John Dewey on “Work”

The work that you do, whether as a paying job, volunteer work or as study, hobby or vocation is a way of generating, maintaining and creating meaning in your life. How much effort and involvement do you give to the work that you do? Is the work that you are doing, satisfying you? How do you approach the task of work? How do you better yourself by the work that you do?

John Dewey, in his book, Art as Experience, reminds us, “The intelligent mechanic engaged in his job, interested in doing well and finding satisfaction in his handiwork, caring for his materials and tools with genuine affection, is artistically engaged. (5)”

What Dewey’s quotation gives us, is that, it is not necessarily the kind of job that you do, but how you do the job that you do. The worker who is drowning in a desk of “to-do” lists, which keep piling up, seemingly out of control, has a much different experience from the worker who carefully (with care) uses the tasks of the day to better the life of him/herself and the life of the organization in doing what needs to be done and acting through the purpose of the moment.

Losing yourself in a meaningful task is an artistic experience, a kind of dance with life and your engagement with it. Realize reality in the most beautiful and humanizing ways.

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