Work That Matters
My drive takes an hour and a half one way to get to my new job. Unless it’s raining or something. Then it’s almost 2 hours. So I leave at 7AM after dropping off my daughter at daycare, drive to central office, work until 3:30 or 4PM and then drive home, picking my daughter back up at 5:30PM. Of course, I never get everything accomplished on my “list”, so I also end up working at night after Emma goes to sleep and my husband is parked safely in front of the television.
Because I have such a long commute, I often listen to podcasts to try and stimulate my mind and forget that I’m sitting in Baltimore Beltway traffic. One of the podcasts that I listen to is TEDtalks Audio and the other is the Dave Ramsey Show which talks about life and money. During one of the latest episodes, Dave talks about how important it is to do work that matters. No matter what the profession is, you need to be doing something that matters to you and that helps someone else is some way. It is part of the human calling.
How do you know that you are doing work that matters?
I personally believe that you know that you are doing work that matters when you are energized and excited by your job. It’s not just a job to you – it’s a calling. It feels like you were just born to do this work. And even when you are dead-tired, you don’t complain and you are still fulfilled by the work you do.
Not that we don’t all have bad days – remember that traffic that I was telling you about? People (my mother, mainly) always ask me how I can possibly stand that drive every day, twice a day. It’s because I love this position. I get to participate, learn and teach Arts Integration every day, all day. I know this work matters because it has a direct impact on student learning, creativity and achievement. And that will impact our future as a state and as a nation for years to come. This is important work and I get to be a part of it. It’s easy to commute the distance when I know what I’m commuting for is going to make a difference.
So how do you find work that matters?
You might already be in it, and if that’s the case, count your blessings. It is truly hard to find the right position that makes you feel as though you are a part of something bigger than yourself and yet it is better because of you. You must seek it out, and must know yourself and know your limits. You must do some soul searching to discover what it is that you would love to do and wouldn’t care if you were paid to do it.
The biggest thing to remember is that through it all, YOU matter. Regardless of your job or your circumstance, every single one of us matters as was stated so eloquently by Angela Maiers. Finding the job that fits you is the golden key to unlocking your hidden potential.
So look within yourself – are you doing work that matters? Do you feel aligned between yourself and the work you do? If not, figure out what you need to do to make a difference and then orchestrate a plan to accomplish that goal. When the pieces come together, there will be no stopping you!
Susan Riley is the founder and President of EducationCloset.com. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, Common Core State Standards, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and Arts and the Common Core.
Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter.