conscience towards his life. Death making the end of a lifetime can frighten only the person who has not lived his lifetime to the full” (p.130)