Saturday, October 24, 2015

Work as Stewardship, not Self-Actualization

Work/career/vocation has long been promoted and scrutinized in the context of personal self-actualization: will this job make me look good, gain me affirmation and pay me money to live a socially idealized and adored lifestyle? 

Many folks hate their jobs (even though they secretly wish to love their jobs) because their vocation does not fit into the worldly definition of success. 

College is a big part of the misunderstanding. People who do not have college degrees and jobs that result from those degrees have come to be thought less of. They have, in the eyes of society and maybe even family and friends, failed. They are said to have not risen to the level they are capable of. In short, they have not self-actualized to a worldly standard.

All of that is beginning to change. 

Parents are no longer automatically accepting the "guaranteed benefit" of paying oodles of dollars for their sons and daugters to attend college. 

Apprenticeships are popping up all over, affording students the opportunity to go after a different kind of vocation, but certainly not lesser. 

Tech schools and community colleges, which often forego the study of interesting but not always necessary topics such as gemology and meteorology, are making sense to students who want to learn a specific trade from the get-go (and can read about the weather in their free time).

And some young entrepreneurs are going straight to the drawing board of crafting a business right out of high school, with money that would have gone to supporting a four-year degree. 

I love that college is beginning to be understood as one choice out of many (and certainly not always the best choice). The truth is, college is increasingly found to be lacking as costs continue to rise without measurable benefits to the students and families who support them.

Whether we call it work, vocation or career, how we earn our keep (and our training behind it) can become what God intended when we remove the purpose of self-actualization from it. When work is no longer about self-ambition and attaining to a social standard, it can then become a fulfilling endeavor that, while not always perfect, can be personally rewarding, a benefit to the community and glorifying to God.

copyright Barb Harwood

Read on to get a refreshing and much needed perspective on work as stewardship:

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