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To Work Is To Serve

Recently, I did some reading on the notion of ‘work’ and came across these definitions: an activity involving mental or physical effort in order to achieve a purpose or result mental or physical activity as a means of earning an income. This got me thinking about the driver behind the need for the work in the first place. Fundamentally, work exists to serve others. Whether work provides a product or a service, there will be no work if others don’t need or buy the product or service that is end the result of the mental or physical effort one puts in. Some of the synonyms for ‘work’ put a wry smile on my face – toil, slog, drudgery. Sadly, that’s what work has become for most of us, though there are those out there who are turning it around by defining a humanly or environmentally good reason to be in business that serves two objectives: Our inherent need for meaning and purpose – a hard-wired desire to contribute to the greater good. The need to save ourselves from ourselves – to help the one in three people living in poverty and to try to resolve the global environmental disaster we are facing. The days of endlessly long hours, not getting enough sleep, feeling overloaded, overwhelmed, confused and stressed out for years on end must come to an end. Business has had a good run with us workers, to the point of ingraining a mind-numbing work ethic deep into our very being. Many business environments have encouraged and promoted ‘aggression’ – aggressive results, aggressive leadership, a FIFO (and I don’t... read more

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