The weekend’s over and the work week has begun! Happy Monday all 🙂
This week I thought I’d share a story that Psychologist Martin Seligman tells in his book Authentic Happiness (here’s the link if you’re interested: Amazon):
Seligman was visiting a close friend in hospital. The friend was on life support, and had laid unconscious since being admitted. Seligman observed an orderly meticulously placing beautiful pictures on the walls around the room:
“May I ask what you’re doing?”
“My job? I’m an orderly on this floor. But I bring in new prints and photos each week. You see, I’m responsible for the health of all these patients. Take Mr Miller here. He hasn’t woken up since they brought him in, but when he does, I want to make sure he sees beautiful things right away.”
Seligman uses this story to illustrate the three types of “work orientation”, which is how people frame their work in relation to the rest of life:
1. A job – the work you do simply for the paycheck.
2. A Career – a deeper investment, measured by money or advancement.
3. A Calling – a passionate commitment to work for its own sake. Work that’s fulfilling in it’s own right, without money or advancement. Work that you see as contributing to the greater good and something bigger than you are.
Seligman shared findings by a professor called Amy Wrzesniewski & her team, who surveyed 28 hospital cleaners. They established that those who saw their work as “a job” simply viewed their work as cleaning rooms. However, those who saw their work as “a calling” shaped their work into something more meaningful. They viewed their role as critical for patient care, timed their work for maximum efficiency, added tasks to their role (as per the orderly above) and anticipated the needs of the physicians to allow them more time to care for patients.
What a difference!
So today, as you enter a brand new working week, be honest with yourself… are you spending the week investing in a calling or merely doing a job?
If it’s the latter, what changes can you make to make your job more meaningful… and yourself more satisfied in the process?