Tis the giving season. My kids always ask what I want they can ‘wrap’ instead of ‘do’, like empty the dishwasher, fold laundry, not argue, etc. They don’t view chores, ‘work’ as a gift. But, I sure do!
Work has a lot to do with Christmas and Chanukah. Our work creates gifts and capital for gifts. It’s not just ‘stuff’. Work creates products, services, capital…and relationships – with colleagues, employees, bosses, peers, service providers, and suppliers and of course customers.
Bear with me, this may seem circuitous but it ‘works’. One of the Hebrew words for work (used in the 4th Commandment) is Melakah: work, occupation, business, workmanship, service, purpose. Melakah has the same root as mal’ak, which means messenger or angel. Talk about work with meaning and purpose!
For me, work is a way to deliver a message, it’s a ‘calling’. To me, melakah implies the actual work AND its outcome. If we aren’t providing meaningful, purposeful outcomes that meet or exceed our customers’ needs, we won’t be around too long. Work is about ‘thou’ (other), not about you and me. Which gets back to relationships, doesn’t it?
So, as we prepare for Christmas and Chanukah, take a moment to thank G-d for the gift of work and the gifts of our works. When we unwrap our gifts, think about the hands that designed, built, packaged, shipped, shelved and wrapped it – rejoice and give thanks. And, as we prepare for 2012, let’s think about the message we will deliver to those who receive the gifts of our work – and how we can better their work and lives.