On the basis of Gallup's World Poll, Jim Clifton, CEO of the company, concluded that what the whole world wants is a "good job."
But what makes a job "good?"
Pay is not the most important factor. Having a job that doesn't provide for the basics is a problem, of course, but pay alone does not determine whether a person feels his or her job is a "good" one.
Matching one's strengths with one's work is an important factor. George Washington Carver's boss, Booker T. Washington, remarked that Carver was a poor administrator. It would have been a mistake for Carver to have been "promoted" to an administrative role. His best fit was in the lab.
But matching one's strengths with one's work is not the only factor in a "good" job. Making progress is important, too. Yet making progress alone is not enough. Making progress in work that lacks meaning won't cut it over the long haul.
Making progress in work with meaning, while using one's gifts and strengths to go somewhere worth going, is quite another matter! For most people, personal meaning is essential for a truly "good" job. That's because personal meaning addresses the why behind one's work, and this provides staying power.
The big question for many people, then, becomes, "How can my work have personal meaning, if it really doesn't?"
Bonnie Wurzbacher, while serving as Vice-President of Global Accounts for The Coca-Cola Company, once told me, "we don't find meaning in our work, we bring meaning to our work." This is a profound idea.
She went on to say that until we understand the theology of our work, and truly embrace a biblical worldview that allows no "secular and sacred split," seeing how our work truly fulfills and advances God's purposes for the world, we cannot bring meaning to our work.
This is important: work has meaning when we bring meaning to it.
A biblical worldview allows us to see how all work fits into the larger context of God's purpose for the world and our work. The key lies in our ability to "contextualize" the work we do. That is, putting it in the context of the "larger frame of reference" which a biblically-shaped view of the world and our work provides. This is how to bring meaning to work.
We'll explore this in detail over the next few posts.
The amazing thing is, the biblical context provides as much meaning for retail clerks and taxi cab drivers as it does for CEOs and college professors.
To hear part of my interview with Bonnie Wurzbacher, play the video below:
If the video does not play, click here: http://youtu.be/PRdpT-KZv_4