Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Work and Gratitude

Work. It's a hot topic in politics and urban development. In our offices and living rooms. We need more jobs! Why the high unemployment rate? Do something about it, politicians! In our little circles of conversation in what we deem the "underserved" neighborhood: How do we break through entitlement to government assistance? What about the history we the "privileged" are a part of, the ones with the right parents, right skin color, or just plain lucky enough to get the right education to land us the right job?

How do we boost productivity? What can we squeeze out of workers without having to shell out more money? And finally at home, how can we resist the so-called American Dream to work more to earn more to buy more only to work more?


But I am reading this great book that has me asking, "How can I love well while I work well?" and "How do I welcome people into my life, my workspace, my days?"

Christine D. Pohl, in this book Living Into Community, explores practices that sustain communities. One of these practices is gratitude, often missed amidst our preoccupation with efficiency, accomplishment, etc.:

Our busyness is often tied to working very hard so that what we have
or receive does not seem like a gift. Our desire for "more" feeds our busyness,
whether in work environments or in our efforts to hold on to a last bit of vacation.
.... Our emphasis on accomplishments and efficiency makes us wary 
about pausing to give attention to the gifts we easy take for granted. 
 (Pohl, Living Into Community, p. 30)

Though I can easily criticize someone else for their sense of entitlement to benefits they did not earn, did not work for, do I sail through my days on the clock, sans gratitude, just because I'm earning it? Is each transaction in my workplace owed to me because I earned it, because I'm getting paid? 

Or can I still be grateful for the person who takes 10 extra minutes to walk me through a task that otherwise I would have stumbled through? Did they owe that to me, or can I learn to be deeply grateful for them?

No comments: