Sunday, June 30, 2013

Work and Purpose

“We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work”

Thomas Edison

All work is creative work if done by a thinking mind.”

Ayn Rand

“Work without love is slavery.”

I’ve been fortunate to have had some very good jobs in my life.  Though they were all different, they all had some things in common.  They also have something in common with writing these blogs.  First, I will discuss some of the jobs and then I will show what the jobs and my blogs have in common. (Let me clarify that when I say “jobs” I am also referring to volunteer experiences as well.)  Finally, I will apply these principles in a way that will hopefully benefit others. 
One of the first really good jobs I had was being Christmas help at Toys-R-Us.  I was hired.  At first I had a rough start because I had contracted poison ivy the day before my first day of work.  On top of that I made some tactical errors in my first week.  But then I found my niche, in the Children’s Books department and I started having fun!  I worked hard and if I was asked to do something else, I cheerfully did it. 
This was my first 40-hour-a-week job.  At the time, my personal life was not going well and it was nice to be away from all the problems and just work for eight hours a day.  In a way, I was able to reinvent myself and focus completely on my work.  What I remember most about the job was that it was fun.  It was a toy store, so maybe it was supposed to be fun.
Another great job I had was actually a volunteer experience.  I was the Jr. High Director of my church.  Much of the current staff was moving on to other things and I knew this work was perfect for me. I knew the group needed a unifying structure.  I knew I could provide.  Specifically, what they needed was strong leadership.  And I became that strong leader. 
Within a few months the size of the group doubled and then tripled.  It was amazing to see.  Slowly my vision for the group unfolded and we were able to do some things I think the kids will never forget.  To this day, this was still one of the best experiences of my life.
At the same time I was also a Sunday-School teacher.  The thing I brought to this experience was creativity.  Every week I would try something new and different.  I used the materials provided, but just barely.  I got the kids involved in their own learning and we had a lot of fun.  Things went so well that one our church members publicly stated that the reason he joined the church was so that his daughter could be in my Sunday-School class.
Probably one of the best jobs ever was my time at Kelsey-Jenney College.  I was given the opportunity to teach many different subjects so I had to be flexible.  I taught Math, English, Business Writing, Ethics and Personal Development to name a few.  Although not all the classes went well, most of them did.  By being willing to do what was needed I expanded my resume and I learned a lot.  The staff and the students loved me and I was Teacher of the Year my first year.  What made it work was being flexible and taking any classes they offered me.
My current job is also highly enjoyable.  I think two things have made this job work.  First, there was desire.  I wanted to do this job more than just about anything else in life.  (And I especially wanted to leave the job I was in at the time.)   Second, I was constantly pursuing professional growth whether through in-services, my own reading, or experiences in the classroom.  I was and am always trying to get better.
So there are some qualities that can lead to happiness and success professionally an personally:
·      Fun
·      Leadership
·      Creativity
·      Flexibility
·      Desire
·      Growth

These qualities apply at work or in any area where Purpose is involved.   In each of these positions I was clearly in Purpose and that’s why I still feel good about them.  As I near my writing goal, I can see how each one the same qualities has appeared at different times.  They will again, too.  All I have to do is Get Started and Keep Going….and I will do a good job.