We study and try to learn in school for so many different reasons.
An old friend once told me a very interesting analogy between two different type of students studying here in the Philippines.
A young chinoy (Filipino-Chinese), he said, is sent to good schools by his parents so that someday he will be capable of managing their family business or even manage his own business; while a young native-born Filipino is sent to good schools so that someday he will be able to find good work (usually in companies owned by Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs) and bring home a good pay.
Although it is good to think that this analogy would lead many of our young natural-born Pinoys to realize that they too are given the same chance as the chinoys to be entrepreneurs someday, however, it does not mean that there is lesser honor in being an ordinary worker.
In fact, for one person to manage a business and a team of workers, that person must first understand the essence of work and he too must learn to become part of the team.
Here are five insights I've learned from writers, friends and from personal experiences that made me think of working in a totally different light:
There is more to working than earning a living.
You don’t work to bring home a salary. Try to ask yourself these questions:
- Why am I working? or Why am I looking for work?
- Why do I need this salary?
- What keeps me working for this company?
The key is to keep asking yourself why and by the end of your self-inquiry you will have come face to face with your personal goal or an objective. If you are a working student, it might be because you wanted to finish college, practice law and manage your own law firm someday. Or maybe because you want to get your own house, bring your kids to school and give them a better future. Whatever it is, you don’t work just to earn a living.
You don’t work for your boss.
You work for yourself and your job is to give your best and that’s the way you enjoy your work. Think of your application form as a registration paper to fight as a soldier for your country in times of war. When you got hired, you went out to war but not without proper guidance and training. Your commander-in-chief or your boss gives you instructions and directions. Now, if you signed up to fight for your commander-in-chief then by all means fight and die for your boss. But you signed -up for a different mission and when you go out there with your guns and bullets you fight for this mission, and you fight to stay alive.
You work for your goals and you work for yourself.
You are competing against people who love what they are doing.
Yes, work is a competition. Your opponents are your co-workers and so are the rest of the working population on this planet. But the game is not measured in skills and knowledge. We are measured by the amount of love and dedication we give to our work and our co-workers.
You always had a choice. Change your attitude or change your job.
How many times have I heard complaints about co-workers, bosses and organizational systems that doesn’t seem to jive with our expectations.
Andrew Matthews, well-loved speaker, cartoonist and author of “Follow your Heart,” said that our primary mission in life is not to change the world but to change ourselves. The key to this concept is to deeply understand a person and a situation and to try to see things in a different lens. With this unselfish act, you may be able to effect a change in yourself, in the way you see things around your work area and in the way you act at the same work situations that used to bother you and maybe, somehow cause a positive change to the other person or the situation.
However, changing your attitude may not be as effective if you don’t really like what you are doing. Ask yourself if you love what you are doing right now, if not, then change your job and do something that you like or maybe just try to love what you are doing right now. Find out what interests you in your present job and always focus on your goal. A kitchen helper sings while he cooks because he knows that he’s going to be a singer someday. Meanwhile, he makes his job and his co-workers’ job more enjoyable by singing and performing for the rest of the kitchen staff during his shift.
The only ones among you who will be truly happy will be those who have sought and found how to serve.
Work requires commitment and commitment requires sacrifice. Sacrifice is offering oneself for something that you believe in.
When I was asked by a friend to give an example of real service in work, only one thing came to mind: teaching.
I could have answered missionary work, priestly vocations, the armed forces but teachers have always amazed me. Especially those who never had the chance to marry because of their dedication to their work. Although sometimes you hear them say how much tired they are for doing the same things for years you’ll know that in their hearts they really love what they are doing and with that love comes a great sacrifice of service to educate and guide the future generations, and their real consolation is just to see this young and restless spirits grow to be productive members of the society.