Love your job?

I enjoyed this recent post by our dear friend and sister Queen B.

My husband and I spend a good amount of time discussing how much someone working outside the home should expect to love his/her work. I’d imagine most wives consider this question, as we encourage our husbands through the cycle of excitement and tedium of professional life. We’ve all encountered the individuals who profess repeatedly, “Man, I love my job. I just wish everyone loved their job as much as I do. I’m so sad for the people who don’t have a job they absolutely love.”

I haven’t figured out the answer, but I think yearning to find “the job I love” like the gold at the end of the rainbow can be an unfortunate and misguided offspring of the American mentality that our self-actualization and ultimate fulfillment are found in our jobs. This attitude breeds discontentment and restlessness, at least among the vast majority of the workforce. Often work is just work. And just as we find dignity and fulfillment in a job well done, it’s also our burden since Eden. The quotation from St. Josemaria at the end of Queen B’s post puts it so well. Do the work God has given you to the best of your abilities, patiently and diligently, using your skills and gifts and virtues, as an offering to Our Lord. We may not be as slap-happy as larks every day in the office or hospital or lab or classroom, but we will find joy.

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  • Anonymous

    Thanks for this post!

  • I have to say how much I love your blog, ladies!nI found it through a friend in Princeton, and I have been following ever since, and I have to say I absolutely love this post featuring my favorite, Saint Josemaria!nI’m currently working in an office, yet dreaming of the day I can be a stay-at-home- mother, but until then, this is God’s blessing for me, and I try and offer up my work whole-heartedly to Him!nThank you for this inspiring blog, ladies!n

  • Kat

    I have often thought the same thoughts, JM! Work is dignified when done well and with purpose, no matter how enjoyable or unpleasant the tasks might be on any given day. It’s great to enjoy one’s work, but even the greatest job in the world is going to be mundane and unenjoyable for a good percentage of the time! I also think often about those that have unpleasant jobs – those who work in meat packaging factories, for example. It seems hypocritical for me to say that my work should be pleasant and enjoyable, while at the same time acknowledging that there are many jobs that must get done that are not in the least bit pleasant.

  • Thanks for the compliments, JM. nThe entire Novena for Work to Saint Josemaria has encouraged me so many times when T and I have struggled to find enjoyment and purpose in our work. It has helped me prayerfully examine whether my displeasure with my work is due to the Holy Spirit calling me to something else, or sinful tendencies I need to confess and ask the Lord to help me resist. Sometimes it can be so hard to tell the difference! Thank the Lord for His guidance, Saint Josemaria’s inspiring example and his intercession for us!

  • Mary Alice

    My professional work as a homemaker and homeschooler has a nice mix of intellectual, seasonal, repetitive, menial and physical tasks, and I have come to really appreciate that variety. One struggle about my “work” however is that I am often pulled in so many directions that it can be hard to feel that anything is done well. Also, I had no training for my work, so in the beginning it really was often done poorly! I am getting better, studying it in a way, but I also find that if I can remove the striving for perfect outcomes, in my house or my children, and instead try to perfect my own intentions, it really helps.

  • Kat

    So true, MA…I am determined to “train” all of my children for the work of running/being part of a household!

  • Mariabremberg

    I also often feel that nothing gets done “well” because I’m so often called away in a middle of a task to deal with a baby or toddler or preschooler. This is very difficult for me on several levels. I agree with you, Mary Alice, that I find I have the most peace with it when I focus on the internal “work” of loving my husband and children, being cheerful and generous, not slothful, and truly present to my family. This internal work is far more important than the externals of my housework and homeschooling. Still, it has – and is – a hard task for me to not feel like a failure when the externals aren’t measuring up!

  • Luisaagnes

    I don’t believe that there is a job someone could actively love, at least not until you are in a position where things happen “under” you. I think that the first 10 years of working are grueling, as you push to be acknowledged and then try to find someone to help advance your career. I have been working in a professional services firm for 3 years and I am trying to get my first promotion. I am working so hard right now, but have been met with lackluster support. It is such a challenge to manage this attitude when I expected that my efforts would be met with positivity. I am married but have no children yet, and so this job is my vocation. I long to take care of babies and children, but instead I have to go work for people who seem to have little personal interest in my development. For someone whose disposition it is to love and be loved, this whole scenario can be somewhat overwhelming, but I think it is one that a lot of working women face.nnThen there is the question that plagues all women who are working: am I being treated differently because I am the meeker sex? Do people bypass me because they think they can? Do they ask me to do the administrative tasks because I am female? Those are horrible questions because sometimes they really do seem to be true and it is so distressing to think about.nnI post these things because one of the major themes on this blog is defending motherhood, and perhaps it is because some of that modern psyche plagues with the question, “what am I missing out on by not working?”. But I just want to say that I can’t wait to be giving love in my home like that, not plagued by the bureaucracy that cares so little for the person. nnSo whoever is reading this post, please say a little prayer for me!