Another day, another donut

Work is on my mind. It keeps circling and surfacing, diving deep, getting mired, then bobbing up like the bloated drowning victim on the PBS detective series... Okay, maybe not bloated, but recurring.

I leave my job duties most days at the office, but the concept of work follows through waking and sleeping hours. Dreams of my first job, my worst job, my most inadequate moments as a classroom teacher take on an Escher repetition.

Jobs are not the same as work. I've never had a career, but I suspect a career is not the same as  a job. "Career" hints at a commitment to a profession and a reserved parking space. A "job" may or may not have the same type of commitment, and rarely rates the parking space. Over the years I've met some impressive people with enormous commitment to work that is often unpleasant, but who do it with grace and dignity. 

Facebook is full of photos of moms this week, and mothers deserves respect and gratitude. Parents aren't the only people out there changing diapers. I'm overwhelmed again at the excellent, patient, gracious care my father received in his dementia and decline.  The big-spirited woman with the sense of humor and personality plus who managed angry, bedridden Dad when he removed his soiled Depends and threw it across the room at the Clock of Vicious Time was working for more than a paycheck.

Way back just after the dinosaurs died out I read Studs Terkel's book Working for a Centennial College project. Decades later I come back to the quote, "Jobs are not big enough for people."

“Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying.” 

“I think most of us are looking for a calling, not a job. Most of us, like the assembly-line worker, have jobs that are too small for our spirit. Jobs are not big enough for people.” 
― Studs TerkelWorking: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do

I'm stewing on bullying and disrespect in the workplace after last week's racial profiling session, not just police officer to citizen, or boss to peon, but also between coworkers. Some people just never seem to get beyond middle school in their behavior!

In the Centennial College "Work Project" we discussed Protestant work ethic along with calling and vocation.  How do you think the idea and practice of a work ethic changed from the Greatest Generation through the Baby Boomers, and now the Millennials?

Cataloged Callings by Dave Isay today. It's subtitled "The purpose and passion of work".   Adding it to my must-read list along with David Shipler's Working Poor.


Tonight I'm saluting the work ethic of a young man with a passion for airplanes and a commitment to doing 100% at every single task. I am so proud of the person he's become.

© 2013-2016 Nancy L. Ruder

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