Posts Tagged ‘work’

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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Bad day at work? 15 ways to switch your mood

July 4, 2008
  1. Get some exercise, even if it is just a walk. You may feel like slumping in front of the TV, but the best
    Green and Blacks yummy choc

    Green and Blacks yummy choc

    thing to do is get moving. Exercise will release endorphins and make you feel better.

  2. Go to bed early. Sometimes it’s just better to finish the day early and get some sleep. Have a warm drink, snuggle up and make sure it’s very dark. Tomorrow will be a better day.
  3. Get hugged. Whether it is your partner or a friend, get some physical contact. A hug will always help. If there are no people around, love your pet. I’ll bet they will love you back.
  4. Buy some expensive, high quality, yummy food and eat it with relish (and no guilt!). If you buy a small amount of luxury, it will make you feel good – as opposed to truckloads of cheap, sugar-loaded food. I am a fan of Green & Black’s organic Darker then Milk chocolate which you can buy in 30g bars.
  5. Have a bath (if you live somewhere with no water restrictions!). Fill it with bubble bath or aromatic oil and relax.
  6. Get a massage. Pay for a professional and you won’t regret it. During the massage, concentrate only on the physical sensations and forget all the troubles of the day
  7. Talk yourself up. We all have inner self-talk and a lot of it is negative and can bring us down. Notice what you say to yourself, and be kinder. Write down some positive affirmations and carry them with you. Look at them when you feel down.
  8. Go dancing, either with friends or go along to a club. There are all kinds of dancing classes available now and you will find you relax more and can groove your cares away.
  9. Sing. It helps – really! Karaoke is a fantastic way to feel better. Belt out some early Madonna, or thrash your head to some rock. You may need a drink to loosen the vocal cords first.
  10. Laugh. See the dance class above. You can’t help but smile when attempting to salsa! Get a funny movie out.
  11. Phone a friend and catch up. Don’t moan and don’t focus on the bad things. Just catch up and be grateful for the friendship.
  12. Plan your next holiday. Dream it and Google all the things you would do with unlimited money.
  13. Breathe deeply. Sometimes your stress will be so high, you forget to breathe which holds in all the tension. Let it out with long, slow breaths.
  14. Thrash a punch-bag at a boxing class. If you can exhaust your body and get all your frustrations out on the bag, you will feel a whole lot better!
  15. Listen to happy music. Make a song list on your ipod for when you really feel down. Make it happy and uplifting, positive music. Cheesy is sometimes best in these situations. Some of my favourites: Christina Aguilera – Soar, Wilson Phillips – Hold On, Survivor – Eye of the Tiger, Chumbawumba – I get knocked down

If this day keeps repeating itself, ask yourself why and write down 5 things you can change so you are not still repeating this day in 6 months time.
Take massive action and make sure this situation changes.

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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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Multitasking: Essential…or Not?

June 24, 2008

Are you a multi-tasker?

I am – and I can’t see myself being any other way as I enjoy the stimulation. But my partner is single-minded and highly focussed on one thing at a time, and this works for him.

I don’t think this is a gender thing – it is based on the way an individual’s mind works.


Multi-tasking is considered a positive attribute in the workplace. In fact, it is demanded of the modern office worker.

You will be interrupted every few minutes by new emails, phone calls, meetings, demands on your time. On top of this, you actually need to perform your job.

Many of my colleagues have two screens at their desk, so they can simultaneously monitor email and work.

If you are not a natural multi-tasker, how do you cope with all these demands on your attention?


A number of books extol the virtues of slowing down, of focussing on quality tasks instead of the constant stream of interruption.

Studies have shown that multi-tasking can be dangerous. If we can’t drive and speak on the phone, how can we email and do the same thing?

If we are constantly moving on from a task, how can we accomplish anything at all?


Should companies encourage multi-tasking or is there a different way?


An alternative would be to have focussed periods of time without interruption that would enable periods of constructive work.


Some suggestions would be:

          Only enable the email servers between 8 – 10am and 3-5pm so people have specific periods of time to respond to email

          Turn on the mobile phone jammer during specific periods so that people are not distracted

          Schedule meetings only in the mornings when people have the most energy

          Have focus rooms where people can go and not be disturbed. Ensure that people get access to these several times a week.


Even these simple ideas are blasphemous in today’s corporate society, but perhaps more “work” would get done this way?


This is a great article on multi-tasking that goes into greater detail on this topic:

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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.