"Take this Job and Shove it!"

By Steve Gahagen


Using our talents to make a positive contribution to society (paid or unpaid) enhances our sense of value. Studies have shown that being disengaged at work is a strong contributor to depression. Even further, having no meaningful work can be devastating to an individual and community. It has been found that high neighborhood joblessness is more damaging than high neighborhood poverty. A neighborhood in which people are poor but employed is different from a neighborhood in which people are poor and jobless.

Many people view work as a necessary evil and four letter word. It is, of course, a four letter word - but is it a good one or bad one? Many people lie awake at night scheming of ways to retire early so they can kiss their jobs goodbye. This kind of frustration usually occurs when our work feels purposeless, we must endure a toxic culture, or when we do not get to use our talents in our work.

A person who is in the zone related to their strengths and passions will have a hard time burning out. Their work may exhaust and renew them at the same time. Even in retirement, people need something meaningful to do - it is one of the principals of the universe. Perhaps it is our perspective of work and not work itself that is the problem.

Questions to consider

I encourage you to discuss these questions around the office water cooler or home dinner table. You can breathe life into people in your sphere of influence as you ask them to share their thoughts.

  1. Is your perception of work positive or negative? Why?

  2. What do you love about your work?

  3. How do you use your talents in your work?