Everyone needs a Job

Everyone needs a Job


Even recluse monks have a job – to sit quietly, alone, sometimes years at a time, to ponder and to pray. That is a job – and a hard one. But what about those people who don’t have a job?

A recent study of the neural paths of a bird’s brain, when caged, showed atrophy and an almost complete diminishment of their brain capacity. Why? They knew where their food was – they had no place to go and the boredom of not having “anything to do” finally had its effect. Birds in the wild however, when compared, had deep neural pathways in their brains as they enjoyed the freedom of flight and the daily hunt for food. They had a job! The good news is that once the caged birds were set free, the neural pathways regained their normal capacity which means such a potential continues to live on in the brain. All that is needed is the challenge of stimulation.

I struggle with the reality that many in this world don’t have work, as I witness so much that needs to be done. I think financial support should be given for each day of cleaning graffiti or planting flowers in city parks. Trash is to be picked up, grass is to be mowed, the lonely are to be visited and our children are to be supervised while everyone else is out doing “their job”. Those are real jobs – and the list is enormous.

My teaching is consistently about people finding their WORK – something beyond their job as our work becomes a fulfillment of our purpose and the answer to “Why we are here”.  But geez – if you have no job, we have to back up and start at the beginning. In our jobs, we may find the first inkling of our work – and the purpose that drives it.

I met a young man doing his job the other day. He arrived at the farm to lay out the pattern for the new power line that is going underground. When asked where his flag markers were, he said he had run out. “Well how are you going to mark the line for the trench?” I asked. “I’m going to use this red spray paint”, he replied.

“Well, normally that would work”, I countered, “but there are about 4 inches of snow on the ground. And tomorrow, it is supposed to be warm and the snow is going to melt,” I continued.

“I know,” he replied as he continued his job spraying the snow with a red line.

Unable to do brain surgery there on the spot, I had to just assume that perhaps his neural pathways had shrunken considerably. Perhaps the theory about a caged bird was not extensive enough and should have included humans. The second option was that he works for a Utility Conglomerate that only has “quota” in mind and “getting the job done” is primary– even if the result lasts for only a few hours.

Walking away with a smile and a thanking him for coming, I had the feeling that he too needed a job – but a different one.