The Value of Work; Why Our Impacts May be Larger Than Our Point of View

I was recently sitting in a meeting and one of the principals was waxing philosophical about his approaching retirement and said that if you wanted to see what impact a person can have on an organization stick your hand in a bucket of water and pull it out. That is how much impact a person can have, he said.

If you believe in that kind of rot, than this blog entry is not for you.

In the words of Sheldon Cooper, that’s a lot of hokum, hogwash — bravo sierra of the highest order.

Can you imagine working some place for about 40 years only to come to the final point where none of it mattered; that your life’s work was valueless and without impact? So sad, so fatalistic, and so wrong; so completely wrong. At least that’s how I view the world.

As we go through our lives we don’t know what has been impactful; we are too close to our lives.

One day I got a box of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies and was walking back to my office, snacks in hand when I happened upon a woman in a chair crying. I stopped, sat beside her and shared my cookies. It was just a gesture by me, but too her it meant the world. And that’s my point; we are impactful where we work not only by what we do, but also how we reach out to one another.

My grandmother used to say, “Tis a lucky man who has a job. Tis a blessed man who has a job he loves.” I understand not all of us are blessed in the workplace, but I also understand that each of us is lucky. And the unblessed among us (using my grandmother’s definition) should still give their work-lives value by treating others like we are blessed.

All of us are impactful where we work; that is absolutely true. We spend far too much time at work for it to be otherwise. It’s just impossible.

So the next time anybody tries to sell you the hand in a bucket of water analogy, reach out and hug them, because they need it. It must be hard to go through life so fatalistic.


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