Before the stay-at-home order as a result of COVID, most people wake up in the morning, clean up, dress up, and storm out of their homes with the sole aim of going to work. Now, what they do, when they get to where they are heading to in such a hurry, is a conversation for another day . . . but for all intent and purposes, it is work to them!
Suddenly, movement is restricted and it seems that for most people, work died a natural death. How is it that work collapsed and could not be revived because a plague is in town? For some people, companies and establishments, they simply moved what they described as work online…through teleconferencing meetings, social media and it just continues, using technology, perhaps with more economic and environmental gain, but less structural gain. Well. this is still working for those who offer services…not those who produce things. Soon, the services will be useless without real products that people need, which necessitated them in the first place – the reason for the services.
But what is the future of work when it can be halted by the inability to move around, interact with people and things, as well as deliver lasting values without restrictions? Will what you do as work survive this time or is it collapsing already? So many people are still waiting for what they had to return . . . unfortunately, if what they were doing were truly ‘work,’ it would not have gone away in the first place.
Work is indeed the application of expertise (practiced skills) to address a problem that is local, in a globalized way, such that it can be adapted to other local contexts. Work is first local before it is global. In light of this, it will be helpful to ask the following questions about what you do as work:
1. Does what you do as work solve any GENUINE (essential) problem, or it is just an overstressed exploration of a small part of a product or service value chain or it is solving problems that do not really exist naturally?
2. Does it solve problems that are local to you, in a globalized way? Are you working to solve problems that do not apply to you or your community? Do you need to transport your solutions to distant land because they are not needed where you are?
3. Do you have the basic expertise to solve these problems or you are depending on people from distant lands to do that most pivotal part of the process for your work to thrive?
4. Are you in it for survival, to put money in your pocket or food on the table, or you are doing it because it has become a life calling to you? Will you do it if no money was involved?
5. Do you even have the expertise for what you do as work or you are ever-learning to be able to qualify yourself to provide the needed solution?
If your answers to these questions are not in the affirmative, you are doing the wrong work. You may actually be labouring but not working. Real work has rewards, and financial returns is the least of them! It is fufilling and so you will not be burdened or stressed by it. It is to be enjoyed not endured. . . it is the expression of life itself. If you move from one place to another, it will not stop it’s operations because it takes form after natural everyday living…even when in lockdown, you will still be working, internet or not!
Perhaps, it is time to rethink what you do as work and switch to who you are called to be and what you are called to do. If you need help with this, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below and I will be happy to help [Make it brief please]. In all, it will be unwise to succeed at everything else but who or what you are really called to be or do. Think about it.
You may want to consider starting over if this COVID has challenged what you used to do as work.