Over time, experience, and personal suffering, work has come to mean something completely different from what I earlier assumed it to be. And I do feel in 2018, almost all of us have it wrong.
Up until recently, I thought that the point of our job is to complete a set of defined tasks for a company. This often involved us biting our tongue, grinding our teeth, and being a workhorse for the money a company offers us in exchange for helping it accomplish its stated objectives. These objectives often go no further than helping the owners or management feel more wealthy, famous, powerful, or impactful.
But…there always felt something troubling with this approach. It was becoming clearer to me that simply completing tasks for a job doesn’t lead to evolution. It simply perpetuates whatever the assumption (or ignorance) was presupposed by the original objective. And if we’re sensitive, we literally feel within us our soul being crushed when we are seen as simply someone who gets things done for someone, serving as a task machine for someone’s intentions, whether shallow, or even noble-sounding.
After some reflection, I upgraded my view of work. I then started to feel that work was more about doing only the tasks we are exceptional at— defining for ourselves what our roles and responsibilities are for a company. And it is certainly more empowering when we decide what needs to get done based on our own perspective, rather than chosen arbitrarily from above.
Later, however, I came to realize that even our greatest chosen skills or natural talents, when simply offered on a platter, ends up once again a list of tasks that we get done for someone, once again perpetuating a machine, once again shortchanging our humanity and felt experience for the sake of getting something done for an objective we might or might not agree with. Such an objective is often more arbitrary than we would want to admit.
So I felt it’s clearly not it either.
So let’s identify when does our soul — our humanity — get crushed, so that we can steer away from such situations?
The answer is simple. Whenever we are in a situation where our humanity isn’t allowed space to come through, when we aren’t able to breathe our experience, where our feelings are ignored or brushed off, is when our soul is being crushed. Whenever our value is reduced to a set of qualities we have or a series of tasks to complete, even if we define these tasks ourselves, our soul is crushed.
So I will make a bold statement — while certainly doing tasks is part of a job, of course, working for someone should never be about the tasks we do for them.
It runs much deeper. It really has to do with the spirit that comes forth from us.
Yes. In other words, can I uplift the company? And does the company uplift me? As a human being.
A couple of simple caveats..the answer shouldn’t come from an knee-jerk validation of our worldview…nor should it be a by-product of an assessment of our talents or skills…rather, the answer comes from tuning into how uplifted we feel.
That’s it. Nothing more. Perhaps a few synonyms. But the proper environment is this one single concept. Simply put…it’s our felt energy…we aren’t here to compare better and worse energies. Rather, it’s about using our intelligence to hone in on unique situations where our humanity is most uplifted.
Whoa…does that mean that the reams of skills, experience, and attributes we bring to a particular job is meaningless? Is the entire traditional HR process of no value? C’mon…you wouldn’t hire a doctor to do the job of an engineer…or an engineer to do the job of an accountant. That would be foolish, right?
But wait a minute…let’s take this a few notches higher. What is the purpose of a company in the first place? to society? if not to uplift those around? And if someone can do that, wouldn’t a wise company bend over backwards to bring in those who can bring this most essential quality to them?
Will such an approach force a company or organization to make adjustments? Sure. Will it challenge the DNA of a company? Absolutely. But the truly mature company in the age of hyper-automation and artificial inteligence will choose cultivating wisdom in its workforce over a blind commitment to inert objectives.
Each person has the capacity to uplift us, and each other, in a unique way. Each one of us, as a human being, has the potential to uplift each other, simply by being ourselves in our truest form. And the right job is recognizing the best environment for us for mutual upliftment. And that’s where the laser focus should belong.