What Is Work?

Work is what you do in the world every day. It is the “doing” that connects you with society, community and culture.

Work is more expansive than job or career. Everyone works: young and old, wealthy and poor, retired, employed or financially independent, manual workers and knowledge workers.

There are three “sacred vows” in life: with Self, with Other, and with Work. The vow to Self involves your deepest nature and purpose. The vow to Other involves your deepest relationships with partner, family and intimates. The vow with Work involves your essential relationship with society, community and world, which is typically all your “doing” that lies outside the first two vows.

In earlier phases of human civilization, composed of much smaller social units, the three vows overlapped and could be served together. In our ever more stratified and complicated society, these domains have grown apart. It is difficult to maintain integrity in all three at once, and in fact we can spend many years deepening our commitments in one, while one or both of the others goes lacking.  Work has also become more specialized, and organizations much larger, which can obscure our Work’s sacred nature by attenuating the distance between what we do and how it affects others. Our accelerating addictions to busy-ness and disproportionate growth further cloud our sacred work.

Founders, Executives and Mission-driven individuals are called to work in leadership and caregiving capacities that especially challenge their ability to maintain integrity and alignment. Oftentimes, those who have had success in their fields must also re-align their purpose and re-source their inspiration to reflect their own maturity and learnings.