The Value of Work

Putting a price on labor has never been all that easy.

Industry made it somewhat easier when it decided that all work would be performed and rewarded the same way, to the same standard.

But of course that was never the full story: people brought their whole selves to work, as they always have. They were paid for their ability to accomplish defined tasks, but not for the decision to get out of bed and go to work each day, or the ability to keep fellow workers going with a wry joke.

Today, the great invitation is to create our own work. That means giving up what we came to accept as certainties: the job description, the pay scale, the shift whistle.

It means knowing when and how and why we work and valuing it accurately and appropriately — even and especially when our labors are untraditional or completely unseen.