You're probably reading this on the weekend. The workweek is over. You get your break. We often look forward to the weekend for a much-needed rest. To get away from our hectic work. It becomes easy to see work as a necessary but undesirable evil. But if we peek under the hood at work, we find some interesting stuff.
There are three reasons we work. They are summed up with these three "S" words: Survive, Save, and Serve.
First is Survive. Work produces the money we need in order to get by. To put food on the table, to pay rent. To provide the clothes, shelter, and heat that keeps us alive.
Next is Save. Saving lets us create security and safety for tomorrow…extra resources for those unexpected difficulties in life.
And finally is Serve. Here is where we move from being self-focused to other-focused.
This is a place where I often find most people don't truly understand their job and what it is that they really are doing. I like to illustrate this with a personal story.
For a short while, I worked at a company that did medical insurance auditing. Now if I were to pick three of the most boring words in the English language and throw them together, they would probably be medical insurance auditing. I never had to worry about insomnia while working there because if I ever couldn't sleep, I just thought about the company and what we did. I truly had no passion or interest for our core business. I really only cared about the tech and the paycheck.
Years later I came to the realization that what we did really mattered.
What you do matters. Really matters. It makes the world a better place. It may not excite you the way of having a job as a lion tamer might, but it's important nonetheless. Unless you write spyware or ransomware or you're building algorithms to produce fake news to influence the next US election, what you do is creating value and adding it to the global economy and ultimately giving the world the resources to fight disease, combat climate change, and reduce violence. It may be hard to see how your humble job can be doing that, but it's true.
Photos by Derek Howard
A few hundred years ago, 19 out of every 20 people had to be a farmer to produce enough food to keep people fed. All of the improvements made since then create value and free up our time to let us be artists, doctors, and humanitarians. It's a basic principle of economics. The value you create is much greater than the pay you receive. That difference is your gift to the world. It doesn't go into the pocket of some tech billionaire, (ok, a little of it might, but much less than you think) that value gets passed on to customers and consumers and makes the world a better place.
Remember that the next time you think what you do is pointless. It's not. You're serving. You're brightening. You're giving.
What are you doing to serve?
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