Speak to us of work

Written by Julie Holmwood

Then a ploughman said,  Speak to us of Work. And he answered, saying:

Today we are sharing an excerpt from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, published in 1923
You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.
For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons,
and to step out of life's procession, that marches in majesty
and proud submission towards the infinite.
When you work you are a flute through
whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.

Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent,
When all else sings together in unison?
Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth's furthest dream,
assigned to you when the dream was born,
And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,
And to love life's labour is to be intimate with life's innermost secret.
But if in your pain you would call birth an affliction
and the support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow,
than I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow
shall wash away that which is written,
You have been told that life is darkness,
and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.
And I say that life is indeed a darkness save when there is urge.
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love;
And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another,
and to God.
And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your own heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy,
even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.
Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep,
"He who works in marble, and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone,
is nobler that he who ploughs the soil.
And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth in the likeness of man, is more
than he who makes the sandals for our feet."
But I say, not in sleep but in the over- wakefulness of noontide,
that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass.
And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by
his own loving.
Work is love made visible
And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should
leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy..
For if you bake bread with indifference you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man's hunger
And if you grudge the crushing of the grapes, your grudge distills a poison in the wine
And if you sing though as angels,and love not the singing, you muffle man's ears
to the voices of the day and the voices of the night.

I would add my own thoughts on work;

Whatever you are doing, do it with pride. Put your best foot forward and throw yourself into your tasks with gusto and passion. Learning to be happy no matter what is a skill worth mastering and has magic within it.
All jobs have importance and every part of your role needs to be done. If you do it with a heavy heart and bad grace, you not only ruin everyone else's day, you ruin your own in the process. That is a BIG price to pay! Too high some would say
If you cannot see the enjoyment in what you are doing turn it into a game. Make up a story that goes with what your actions that makes you chuckle. Imagine showing your achievements to your favourite person when you are finished and them gleaming with pride at what you have accomplished.
Remember, you won't be doing this job forever. But the skills you learn in keeping yourself feeling good about your day will stand you in good stead for a lifetime. They might also help you get that next job!
Julie is the Lead Career Coach at Churchill Brook. She works with clients who are frustrated by their career success (or lack of it) and her approach is that of part coach, part mentor and part consultant. She is available to work with limited clients on a one-to-one basis or via our popular career change group classes (check out ‘what we offer’).

Before joining Churchill Brook in 2009, she spent twelve years as an international headhunter, where she successfully helped her clients to recruit exceptional people. She is an expert at getting candidates noticed by companies and had one of the highest success ratios for CV submission to hire that we know of within the recruitment industry

AuthorsTalk to her on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

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© 2011 Churchill Brook International
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