We’ll inevitably ask ourselves this question at various points in our lives.

What it means to have a job

I believe that… your our job matters, regardless of the scale of impact. Whether you’re a doctor, programmer, salesperson or cleaner, your job matters. You may see how your aid helps your customers directly, or you may only see the result vaguely. Whatever the outcome,I believe that your attitude towards your job oftentimes matters more than the job itself.

When you think about all the people risking their lives working in clearly-dangerous factories, children working in sweatshops, and countless millions of people working menial jobs because they don’t have many skills to pursue other careers, the world seems like a really cruel place.

And yet, it’s unbelievable how many of these people are able to work in these jobs for so many consecutive years. Back when I was in high school, I befriended two cleaners that had been working at my school for more than a decade. They stay at work for much longer than our school days, and oftentimes have to stay a bit more due to school events. But the thing is, they always greeted me cheerfully.

The few times that I talked to them, they asked me about my circumstances and plans for the future. I would tell them, and when I asked them the same, they always told me about their families and the children that they had brought up. I believe that’s the main motivator for them. Knowing that they have a very important role to fulfill, not for themselves, but for someone else. And regardless of how monotonous, dissatisfying or tiring it can be to do intensive cleaning every day, they are willing to do it because they know that it will be worth it.

You may not have children or a family to work for, but I think it’s so important to be aware of how your job affects other people. And yes, there are always going to be jobs that help people the wrong way. You could be trafficking illegal imports to take care of your newborn, or deceiving your customers by selling overpriced products just because you want that extra cash. The world will always be a twisted place, but your world, the world you choose to surround yourself in, doesn’t need to be.

“Does your job matter?”

I ask myself this question all the time, because I believe that my job encompasses more than my future career. I believe my job is to be as knowledgeable, creative and helpful as I can be. It is not to be dictated by the income that I receive or the status that I gain in my profession, but by my thirst to become a better person than I was yesterday. Sure, I’ll probably have a job that others will define me by. But I don’t need to let that limit myself.

I believe that the way you spend your time is what defines you. Your job is a (big) part of it, but so is what you do outside of it. What you do in your free time – spending time with your family, delving into creative outlets, continuing to educate yourself – will be what shapes you within your workplace and everywhere else.

-Michelle

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