Caring is now essential
Today, however, work has become a significant part of our lives. And not only time-wise. “Caring about our work has become a weird status symbol,” according to management writer Lucy Kellaway, who wrote in a recent article that “thanks to [Steve Jobs], caring is now compulsory.” No wonder many people approach their work with great expectations and want to see it as a source of happiness.
According to Amy Wrzesniewski*, most people approach their work in one of three ways: as a job, a career, or a calling. For those of us who see their work as a job, work is a means that allow us to acquire the resources needed to enjoy time away from job. If we see the work as a career, we not only seek monetary gain but also advancement within the hierarchical structure, higher social status and increased power. Finally, the work can be a calling if it offers us fulfillment, meaning, and gratification.
The most striking part of her research is that people within the same occupation can see their work in different ways. Hospital janitors, for instance, can regard their work simply as a cleaning job or they might consider themselves as members of the healing team taking on responsibility for the patients’ well-being and thus expanding the meaning of their work.