Ok. Fair enough. Your “Job” is not who you are. It doesn’t define you. You are something greater, something more substantial. Something more.
You may not be your job. But the “Way” you do your job reflects what’s happening at levels deep inside you. The “Way” you do your job emerges from who you are deep within.
You have to ask yourself, “What is it inside of me that drives the way I do my work?” Simple observation will give you clues that betray your inner motivations. Your inner motivations reveal who you really are.
The way you do your job - it is your gift both to others and to yourself. Or maybe its not a gift. Either way, the way you do your work is what you give away and take with you when you leave.
When you work, are you biding your time, waiting for the clock to run out, obligated only to do what’s asked of you? It is an agreement after all, to trade a certain type of labor for a certain amount of time. Maybe it’s you versus the employer and there’s no way you are giving that person more than you agreed to. No way. I am going to come as close to that line as possible without going under. I might even try to not even reach the line for as long as possible just to see if I can get away with it, just to stick it to the one sticking it to me.
There are so many people like this.
Maybe you are like this.
But there it is. The attitude that betrays who you are and what drives you. Did you catch it? It speaks out from a level deep inside that says, “There’s no way I’m giving…”
“There’s No Way I’m Giving”
That’s it. You’ve revealed who you are, or at least who’s in control, deep down inside. You are not generous. You do not give yourself away. What’s mine is mine and I don’t give it away to anyone. I’m not a charity. Only money.
But take the money out of the equation. One person in the back stands up and loudly objects, “No money, no work!” Ok. I get it. No money, no work.
Still. Take the money out of the equation. What’s left? How do you determine how to do your work? How do you act in the world if you remove money as the driving force? Is there more to you? Surely there is.
Remove the immediate compensatory ingredient. All that’s left is the “Way” you work, the quality of your labor. Without the compensatory ingredient, all work is a gift of some sort. It is a gift based on your sacrifice. You are sacrificing your time and effort for the benefit of another.
When you make a gift for someone you love (another key word, related to “giving”), what is the quality of the gift? What is the spirit contained within? Do you make your gift full of resentment, malice and revenge? Do you engineer your gift to fail? Never! That defeats the whole point of the gift. You say, “I am not skilled at making gifts.” No matter.
Skill in making gifts is acquired through practicing the art. Giving yourself away takes practice. Ask yourself. When you show up to work, are you a gift? Will you compose yourself to present yourself as a gift? What will your work be like? Will it be from the heart? Will you offer up a quality sacrifice? Or will your work be the type that the recipient is sorrowful for getting?
Do Your Work As Though Money Were Not Involved
Therefore let your work be conducted as though money were not involved. Present yourself as generous, a quality sacrifice, whose incentive is the value of the work presented. When you remove the immediate compensatory ingredient, all that’s left is the quality of your gift. Is it from the heart? Or not? People will know.
They will know your work and they will know you. They will know you are real. You are authentic. You are reliable, trustworthy and true. You present yourself as valuable. You actually are valuable. Your actions demonstrate that.
Actual value is a commodity that can be traded anywhere. Remember that.
Therefore the gift you give away is the gift you give yourself. There is compensation there that has nothing to do with money, yet it is very real. It is bread to eat that others don’t know about. To give to others is to give to yourself. He who waters, will himself be watered.
You are not your job. You are something much greater. Work towards, within and from that greatness.
This is the Artisan Way