Redefining “Work”

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been spending A LOT of time at the new coffee shop that opened in my building. I basically consider it an extension of my apartment.

It’s hilarious watching the managers joking “Oh my goodness, Meghan! We haven’t seen you in AGES!!!!!” as I hop into line behind other customers.

In today’s version of this act, the people in front of me turned around and I played along: “I know, RIGHT?! It’s been FOREVER!” I immediately whispered to them: “we do this every day haha.”

I average six hours here every day (when I’m not traveling, of course). The place has only been open for one week and I’ve tried almost every pastry and sandwich on the menu (I don’t even care, GIMME ALL THE CARBS!)

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This particular evening I was enjoying my nightly mug of Rosella tea and doing my daily three pages (inspired by Julia Cameron’s “The Artist’s Way”). I kept catching myself, I didn’t know how to describe what I was doing. What I mean by this:

When I visit the coffee shop in the early afternoon, I say I’m working.

When I return to the coffee shop in the evening, I also say I’m working.

But it’s two very different kinds of work.

I’ve generally resorted to calling it my “day job” versus my “night job” but that doesn’t always make sense.

I figured I should just come up with a new word for my “fun” work, my passion project, my writing and reading and creating that gives me LIFE and gets me out of bed every morning.

There are already 171,476 words in the English language. Why should I need to come up with ANOTHER one?

Why can’t we just redefine “work”?

Let’s look at the general definition as it stands today:

work (noun): activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result

I am mostly satisfied with this definition. Yes, the effort I put into my passion project and writing involves mental effort. But there’s one thing in the definition that doesn’t sit well with me:

It’s the word “ACHIEVE.”

If I spend every day working to ACHIEVE something, then what happens when I finally reach that milestone? What happens when I finally ACHIEVE the “purpose or result”? Do I just stop working?

Or if I were to “achieve” something and then move on to the next “milestone,” how will I ever know that I have become successful? That my job is complete?

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The current definition of “work” gives us the impression that it’s all about the destination, but work that is fulfilling and ignites passion is more about the journey.

My day job fits the general description above. I am expected to achieve certain numbers, but the work never ends. If I hit a goal, then why can’t I just keep going until I achieve the next level?

I propose a new definition of work, let me know what you think:

work (noun): activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve PURSUE a purpose or result

If I were to write in PURSUIT of a “purpose or result” then it means I don’t stop. My life’s work as a writer and creator is never done. With the clarity and happiness that writing brings me, I can’t imagine stopping anyways.

If we all defined work this way and had jobs in which there was the freedom and ability to pursue our passions, then wouldn’t it be more of a journey anyhow? One where you come to work every day and pursue YOUR purpose?

Sure, working in pursuit of your purpose will involve mental or physical effort.

But wouldn’t it be worth it if it meant we could work for something we love?

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How do you define work? Do you live by the original definition? Or is your “work” more of a journey for you? Let me know in the comments! ❤

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