Friday, January 4, 2008

What does WORK mean to you?

I just finished reading Your Money or Your Life. The book has several thought provoking exercises that made me examine my values and goals. I especially enjoyed the section on the exploration of work and what is considered to be the main purpose of work. Below is a list of some common reasons to work. Its interesting to read through and identify those that apply to yourself.

Earning money
For food, clothing, shelter
For comforts
For Luxuries
For giving to Charity
For an estate to give to heirs

A sense of security
To meet your needs
To have your value as a human being recognized

To carry on a family tradition in a profession
To maintain a sense of continuity and connection with the past

To hang out with interesting people
For entertainment and fun

To do your fair share for society

To make a contribution to others and the world

To acquire new skills

Prestige and status
To receive praise and respect

To feel the power you have over people who report to you and follow your lead
to influence decisions and have power over the course of events

interacting with coworkers
meet the public and feel part of the community

Personal growth
to be challenged in new ways
to expand your emotional and intellectual life

to get feedback for success
to compare yourself with others in your field

Creativity and fulfillment
to achieve fulfillment and the feeling of being utilized
to stay challenged, sharp
to create something new

Time structuring
to schedule your time and give an orderly rhythm to life

Don’t know
because work is what people do

While getting paid is a critical part of work, it seems there are a lot more reasons to work than just making money. I was a little surprised at how few of these applied to my current job. I agree that earning money, security and enjoyment are on my list, but I do not look to work to fill all of these other needs. It may happen, but I don’t expect that from my job. Maybe I should expect more from my career??

It’s even more interesting that as I have been contemplating retirement, I have been thinking about part time work. I do not have to work in my retirement, I could just be a couch potato. But, I am pretty sure that I would enjoy some type of part time job and for very different reasons than why I currently work.

My reasons to work part time include: enjoyment, duty (giving back), service (helping others), learning, socializing, personal growth, and time structuring. These are very different from the reasons that I go to work everyday at my current job and have nothing to do with making money. I know that as soon as I free myself from the shackles of money, I will look for another type of “work”.

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