It’s Labor Day weekend in the United States: A celebration of work and workers; an opportunity to honor labor; the chance to celebrate the fulfillment of our effort.
Or perhaps, more realistically, an escape from tedium; a long weekend away from the insanity of the office; with a beer… or two; and burgers and dogs on the grill.
Because, you see, nearly 80% of folks are unfulfilled in their work. (More than 90% among my lawyer colleagues.) Employee engagement worldwide, that is a worker’s investment in his or her employer’s vision and mission, stands at 13%, meaning 87% of folks couldn’t really give a damn about what their company is trying to achieve. (And, by the way, employers beware: engagement is correlated directly with your bottom line.)
Which is terrible: Because our work is the highest expression of who we are in the world. Our work is the opportunity to serve in the world; to share with the world those gifts and talents that are uniquely ours to share.
Our work takes up the majority of our waking hours. It takes us away from our homes and our families. It requires our attentions and focus; our blood, sweat and tears. And at the end of the day, if it is devoid of meaning, we are left empty and depleted and despairing.
“Isn’t work supposed to be a grind?” my young career-coaching client asked.
“No!” I yelled into the phone. “It’s not.”
It’s supposed to be rich and full and joyous. Not without stress or worry; not without effort. But filled with meaning and purpose and deep satisfaction.
Your work should be fun; your work should make you happy.
Steve Jobs said, “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something… .”
If you find yourself filled with dread on Sunday night, then what you’re doing isn’t working. If you’re not waking up most days excited and on fire about your work, then you need to do something different.
Because when you’re in the flow, when you lose track of time, when your Monday feels as awesome as your Friday… that’s when you know you have the work and life you love. You deserve that; the world deserves that.
Because your work should be a Labor of Love.
Happy Labor Day.