Posts Tagged ‘job’

The Pope: 7 key points On Human Work – for World Youth Day 2008

July 6, 2008

World Youth Day (WYD) will be held in Sydney, Australia on Sunday July 20 2008. Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting Australia for the first time and more people are expected than for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Although WYD is a Catholic event, the Pope is an important figure on the world stage, and regardless of your religion, the Pope still has global influence.
So what does the Pope think about work?

Pope John Paul II wrote “Laborem Exercens” as a letter to the Catholic Church about human work, considering it to be an essential part of life. Here are 7 key points from the letter that can help you reflect on your job.

  • 1. Through work, people can participate in the same creative action as God. Look around at architecture, art, industry, agriculture, business, cities, books, inventions, technology – even down to the chair you sit on and the clothes you wear. The manufactured world is an expression of human work and much of it is marvellous. People should imitate God in creation: work, and then rest.
  • 2. More attention should be paid to the worker than to the work they do, as people are centrally important. Workers are not just resources and business is not just an economic decision. “Work has no meaning by itself; it is the human being that counts”. Individuals need to work at jobs they can express themselves in, and be able to demonstrate their abilities. People need to be praised and rewarded for their work.
  • 3. Work is sometimes a heavy burden. “With the hard work of your hands, you will get your bread till you go back to the earth from which you were taken” (Genesis 3:19). Sometimes it is a physical burden and exhausts us; sometimes it is a mental or emotional struggle. But work also enables us to become more human, to learn lessons about ourselves, life and other people.
  • 4. Work is essential to family life, as it provides income and education. Working within the community for the good of the family and others also gives people a purpose for their life. Work can promote self-esteem and a feeling of accomplishment which are essential for happiness.
  • 5. Work should be rewarded appropriately. Financial reward in exchange for work is what keeps society functioning. Other social benefits should also be given to the worker including health care, holidays and rest time, and safe working conditions.
  • 6. Work unites people and builds communities. Unions and associations should be encouraged in order to pursue a common good and prevent injustice in the workplace. Work should be available to all people equally. Disabled people should be supported in their right to work. Immigrants should be given the same chance as others since they bring skills from other countries to their new home.
  • 7. “We inherit the work of generations before us and we share in the building of the future”. Work makes us part of the stream of humanity that continues in the world. We need to be aware of where we have come from, and what type of world we are creating for our children. We need to consider the effect our work has on society and the environment. Is our work building a better future?

“Work remains a good thing, not only because it is useful and enjoyable, but also because it expresses and increases the worker’s dignity. Through work we not only transform the world, we are transformed ourselves, becoming more a human being”.
On Human Work #9

Original Text:

Modern Translation:
World Youth Day:
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How to Enjoy Your Job Video by the author, Joanna Penn

June 29, 2008

This is a short video of me discussing my book, “How to Enjoy Your Job”. It explains why I wrote it and why I think it is important for people to enjoy work. I am passionate about helping people change their working lives, and this video gives you an insight into how to book can help that.

You can get a free chapter and e-workbook
You can also buy the book from my website or from or

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Just Means: Jobs for people who create change

June 26, 2008


In order to make change happen in the workplace, companies and individuals need to shift their ideas about what work is, and what a job entails.

One company that is trying to enable this change is


Why is Just Means important?

The goal of JustMeans is to question the assumptions behind how we have traditionally thought of value.  Both how organizations create value and also what we value in our lives.  Our goal is to showcase the organizations, ideas, people, and collaborations that are shaping the future of business.  In providing a platform where thousands of individuals and companies trade knowledge, we hope to exponentially lower the transaction cost of doing business in the world of social responsibility.  Only then will we be able to create the sustainable future and lives that so many of us want.

We call JustMeans the trading floor for social responsibility.  In the old days, trading floors were established to drive down the transaction costs of trading commodities and equities.  Lower transaction costs meant that more deals could be done, more goods traded.  Back then, value was defined by a price.  Today, it is as well, but there is much behind that price.  If you create a $0.79 pork burrito, does that price accurately reflect the externalities on the environment, labor, or our health care system?  In our own neighborhood in Harlem, 125th street is lined with every fast food restaurant where a full meal can be bought for $5.    As Amartya Sen has pointed out, the average longevity of a resident of certain poor neighborhoods in New York is lower than that of an average citizen in Bangladesh.


What are the main types of jobs on your site?

JustMeans is different from other platform in that we believe that you can create change in all three sectors (non-profit, for-profit and government).   Companies that use JustMeans to find talent include entrepreneurial non-profit organizations, clean technology firms, socially responsible venture capital firms, Fortune 100 companies, small to medium growing businesses, and development project management positions.   Most people that use JustMeans have a real skillset, like marketing, finance, or engineering and are looking to implement that skillset to help grow a business or department.


Why did you start Just Means? 

After studying economics at the University of Chicago, I was concerned about the lack of focus on externalities/public goods in the curriculum.   Value was defined by short term financial gain and this definition shaped my colleagues perception on the role of business in society.  A successful business was one that created short term financial value at all costs, a successful career was defined by the size of your paycheck. 

As a result, I created StartingBloc, a non-profit organization that educates, empowers and connects emerging leaders to drive positive social change across sectors.  The organization started with a $1,000 grant from the University of Chicago and I continued work on it for over four years.  The idea was to create a competitive leadership development program for undergraduates and young professionals.  In partnership with leading business schools, we showcased the people, organizations and models of change that were driving the fields of social enterprise and sustainability forward.    Running the organization was tremendously rewarding but I felt that we needed a place where these ideas could be showcased to many more people.


The companies that use your site include Timbaland, Jumpstart and MBAs without Borders. What do companies like these have in common? 

They all share an understanding that there are many groups that companies/organizations should be accountable to beyond just investors/donors.  These groups include current and potential employees, customers, vendors, suppliers, communities, journalists (both old and new), and the environment.


Do people who work for a meaningful purpose enjoy their jobs more than other people?

Yes.  I think this is just human nature.  People are inherently good.  If you are working on something that you are passionate about and also has a positive impact on the world, you are going to feel like you are an active participant in shaping your reality.  Paulo Freire, author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, discusses how the lack of meaningful work is one form of oppression.  Through work, people become active participants in creating their world.  If you do not enjoy your work or find freedom through it, you are essentially oppressing yourself.


What is your number one tip for being fulfilled in your job?

Figure out what you are passionate about.  The money will follow.


If you are interested in finding out more, check out






Does your job affect your sex life?

June 18, 2008

Yes, it does, in the following ways. This is social comment, not judgement….

• People meet their partners at work – both life partners and sexual partners so it is an important place for relationships. Do you work somewhere you think you could meet this person?

• Extra-marital affairs often start at work, happen at work and end at work

• Online dating website RSVP has shown that 23% of people surveyed have lied about their jobs online. 48% of people believed what job they do makes a difference on a date. Women wanted CEOs, tradespeople, musicians or pro-sportsmen. Men wanted actresses, nurses, musicians or personal trainers.

• Job anxiety can affect your sex life – this study in Italy links job stress to premature ejaculation 

• Self confidence and a positive attitude are attractive to everyone. If you love your job and are enthusiastic about it, people will find you more attractive and enjoy being with you. Do you talk enthusiastically about your job?
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Did you just “fall” into your job?

June 18, 2008

A new survey by Galaxy Research in Australia shows that over 50% of workers “fell into” their jobs, and only 1 in 4 (25%) actively planned their career.

This is not just in Australia – it is a common theme across most Western countries.

How do you “fall into” a job?

I fell into business consulting as I needed a summer job that paid the most money to pay off my student loan. After that summer they offered me a fulltime position after I finished University. I woke up a few years later wondering how on earth I ended up doing it. I have a degree in Theology and yet I am a business and IT consultant through experience!

Can you get out of the job once you have years of experience in it?

Yes, you can!

It is a matter of changing your mindset and believing that you can be more than the job you are in now. One in three people in the Galaxy survey felt that their job didn’t accurately reflect who they are as a person. These people need to actively plan the next step in order to find work that does represent who they are. It takes time as you are likely to be reliant on the pay-cheque from your existing job, but you can escape your job and do something you love. You may have to volunteer for a while, or retrain, or do the work part time for free – but you can change what you do.People underestimate what they can achieve in 5 years. You may set a plan for a year but not for 5 – but think where you were 5 years ago? Haven’t you come a long way?

Set a goal now for 5 years time. Are you doing your ideal job then? What are you doing? Write it down. Dream it. Then set goals to achieve it.


‘Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”. Napoleon Hill

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What do you really want to do for a job? 5 questions you can ask yourself to find out.

May 12, 2008

Some people hate their current jobs, but they don’t know what they would do instead. Here are 5 questions you can ask yourself to find out what you really want to do for a job. Grab a piece of paper and jot down your answers to these questions.   

1)    What did you want to be when you were a child/teenager?

When you were young, you didn’t have to worry about the practicalities of living, working or earning money. When you thought about your future it was not constrained by reality, so you believed you could do anything. Write down all the things you wanted to be or do when you were young, however impractical. What do these early choices reveal about your personality and what you might want to do now?


2)    What are you passionate about? What do other people say you are good at? What specific skills do you have? Write down these things and consider whether you could make a living from these. The ideal job is to find something you love, and figure out how to get paid for it!  


3)    What parts of your existing job do you enjoy? What do you want to keep in your ideal job? For example, the holidays might suit you, or the commute, or your friends, but you might not enjoy the actual work. How can you combine what you enjoy with a different job?


4)    What do you definitely NOT want to do? Identifying these things will help you whittle down your ideas to more specific jobs. For example, you might think you want international travel as part of your ideal job. But you know you like being at home with your family, so actually you don’t want to work abroad. You might not like blood, so being a doctor/nurse is out, and if you are allergic to pollen, you won’t be a gardener.


5)    What do you want to achieve, and by when? This is your practical question where you consider how much time you have and what resources you will need to get to where you want to be. You may have identified that you always wanted to be an Olympic athlete, but you are 38 and a bit on the heavy side. Is it likely you will make the Olympics and do you want to put the effort in to achieve this? You may want to retrain as a Doctor but do you have 7 years and the money to fund this program of study?

Read back over your answers and add anything else that comes to mind. Some ideas should be sparking already. This list will give you an insight into some of the things you want in a job, and what is important to you. Use it to start researching into what jobs you might be interested in pursuing.

About this Blog

April 13, 2008

“I work these 12 hour days, six days a week. Most days I take no lunch, no break. It’s all work. I’m going to end up walking out. I have nothing left to give. It’s like someone pounding on your head 11-12 hours a day. For years. Some mornings, I wake up, I can’t move.”   Sandy, HR Director – from “Gig: Americans talk about their jobs.”

Can you identify with this? Do you feel that the commuter train is making you crazy? Do you get depressed on Sunday nights?

I work in the IT consulting industry and it is packed with people who don’t enjoy their jobs. The offices of the world are full of people feeling the same way.

There is something wrong with the way we work if so many people are miserable.

I believe that people can be happy in their work, and that individuals can find the job that is right for them. Most people do want to work. Even if they won the lottery, they would get bored with golf after a while and need something else to do. It is important to feel needed and important in the world – to feel we are contributing.

These are the top 6 reasons people don’t like their jobs.

  • I’m bored
  • I’m stressed
  • I’m under-rewarded and un-appreciated
  • I’m trapped into the job by the money
  • Other people make work a nightmare
  • I don’t know what I want to do – but it’s not this!

This blog will be investigating these issues and others.

It will focus on coming up with solutions to the problems and not just moaning about how terrible work is.

It will also be looking at what companies can do to improve life for employees, as well as what individuals can do to improve their own personal situation.

It is a manifesto for change in the way we work. I look forward to hearing from you.