I think most people would agree there are things they like and dislike about their job. In my featured photo I’m shown working at my desk when I taught third grade. I look happy. Maybe this was taken on a Friday after school dismissed!
Now that I’m retired, I look back on my career with amazement. How did I do it? How does any teacher manage to fulfill all the expectations of the position? The only way I survived was by learning how to multi-task. Somehow teachers manage to take attendance, listen to morning announcements, and keep an eye on the class all at the same time. Jacks of all trades, teachers fulfill many roles.
On Labor Day, we pay tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. For most workers our jobs are the most important thing in our lives. After years of working at the same job, we begin to identify ourselves by our career. When introduced to someone, we ask, “What do you do for a living?” This pattern continues during retirement, “What did you retire from?”
It’s difficult for people to retire because it’s hard to imagine a life without work. Some feel like life will have no purpose or meaning. I’m often asked, “So what do you do all day?”
“I fill my days in much the same way I did during summer vacation. The big difference is I never reach a date on the calendar when I start to feel anxious about school starting again.”
We confuse the value of our work with the amount of money we receive for it. When I stayed at home to care for my preschool children, I received no income, but the experiences we shared were invaluable. Our “self-worth” should not be dependent on our level of income.
Do you feel undervalued at work? Comedian George Carlin said, “The caterpillar does all the work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity.”
Too bad Mr. Carlin seems to have forgotten, the butterfly once was the caterpillar.
One of my favorite scriptures reads, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23,24 NIV
If I work at something with all my heart, I feel content knowing I’ve done my best, even if no one else seems to notice.
Engaging in our work changes us. Our “on the job experiences” teach us new skills. By trial and error we learn new ways of problem solving to accomplish our goals. Eventually we discover that like the monarch, we can fly!
Happy Labor Day!
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