HOW TO LOVE YOUR WORK and WHY
By: J. Marlando
Author of: Succeeding in Business for the Love of It.
There are people who actually like their work but no job is, in a term, a bed of roses; jobs can become demanding, boring, tedious, nerve wracking and just hard work. In regard to this observation *Marsha Sinetar tells us this: “If we think of what we do every day as only a job. Or even as only a career, we may fail to use it fully for our own development and enrichment. When we are bored, frustrated, constrained, or dulled by what we do all day, we don’t take advantage of the opportunity it offers. Moreover, we don’t see the opportunities. The kind of relationship to work that is manifested in drifting attention, clock watching, and wishing to be elsewhere also robs us of energy and satisfaction.”
Nevertheless, most people endure the Monday Morning blues…Friday anxieties. In between the two is in general the mere motivation to just get through the (rest of the) week.
One problem is at least for a lot of working folk is that they never feel they have found the job that they love. There is always something that they don’t like about the work they’re doing and they stay in either the mode of wishing they were someplace else or simply remain in a steady flow of habitual labor that gets the job done. Even doctors and lawyers can feel stranded on an assembly line of duties and routines.
Before going on, however, I want to share a true story with you about one of the most enthusiastic workers I have ever known. His name was Ray Leckenby, a wonderful, kind man! Unfortunately, he had but a third grade education and could not read or write. As a result he was a ditch digger for nearly all his adult life. He had served in the Pacific during World War Two and worked as a coal miner a couple of winters when the ground was too frozen for doing his kind of work but mostly, he was a ditch digger,
One day when he walked home from work he found his young nephew sitting on a backdoor step. He had carried a shovel home from work, showing it to the boy as a proud symbol of his labor. The handle had groves worn in it of his hand prints he had dug so much with it.
At age ten a shovel meant nothing to boy but he was smart enough to know that it was important to his uncle and so he said something like, “Wow, that’s neat.”
Ray was obviously pleased by my response and said to him, “Jackie how would you like to go to work with me in the morning and see what I do for a living?”
Now the last thing in the world the boy wanted was to do was walk to work with his uncle who always left the house before six in the morning. Nevertheless, he felt obliged to say, yes he’d like to go but he had an out. He told his uncle that he would have to ask his grandmother, Nanny, for permission.
Ray thought that was fine and so the boy followed him into the house. Nanny was in the kitchen and greeted them. Ray told her the boy would like to see what he does for a living and wanted to know if his nephew could go to work with him the next morning. Nis nephew, however, stood behind his Uncle Ray shaking his head “no” and making faces. Nanny saw the signal but for some reason she said, “Yes, why of course Jackie can go,” and the boy was stuck.
Early the next morning Ray woke him up and as soon as they had a bite to eat they started walking toward town—at least five miles away—and to Ray’s work site. They stopped for a donut along the way, however, and that eased the frustrations the boy had.
They finally got to where Ray worked and they stood on a little knoll of dirt overlooking a maze of ditches. They were for plumbing purposes! Anyway, Ray pointed to the ditches and said, “That’s what I do. Look at how straight those ditches are and how square.” This of course was long before computerized ditch digging was even dreamed of. In any case, the ditches meant nothing to the ten year old and yet, the boy had enough empathy to realize that they were important to his uncle. He had no idea what to say to him, however. Then finally, he looked up at him and said, “Uncle Ray, you must be the best ditch digger in the whole world.”
And Uncle Ray’s face flushed with apparent joy—his eyes sparkled and he said to the boy, “I am…I am.”
The boy never realized the significance of that moment until he was a grown man forty years old. When he did, it became one of the most important lessons of his life.
The secret of being happy and content in your work is not necessarily being able to do what you love but deciding to love what you do.
In thinking about this, Sinetar quotes a very vital message from The Language of Feeling by David Viscott, M.D. who tells each of us:
Your ultimate goal in life is to become your best self. Your immediate goal is to get on the path that will lead you there. Why should you feel guilty if you refuse to be intimidated by [someone] who persists in standing in the way of your being that best self or who is “hurt” when you finally manage it? ….The highest love a person can have for you is to wish for you to evolve into the best person you can be. No one owns you, no matter what your relationship. You are not here on this earth to fulfill the unmet dreams of a frustrated parent or to protect another person from facing the reality of himself or the world. You are here to develop and grow, to do your share to make the world a better place to live, to make the immediate world in which you live, the world that is you, as honest and as true to your feelings as you possibly can.
My Uncle Ray did not need the applause or the approval of anyone to put his love, effort and joy into his work. He never saw himself as a lowly ditch digger but rather as the best at what he did for a living. As a result, he gave his work dignity and importance and lived a contented (rich) life even though he earned a very meager living.
All things and so all people become lovable when we project our love onto them. Take a walk today and say to everything you pass “I love you.” Say this silently to yourself and you will be amazed at the world you create. Say to yourself, I love going to work today and I love doing the work I do today” and make this your daily practice and you will soon enough discover yourself taking more interest and being more and more involved and…caring in your daily toil no matter if you’re a top executive of some company or that company’s janitor. And this is true for salespeople and those in service jobs. I have a friend, **Charles Pierce who went to work for a restaurant back East for the three month tourist trade. His job was not only to wait on people but to keep the floors mopped and bus dishes when possible. He lived at the resort so he was virtually on duty well over ten hours a day. During that summer he earned more tips than any of the other waiters and had saved five thousand dollars. For those who don’t think this is a success story this was back in 1950. (Charles is in his 90s now).
What was his secret? He said that he treated each customer as if they were his own; he poured his heart into his job and even those tasks that he truly disliked. And, he always tried to do a little extra for the customer.
Another friend of mine tells me a story from his own childhood. He said in the summer, he and two of his friends decided to make some money by hiring out to chop kindling for people. During his childhood most people were still cooking on coal/wood burning stoves at least in the mining district where he lived.
Well, as it turned out, the boys got quite a lot of work and the work cut deeply into their summer playtime. Both his friends quit because they didn’t want to toil away the warm weather but my friend stuck to it and ended up with a nice amount in his purse before school started. What was his secret? He said that he didn’t permit himself to see chopping wood as work but rather as exercise and seeing it as exercise it became fun and rewarding. And, he added, that he had grown some nice muscles by the time he went back to school. How we look at a thing is what the thing becomes. I have repeated an example of this numbers of times but it is such a good example: If you deem the rose bush a thorn bush than that is what it become for…you!
*Sinetar, Marsha* Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow*A Dale Trade Book
*If you would like to read more about him there is a book you will enjoy: The Art of Survival by Charles Pierce and J. Marlando. It’s available at Barnes and Noble, on Amazon or at www.thesurvival station.com.
A good metaphor for our brains is to talk about Genies in a bottle. Like the genie they grant us what we ask for. Well, that is, they project onto the world that which we DECIDE is true. You can test this in countless ways—next time you’re invited out tell yourself a few times how much you hate to go or how much you love to go and see what happens. Your brain will release the unhappy or happy chemicals per your orders creating the reality that “it” believes you have named it properly. Indeed, it is like *Dr. Paul Pearsall tells us:
The “I”, the self , is much more than
the reverberation of neurons and we are
much more than we “think” we are. We
are also what we believe, hope, feel, and
sense. We can tell the brain not only what,
but how to think.
*Pearsall, Paul *Super Joy
If for example you are having marital upsets and you say things such as I don’t know, I just don’t think we were meant for each other…We just don’t have a good marriage and so forth you are giving your brain a negative affirmation. Even if you don’t mean it, spend a few days saying Gosh, we have a happy marriage…We have such a good marriage and see what happens. This is not the article to talk metaphysics but I will say this much: While we are all invariably taught to believe that the world acts on us…it is just the other way around!
In essence life is what we make it and so are our jobs.
You can also put this to the test: When you DECIDE to love your work it will not be very long until other people start making remarks on how healthy or different you look. I have yet to see this fail! There is simply something biological that happens to the person who actually CHOOSES to enjoy and love their work. And, in nearly all situations sooner or later good things will begin to happen—a raise, a promotion, more sales and other rewards that are important to you. You can’t just try it on a Monday, however, and if you’re not suddenly getting accolades toss in the towel. You have to make it your habit and that habit begins when you get up in the morning, when you drive to work and with ALL the people you greet along your way. If you are confronted with a crank, for example, don’t respond until you have said to her or him “I love you” silently to yourself. If you do this sincerely enough, you will not only feel a change in your attitude but in the “cranks” attitude as well. Watch and see!
And always…always give extra service when you can.
No matter what you do for a living, dig ditches or build bridges, are a clerk in a department store or are a surgeon, you are in sales and you are in the service business. This is the most vital key to success for all of us. Service with a smile, however, is not enough, real and sincere customer concern is the essential ingredient your service must possess. But of course, if you love your job, all that simply unfolds naturally anyway.
In regard to all of all of this, I remain convinced that there is one universal law that none of us escapes. The law that whispers to us that we reap what we sow. After all, that which we sow in love yields in love; not always in an ordinary reciprocal way but in a universal way such as with positive synchronicities.
There is something else: When you CHOOSE to love your work, you distinguish yourself in the workplace. This is a point that *Cheryl Gilman makes when she repeats the worlds of Emerson:
Each man has his own vocation. The talent is
the call. He inclines to do something which is
easy to him, and good when it is done., but
which no other man can do, he has no rival.
For the more truly he consults his own powers,
the more difference will his work exhibit from
from the work of any other,
Love always creates the distinguishing factor! I have seen this made manifest by a fellow by the name of Ken who was a forklift operator for 30 years and by a baker whose daily toil and long hours would depress most people, but Art had a love for baking and so his little store grew into an extremely profitable business from which he retired at age 52. I knew a woman who worked on an assembly line who was actually anxious to go to work in the mornings—she loved it because she made the repetitious work a challenge; she set records for herself and then set higher records when she reached them. Her employers began to notice and she was finally made shop foreman. I know this story well as she was my mother. She was, if you will, an Emerson worker!
When you put love into your work—not just the work you do at your job but the work you do around the house, in your yard or in your neighbor’s yard—you create the positive, a vibration of love that is experienced subtly or blatantly by all who enter your glow. Give it a real try and you will soon enough see what I am talking about.