This is an excellent message by Chip Roper, one of the best current thinkers on faith and work, delivered recently at the New York City chapter of the New Canaan Society.
It’s called “Winning at Work.” In it, Chip hits on two different types of work we do. First, there is work we do simply because we have to. This is work as a means to an end. Second, there is work we do because we want to. This is work as an end in itself.
Many of us have much of the first kind of work in our jobs and in our lives. There will always be some of that. But to be most effective (and fulfilled) in our work, we need to move our roles to consist more and more of the second kind of work.
Here is a great summary from the New Canaan Society newsletter:
Chip asked us to remember when the idea of work became real for us. For Chip it was the chores he was assigned as a child: that was work as a means to an end, work you have to do to get what you want. But there was other “work” Chip voluntarily embraced growing up—constructing forts, putting together pushcarts, building treehouses. Lots of sweat and effort, but no obligation. This is work as an end in and of itself, work you want. What if you think of your work on this continuum, somewhere between the chores and the treehouse? Where are you most days? When Chip found himself stuck on the chores end of the spectrum, it was a signal that he wasn’t winning at work anymore, and that he needed to consider significant change.
And as an aside, I recommend the New Canaan Society for Christians in the workforce (there are many chapters throughout the country, and especially on the east coast).
I also recommend the excellent organization that Chip leads, the Voca Center. You can read his blog at Marketplace Faith.