It is becoming more and more fashionable to talk about the meaning of life. Why are we here? What is our purpose? Many of us tackle these transcendent questions about our soul.
Ironically, this line of questioning has not transcended into our work. Although we spend roughly half of our adult lives working, we have not brought the question of purpose into the workforce.
The reason is simple. We view work as a means to an end. It provides money to make us secure or to buy things to make us happy. We work to earn a living so that we might live the life we want during weekends, vacations, and evenings.
Work is part of the plains, the terrain of life that encompasses the mundane, everyday. As such, it is a place where we will spend most of our time. And it is an opportunity to choose a perspective. We mistakenly associate “mundane” with boring. Routines are just as essential to happiness, fulfillment, and purpose as surprises. We cannot spend the bulk of our lives waiting for an explosion. A life of purpose includes a life of intentional work.
What we do is important. Purpose is not so easy to turn off and on as punching a time clock. If we aren’t living with purpose at work, it will bleed into our family and our free time. If there is no purpose in the means, the end will be found wanting as well.
The plains are not a burden but an opportunity. We cannot pursue the meaning of life without considering the meaning of our work.