Reframing The Meaning Of Work

by Jay Deragon on 04/02/2013

workA job is what you are paid to do. Work is what you love to do and earn a living doing it.  The difference is being paid by someone to do what they want vs. earning something doing what you love to do.

What happens when someone wants to pay you to do what you love to do? The meaning of work then changes to an extension of your natural talents and instead of labor there is joy. The meaning of a job can sometimes simply leave us feeling enslaved by a master who assigns us a job to do. The meaning of work is exemplified when someone trust us to use our talents to create value they need either for themselves or someone else.

What Is The Purpose of Work?

You may think the answer to this question is to earn a living. However the higher intrinsic purpose of work is self expression of who we are and the value we offer others. Who we are individually is represented by our individual skills and talents. We are fulfilled when we are enabled to exercise our individual talents and skills that others need and appreciate.  What makes it even more rewarding is when others see our value and are willing to pay for that value.

The reason entrepreneurs love to work and usually don’t consider how much time they spend working is because they intrinsically understand the purpose of their work and it satisfies their heart and mind.

The reason 2/3 of the people with “jobs” are looking for different jobs is simply because employers failed to create joy, a purpose, in the work.  Corporations have failed to recognize that human capital makes or breaks the organizations performance regardless of the amount of financial capital invested in the corporation.

Corporations have become cages of human capital that are depreciating over time due to the lack of purpose. The collective and individual purposes are rarely considered or even discussed because it seems to be intangible and not relevant to the bottom line results.

In the industrial era corporations could get away with ignoring the importance of intangible things like purpose. In the Social Era there is no getting away from avoiding it. The human network deserves to have joy in their work by being enabled to fulfill their individual and collective purpose.

Smarter Companies are more than willing to create joy in work, whether for employees or contractors. Who wouldn’t be willing knowing that work with a purpose creates joy and work that creates joy creates happy customers. Happy customers are loyal and more profitable.

Sometimes the simple things seem so complex because we’ve made them that way. Time to learn to unlearn so we can learn to be simple.

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