Life is beautiful…now work can be too.

Posted: January 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

Read the title of this post one more time because it’s the new slogan for Office Max. When I walked in today, I had to actually stop and think about it for a second. Then the automatic doors started to close and that was the end of my contemplation.

I have had countless “life is beautiful” moments. The birth of my kids, a great sale at Macy’s (don’t judge me), the moment I wake up on Friday morning and realize it’s my day off, stepping off a plane and into Nairobi . And I have also had a lot of “work is beautiful” moments. Probably a disproportionate amount, in fact, because for the past 7 years my career and my calling have lined up pretty perfectly. I will agree to be acutely aware of how lucky I am if you will agree to not argue when I say that even MY work occasionally does not feel particularly…you know…beautiful. Sometimes I don’t feel like I’m changing the world or advancing the kingdom or doing anything significant at all and that’s just the truth of it. Some days my work feels suspiciously like work. And I know that yours does as well.

So, the Office Max sign made me really curious and I decided to race home and ask these two important questions:

1) Do you often/rarely/always/never feel that “work is beautiful”?  (not just the concept of work, but the work that you do)

2) If you could do anything – and I mean anything – and earn a good, solid income, what would you do?

I’ll understand if you want to post anonymously since jobs are scarce and I’m pretty sure your boss reads my blog. Hee. I consistently crack myself up on my day off.

That’s all.

Fridays are definitely beautiful,


P.S.  Just in case you’re wondering – here’s the most recent list of  Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For and believe it or not, most of them are hiring!

P.P.S.  Did you know that before the economy tanked employees of Google enjoyed afternoon tea and an annual ski trip as a standard perk?  I am convinced that afternoon tea is just a brilliant idea…every person on the planet ought to stop for a warm beverage at 3:00.

  1. Whitney says:

    Answer to #1: I often feel that my work is important, and for that I am extremely thankful. I work for two of the five neurosurgeons in Central Oregon, and I get to help people in some really life-changing ways. Sometimes if I spend extra time helping someone get the answer they need to a question or getting them a sooner appointment, they’ll ask someone at work, “Which one of you is Whitney?” My co-workers always sell me out by saying “Up front, blonde hair.” I kind of wish they’d protect me more, but so far everyone who asks for me just wants to thank me for helping them, and that makes the job really fulfiling.
    #2: I would go to college, learn a lot of things about managing non-profits, and spend my time helping as many non-profits that are for a good cause as I possibly could. And I’d work my butt off too! 🙂

  2. Tracy says:

    ok, here we go….my “work” work. as in my job work, feels mostly unimportant. However, I know it is important and I know there are times that my interaction with my employees is really the only conection they have with Jesus. So that is super important.

    If I could do ANYTHING…I’d spend a lot of time and energy with God, in God’s word, learning what He wants to teach me and then sharing it with others in big, exciting life changing ways! I know I do that to some extent now…(I’d love to get paid for it) and I guess I do, in eternity. But there is really nothing compared to discipling someone and seeing them get the truth for the very first time or encouraging them to walk in faith in a big way! Nothing compares to seeing a life changed by Jesus:)

  3. Michelle, the one in Seattle says:

    #1 My job in retail doesn’t exactly scream “work is beautiful,” very often. I mostly feel that my work is important when I am doing a task well or my favorite is when I help a dad buy the perfect gift for his daughter or wife, its hilarious.

    #2 Whitney basically stole my number two 🙂 My dream job would be running a non-profit (in the US, but traveling extensively) that works to alleviate world poverty OR working to develop communities economically via city government. (I explain both options when people ask me what I will do when I get my degree in Global/Community Development)

    Hopefully in the future I will have my dream job 🙂

  4. This may sound surprising but I – at this time of my life – rarely feel like my work is beautiful. I have 2 jobs, both are doing the accounting for 2 different nonprofits. The rest of my time is taken up with a job that I don’t get paid for and I have hardly ever felt was something I was called to do or qualified to do. I just do it because there isn’t anyone else to do it and I fill each “hole” until someone qualified comes along and then I go on to fill another “hole”. BUT I am seriously considering searching for just that job that will actually pay AND will make me feel like I am doing just what I was supposed to do. Some people would say my life is half over but I am beginning to think it might just be beginning!!! When I read your blog it was as if it was an answer to what I have been praying for and it spoke to me just as if your voice came out of heaven! There – now I have to do something and pursue what I am being stirred (and prodded by my husband) to do.

  5. bolovesjoe says:

    Wow…I’ve just loved your responses, ladies. LOVED them…and I’ve also learned from them. I am challenged in my vocation right now as well…just trying to figure out how all the pieces fit. Wayne Cordiero says that 90% of what we do, anyone could do. 5% anyone with training could do. The other 5% is the 5% that only WE can do…we’re wired up for that 5% and if we don’t do it, we’ll fight frustration and discontent (Tracy, I KNOW you’re wired to teach the Word. Whitney & Michelle, I KNOW you’re wired to help heal the hurts in the world. Susan, I know that you could absolutely do ANYTHING you set your mind to…but God has more for you than filling holes. I think He is going to fill a hole in YOU as you jump off the cliff and fly – fast and free – with His grand purpose for your life. I have goosebumps right now about your future.)

    This may sound silly…but this week I’m going to be praying for each one of you every morning during my time with Jesus and asking that He will let you move more and more into your 5% sweet spot. And I’m praying it for me too.

    Whitney, Tracy, Michelle and Susan – goodness, I love you…I can’t imagine how Jesus must feel about you. 🙂


  6. Thanks Bo – that means a lot to me!!! And I’ll be praying for you too!

  7. Sarah says:

    I always comment late. A good whole post behind. It’s my thing.
    1) I feel like my work at home as a mother is beautiful most of the time. However, I also feel like I’m the only one who sees that beauty about 90% of the time. My work at the hospital talking to desperate parents and giving them wonderful nursing advice one night a week also feels beautiful. Funny thing about that… when people are always thanking you and telling you how wonderful you are at work, it kinda makes it feel a little more beautiful for a moment. (the paycheck helps, too) Nobody mostly sees all the stuff I do at home. But at the end of the day, wiping the snot from my own babies’ faces is still way more beautiful. Lesson learned from this last year – I need to give more pats on the back to my at-home-mom-friends. It helps a little when someone notices what you do.
    2) If I could do ANYTHING, I would be doing exactly what I’m doing now, raising my children, but there would also be orphans involved. Perhaps some with AIDS. And when my children are a little older, there would be LOTS of orphans involved. And churches. Churches becoming more passionate about the orphans. Churches getting more INVOLVED with the orphans! Churches here, there, and everywhere. Imagine how many orphans we are talking about now! How exciting! I will probably need Whitney to help me manage this…

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