As the last 25 years of my life have been
largely focused on people’s relationships
with their work, I’ve always held a special
place in my heart for Labor Day. It was
established in the late 1800s in recognition of the struggles for workers’ rights, and while those legitimate struggles continue into the present day,
the growth of labor unions and the middle class in the 20th century allowed many of us the privilege of thinking of our labor in terms of what it means to us.
In my years as a career professional in recruiting, staffing, and now in career coaching, I’ve spent countless hours talking with people about the purpose and meaning they seek in their work. This applies whether their work is in a profession, in parenting or caregiving, in running or supporting a business, in creative arts, in social services or government, or making new contributions in retirement. The desire to have an impact and make a difference, or to express oneself through creating, is profound and part of what makes each of us uniquely human.
Here are some of the most common things I hear from people who want to talk about where they are in relationship with their work life:
I’ve strayed so far from where I thought I was going, and I’m not sure I’m doing what I want to do now.
I’ve left my creative work so far behind that I worry I’ll never get back to it.
I love my job but I wonder if there isn’t something else I could do to bring me satisfaction.
I won’t be working that much longer, and I’m ready to think about what I might do in retirement to contribute or to create.
My work is so isolating that I want new ways to be in community with others with whom I can collaborate.
Digging into all of these questions is a process, and it really helps to break down our thinking and exploration into bite-sized chunks. How do you eat that elephant? There are many ways – write in your journal, read and watch stories of other people’s journeys, notice others who are doing things that pique our interest and follow what they share, and be curious!
Is there some work or calling that you really want to bring into your life in the coming year? Guiding people through these explorations is the centerpiece of the work I do with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg in Your Right Livelihood. Our annual Big Picture Retreat is coming up October 20-22, at Unity Village in Kansas City, MO, and it’s an ideal way to give yourself the gift of some dedicated time to dream and plan for a fulfilling 2024. You can be with others who are also in exploration, enjoy group sessions and solo wandering in a beautiful setting, and be fed by our own private chef!
You can check out our content schedule and lodging here, and if you would like to talk about either the retreat or your own work quest, you’re welcome to schedule a Discovery Call. (Note that our Unity Village Hotel room block rate expires Sept. 8.) Both Caryn and I wish you a happy Labor Day and much joy and satisfaction in your own work!