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How to Flourish: Work & Vocation
Wednesday May 17 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT
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“In my opinion, I am often rich as Crœsus, not in money, but (though it doesn’t happen every day) rich, because I have found in my work something to which I can devote myself heart and soul, and which gives inspiration and significance to life.”
— Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh, 11 March 1883
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
Today, we want more from work today than ever before. The history of work in six words is, according to writer Derek Thompson, “from jobs to careers to callings.” Indeed, some argue that work is taking the role in our lives once reserved for organized religion, as we expect it to provide us with meaning, purpose, community, and measures of virtue.
There seem to be two two conflicting philosophies of work that branch out from the Protestant and the Catholic views of labor: work as a calling with intrinsic value, versus a means to an end.
Is loving your work a central part of the good life — or is work just a paid job?
- Do we work to live, or live to work? Can we do both?
- Is work a privilege and opportunity to serve others, or a burden that should be minimized?
- Should work be something we love? Should we follow our passions, or does monetizing what we love ruin it?
- Is hard work a virtue, or is it actually toxic productivity?
- How do we find our calling/”Zone of Genius“?
- Is it not what we do or where we work but how we think about our work that matters?
Recommended reading — skim whatever piques your curiosity!
- Philosophical Approaches to Work and Labor (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
- What You Can Learn About Job Satisfaction From a Janitor
- The 70-hour and four-day work weeks are both rooted in Christian philosophy
- Three Callings for Your Life and for Our Time | The On Being Project
- The Sanctity of Work and Play | The On Being Project
- Thoreau on Hard Work, the Myth of Productivity, and the True Measure of Meaningful Labor – The Marginalian
- “Vocation” by William E. Stafford (poem)
- Post-work: the radical idea of a world without jobs
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