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This post is part-4 of a series of ten essays on the essence of work. For an introduction, check here.

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Innovators and Change Agents are probably the most frustrated people in a company’s workforce.

That is because they care. That is because they refuse to look at their work “as a job”, and refuse just “to live with it” or “get over it”

seth godin

Seth Godin recently posted a short post “In search of your calling” in essence about “What is your caring?” in stead of “What is your calling”

I don’t think we have a calling.

I do think it’s possible to have a caring.

A calling implies that there’s just one thing for you, just one thing you’re supposed to do.

What we most need in our lives, though, is something worth doing,

worth it because we care.

There are plenty of forces pushing us to not care.

Bosses, systems, bureaucracies and the fear of mattering.

None of them are worth sacrificing something as important as caring.

And elsewhere on his blog

Caring is unpredictable, hard to command and regulate and sometimes expensive in the short run.

When your organization punishes people for caring, don’t be surprised when people stop caring.

When you free your employees to act like people (as opposed to cogs in a profit-maximizing efficient machine)

then the caring can’t help but happen.

Caring is about making interventions at a dimension of societal progress, the dimension of meaning making, the dimension of societal context, and the dimension of sense making.

Ocean Atlas Jason deCaires Taylor

Artwork: Ocean Atlas Jason deCaires Taylor

Caring is the higher and deeper dimension after purpose, objectives and tactics.

Caring gets closer to needs.

Purpose is closer to intention and beliefs, and values

Objectives are closer to outcomes

Tactics are closer to building to spec, read instructions and apply them

The ambition is to find a “Life worked well”, where needs, purpose, objectives and tactics of the individual and the organization are maximum aligned and self-enforcing. A “Life worked well” is growing on the ladder of:

Caring

Calling

Passion

Job

Once your reach the caring dimension, you don’t want to go back. Design serendipities with others who care. Avoid the people who try to reduce your caring back into thinking about your work as a job. They are in a different belief system. Have empathy, take note, but move on and continue on your path to greatness.

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