You are made to do good work

We’re more than halfway through summer! I love summer, so I checked Twitter for summery tweets:


Paris Hilton loves summer in Ibiza, where she posed in a swimsuit
Matt Bolus is on a beautiful Gulf Coast beach cutting up fresh coconuts
TammieLovesDDub floated down the Manistee on  Sunday afternoon
Candace Bure (of DWTS fame) has a book coming out in August

Summer is the season to chill and relax. So why think about work? I’ve been filming my next video, from a book light enough to read at the beach or during vacation, but still packed with ideas for creating the work-life of your dreams. I believe summer is a good time to step back and reflect on how your daily choices align with the life you want. Or not. For starters, think on this:

Work is a gift. It lets you use your unique skills to create meaning and value.

Viktor Frankl
Frankl was an Austrian neurobiologist and psychiatrist, who survived horrible cruelty and loss in Auschwitz to grasp the significance of man’s search for meaning. He said that everyone needs a purpose, and a project that fulfills and helps others.

“Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated, thus, everyone’s task is unique as his specific opportunity to implement it.”

Your paycheck or your health?
The Institute of Economic Affairs puts facts behind the stories you hear about illness after retirement. Retirement increases the risk of depression by forty percent, and the risk of treatment for a diagnosed medical condition by sixty percent.

What about workaholics?
Tony Robbins says too much work can also be a problem.

“It’s easy to think of workaholism as a “positive” addiction because it appears that you are getting so much more done. But the truth is, you are not any more productive than the average “hard worker” – in fact, you’re less productive.  Ask yourself, “What basic needs am I covering up with my addiction to perfection?” The consensus is that workaholism, just like any other addiction, is the direct result of a deeper, emotional issue that has not yet been confronted— a coping mechanism that can quickly become an addiction to perfection. Workaholism can stifle your creativity, negatively affect your health and actually cause you to lose money!”

Do unpaid jobs count as good work?
Yes! I know people who care for grandchildren while the parents work, who serve the homeless, grow food to feed their family, or mentor recovering addicts. Those jobs pay rich rewards in the currency of meaning.

America’s shrinking work force
Our labor force participation, defined as the percent of those sixteen years and up who work or actively seek work, is at its lowest level since 1978. As of June 2015 only 62.6% of the labor force participates. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve says that non-participation due to disability has increased steadily since 2001, and non-participation due to retirement growing since 2010. The aging baby boomers swell the retirement numbers, augmented by the implementation of the ACA in 2010 which accelerated retirement for many who previously worked for health insurance. Some thrive in retirement by using the freed-up time to pursue interests that give purpose. Others flounder.

A delicate balance
We need work, and we’ll find meaning if we do things that contribute value. Millennials, according to Karl Moore’s column in Forbes last year, lead other generations in their desire for work of purpose.

“Millennials need direction and meaning, an interesting mixture of altruism and self-interest.”

There is much to be done. You have valuable skills to offer.
Next week I’ll post a video reading from a fun but inspiring book: The Type-Z Guide to Success A Lazy Person’s Manifesto for Wealth and Fulfillment. It’s not rocket science, but then neither is most of life. Here’s how I see it:

Cast a vision, take the first step. Readjust if needed. Take another step. Keep going.

What do you think? What gives you purpose and meaning?

Please post your comments below, and also use one of the social media icons in the upper right corner of this page to share with others.

 © 2015 Booktalk Lady LLC

6 thoughts on “You are made to do good work”

  1. A great post, Deb! I am thriving during retirement because I discovered a love for and, totally by accident, what many keep telling me is a clear and definite talent for art–taking my love of literary art to a totally different expression of what life may be about. I am loving to create beauty and meaning through the use of paper and mixed media art, altered art (oh, I do love this), and am even considering taking a drawing and/or painting class from a community college continuing education program. The art I try to find time for every day is my work: using time to make something of use or of beauty–work creates some effect for good in some way.

    I have also found meaningful “work” in the weekly days I’ve spent with our Rissa and Nate over the past 7 years, just playing and having fun, making messes sometimes, having water balloon battles, and jumping into the pool with a gigantic SpLaSh! And we READ aloud ALWAYS before our afternoon rest times. (I need a nap to get through the rest of the day, and they must need rest as well, whether they always know it or not.) Rissa always sleeps and Nate plays quietly to let me rest. However, on the last Friday before he started kindergarten on Monday, he slept 3.5 hours and even then I woke him so he’d be ready for a normal bedtime! Nothing can be more important work that nurturing our children and teaching them to have fun with wild abandon and to laugh out loud often, and then to pick up/clean up the messes that FUN sometimes creates,(the work of living fully and responsibly), knowing that both are important to enjoying a full life.

    I could go on and on about this topic but will spare everyone any more of my words (once a writing teacher, always a writer who cannot stop since putting words on paper is such a wonderful means of expressing our understanding of the world and the life we’ve been given in that world. I delight in finding meaningful work–in my art room, in caring for my home, and especially in giving two children whatever I can that prepares them to become fully responsible, life-loving, and productive adults who can take pride in who they are, as well as in what they do–their work..

    1. Deborah Rankin, RD

      Peggy so good to hear from you and I know you are thriving during retirement. You’ve always been a lover of books and I’m so glad you pass on that joyful interest to Nate and Rissa. Painting is another wonderful expression and now that you have time…take that class! It will bring you joy.

  2. Purpose and meaning is realized when fears are faced with honor and truth.

    Loved the summery tweets and the idea that unpaid jobs count as good work. Looking forward to the video reading!

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