The Work & Worth Mission
In the beginning
A 3-year-old plays with blocks.
“He’s going to be an engineer!”
“She’s going to be a teacher!”
We assign itty bitty humans gender through clothes and toys and teach them about work before they can hold utensils or dress themselves.
Actually, the conditioning starts in utero (which is why I didn’t find out my son’s sex until he arrived earth side. I thought he deserved a little time free of what would follow him for the rest of this life).
And then we reinforce these beliefs over and over again.
Gender binary. Work and our place within capitalism.
And then off we go to school
School and society reward compliance with these systems, and extrinsic motivation arrives to replace our inner desires and dreams.
There we create the problems we’ll face for the rest of our lives.
Less than 15 minutes to eat lunch. > Eating lunch at your desk.
Comply with directions without explanation. > Say “yes” to work without it making sense, doing duplicative work.
Always trying to get an A+. > Always seeking approval from supervisors’ that your work is good enough.
Completing worksheet after worksheet, a sea of endless busywork. > Productivity for productivity’s sake.
Girls praised for “good” behavior and for managing the behavior of others. > Complying with others’ expectations for your own actions and controlling how others behave at work (and feeling responsible for it too).
In these early years, credentials over competency begins to creep into our psyche too, determining who is impressive and why. Who you know and where you’ve been replace what you know and what you have done and can do.
Then we start our careers
Then we go to work. Conditioned. Work, productivity, and commitment. Ambition! How we think about our companies. How we think about our bosses. How we think about ourselves and our work. Our very identities, quite literally who we see ourselves to be, is tied to our work and how we are perceived there.
People end up burnout and broken. But what if there was another way?
What if we could reorient our relationship to work?
What if we didn’t:
Stay in situations that are toxic for us because we aren’t quitters?
Work 80+ hours a week because we want to be seen as high performers?
Take positions at companies we don’t want to work at because we care so much about what others think of us?
What if instead we:
- Took a sick day when we were sick and used every single vacation day.
- Worked our scheduled hours and then went off to live our lives.
- Knew our values and felt confident using our voice to share them with the world, no matter the perception.
What if we could separate our worth from work?
What if instead of associating our entire personhood with our work and the way we are perceived at work, we could see ourselves as human beings with likes and dislikes, good qualities and bad, and relationships with other humans we love.
And what if we could reimagine our very lives?
Less busy, more being. Less consuming, more creating. Replace extraction with cultivation. More time doing the things we love with the people we love.