Work – the binding factor in our society
Do you know that feeling of not wanting to go to work and that you perceive work as a burden as you do not feel any purpose to it other than to make money?
And if this is true for you, do you then loathe the idea that you have to go to work every day and do the same tasks over and over again, day after day, week after week, year after year?
This sounds tiresome indeed, but only when you limit work to be something you have to do – to the physical tasks and the repetitiveness of it, not allowing yourself to see or even imagine the bigger picture on work; that work in fact is the binding factor in our society.
What if the farmers, the postmen, the plumbers and mechanics, the office workers and the people working in the supermarket, at the railway stations, the airports, in factories and the truck drivers for example, decided not go to work today; how would our society then look?
If you perceive work as a burden you may be longing for the end of your working day, the day off, the weekend, the holiday and finally retirement. Not only does this way of being affect the quality of work you deliver, it also takes its toll on your personal wellbeing and physical health.
We have to come to the understanding that our bodies are actually designed to work. The body needs to work regularly to stay healthy and sound. The way we are with work will be reflected to us in our body. Not living to our potential will eventually lead to ailments and disease if we constantly hold back that natural life force, and with that keep the lid on expressing through our work that which so naturally lives within.
There is a bigger picture to look at as we are all invaluable parts of the whole and in that, all our contributions matter and are needed to make life work.
Imagine if we all loved work because we feel there is a purpose to it – the purpose of bringing that unique part of us that is so needed to make the world a better place for us all.
How would the world and our lives then look if we bring purpose to our work: the purpose to work in harmony with our colleagues, to make the company we work for a healthy business to work in, to make work a flow and an ease and to provide products that serve people to live richer lives with respect to human values? I know this is a truth to me but also see that in general our societies are not always open to this.
Could it be that how we have organised work, which, in general, is led commercially and not with a focus on people, is leading to the extremes that we can read in the newspapers today about greed, corruption, bullying, slavery in the workforce, underpayment of employees, mass dismissal of employees, closing of business units only for commercial reasons, moving production to low cost countries and so on? All this does not contribute to the true meaning of work, or is about what work actually means for our societies and the wellbeing of people.
When you choose to withdraw yourself from work because you may perceive it simply as a way to make money, not only do you turn your back on your colleagues, you turn your back on the whole of society and ultimately on yourself, all from not appreciating in full what can be accomplished through work. When you do not withdraw but instead bring all of you to work, there is no space anymore for all the outrageous behaviours that are played out in our workplaces: we do not accept these behaviours anymore, and with that, we activate the change from the inside out.
We need work, as that is the binding factor that makes our societies work and in that provide a place where we can prosper and grow in our learning of how human life can be. There is a responsibility in each of us to see work as much more than just making money, and this we can no longer ignore.
For instance, the costs involved in employee disengagement at work are undermining any possibility for businesses to prosper and become truly successful. The Gallup studies state that only 30% of American workers are engaged. Of the 70% disengaged workers, 18% (18 million) were found to be actively disengaged, which means they are actually working against their employer’s interest. Gallup estimated that this group of 18% of actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. $450 to $550 billion in lost productivity per year. And this is only for one country. Imagine what this figure would look like if we considered all the countries in the world.
The answers to these alarming figures has been for companies to change the way they manage their employees and many programs have been put in place for this. While these programs do support businesses enormously to improve their profitability on an individual basis, the overall disengagement figures do actually not change significantly despite all of the effort and money that is being put in. Could this mean that there is something else we have overlooked?
Although we can argue about the actual costs that are involved in employees being disengaged at work, the study indicates clearly that there is a cost to employee disengagement that means we all have to carry the burden that it brings to our society. Without work, everything would fall apart as we have built and organised our communities in such a way that we are interdependent on the work we do for one another. The work we perform is in service of the people in our communities, and this is an equally important aspect of work, as much as earning money to buy food, or pay our mortgages and bills.
Our bodies are designed to work and we love to be in service for one another, so what is going on – why are we not engaged with work?
We have to ask ourselves the question, because although being disengaged with work is common in our societies, it in fact is not a truth. When for instance you see a child being involved in helping with household chores, you see that they feel a purpose to it more than just playing. The child is helping the small community of the family they are part of and that is a purpose that is very valuable and understood, and what you can clearly see is delight in their face. Maybe you too have a memory of being like that when you were young… being fulfilled by the fact that your contribution was helping other people.
Why have we lost this natural joy we had as a child, and are we in a situation where many are disengaged from work through not feeling they have any purpose to work other than earning money?
There is a different way of being that we can bring to work; a way of living life that brings joy and fulfilment to it, no matter the type of job or task that is at hand. In this way of working we would not allow any corruption or greed whatsoever in our workplaces, and would speak up, individually or collectively, when something doesn’t feel right.
Given we consider work to be an undeniable and much needed part of our lives, we can choose to be with it in another way so that we do not feel it as a burden but instead appreciate work as being the binding factor in our lives. This understanding could make it possible for you to sense that you actually love your work with your whole being.