For many centuries, the role of husband and father was synonymous with breadwinner and worker of the family. The husband’s duty was to provide for and protect his wife and the mother of his children. The mother’s role was as the nurturer, the homemaker, and the cook. Before we had all of the technologies we have today, the task of enduring the elements and other people and creatures outside of the home was left to men, the physically stronger of the two sexes. Women, the sex with the higher emotional quotient, were adept at raising, educating, and guiding children.
Contrasting that historical distinction with what we see today, we see several big departures: women have become a much larger part of the workforce, men only comprise about 40% of the college population, and many men have left the workforce altogether in search of purpose and a better life. No longer is there a vital need for such basic work to survive. “The Great Resignation”, as it’s been called, witnessed almost 50 million Americans quit their jobs last year.
Timmerie welcomed Father Nathan Cromly onto her Gentlemen’s Hour on Trending to talk about the role of work in today’s culture and what sort of attitude men should have about work given this great change in the labor force.
Father Nathan said that the first and biggest part of reorienting our perception of work is to reorient our mental state. It’s a common misconception that our work is there to please us, and that we should enjoy every minute. That’s a romanticized vision of work. That’s not to say we can’t love our work. But the joy doesn’t come from pleasure. It comes from fulfillment.
“We need to remember that the reason that God sends us into a broken world is to provide His solution,” said Father Nathan. “Sometimes I think we look for a world where everything is smooth and easy. And we say that the biggest problem in the world is that there are problems in the world.” That’s not the case. The biggest problem is that we’re not doing anything about it. It is our duty to bring peace where there is no peace, healing where there is no healing, and love where there is no love.
What better place to start than in our workplace? No workplace is perfect, so we can either lament the issues or accept the challenge of being God’s champion this time. It’s so shocking that men, blessed by God with strength and built for problem-solving and competition, have tossed aside the desire for challenge. Drive and ambition have been replaced by laziness and pessimism. Fortitude and toughness have given way to fatigue and cowardice. Instead of looking for solutions, men are looking for escape routes to the easy life.
The Church wasn’t built by men who sought the easy life, Father Nathan pointed out. And neither were big business and industries. “You don’t build anything if you expect it to already exist. The idea is to go where there is nothing and leave something behind. And every day at work, that’s exactly what you do.”
When God created us, He imbued each of us with a set of talents. Our talents are unique to our own person when deployed with our personality, our adeptness, our efficiency. We are not equipped with a burden, but rather an opportunity to present our gifts to the world and find fulfillment. That fulfillment that stems from our work isn’t relegated to our workplace either. When we do work well, its branches extend into our spiritual life, our family life, and our friendships. It isn’t fulfillment as an employee but as a human person.
While this Great Resignation has taken place in part because of the employee market and the more abundant job opportunities, there’s a percentage of job-seekers who are intentionally looking for employment that won’t be challenging. They want the money but have very little desire to learn and excel. “‘Hey, I’m looking for a job that’s exciting for me.’ Yes, I hope you find a job that’s exciting for you, but may you never find a job that’s easy for you. What I mean by that is, a job that doesn’t need you.” In one way or another, whether it be with the culture, your coworkers, the ethical standards, or the work itself, your job should need you.
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