Being thankful for work

Published 8:08 pm Saturday, September 3, 2016

Work is not a bad four-letter word. It is an opportunity to earn a living while at the same time experience fulfillment. Labor Day is celebrated the first Monday in September each year. It is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. This legal holiday is a tribute to the contributions workers have made and continue to make to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. It started in various states through legislative enactment and was made a national holiday in 1894. Many people celebrate with cooking out, parades, family gatherings and more. It is the close of the summer vacation times and ushers in the fall and football.

As you contemplate what you have, what you are working for, we should have feelings of gratitude. The ability to work and earn a living is a part of our American heritage. In spite of the fact that many people “work for the weekend” or are sick of the daily grind at work, there are even more people who enjoy their work, look forward to going to work every day, and get a lot of fulfillment in their life from their job. What are some of the reasons you can be thankful for your job?

1. Co-workers who become friends. They are fun to be around and make work enjoyable. Relationships with co-workers with whom you can laugh, collaborate and jointly complete goals while serving customers brings unique satisfaction. Colleagues who are smart and happy to be a part of the team energize and challenge co-workers.

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2. Bosses/managers who care about their staff. Not everyone has an awesome boss, but if you do it is something to be thankful for.

Successful teams are made up of trusting relationships between manager and employee. A manager who has the best interest of their employees is invaluable.

3. Freedom to be creative. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” An environment where creativity is encouraged and appreciated is an ideal workplace. Be thankful for it. It is amazing the new ideas that employees can come up with when encouraged to get their creative juices flowing.

4. Perks on the job. Benefits are important and a necessary and critical part of the compensation package. Perks are nice add-ons. Some examples include free coffee, staff lunches, parking close to work, tickets for events, discounts at retailers, special prices for employees on products and services, etc. Some innovative companies allow pets on the job, provide free snacks, allow naps, etc. Google provides gourmet snacks free to employees in addition to coffee and juice bars.

5. Paycheck, last but not least. Getting paid to do what you love is an ideal situation. Knowing the company for whom you work appreciates you and your contributions goes a long way. Pay that is competitive and performance appraisals that recognize your contributions with additional bonuses, awards, salary increases, etc. will keep workers motivated. People will work even harder and be loyal, moving the company to even higher levels of performance.

The Bible addresses hard work in many passages.

2 Thessalonians 3: 10 – 12. “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not wiling to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.”

Proverbs 14:23. “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”

Colossians 3:23. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

Work is a major part of life. You spend more working hours with the people you work with than your family at home. Make the most of it. Many people would love to be able to work but can’t because of a disability. People who have disabilities and are able to work are healthier and happier than those with disabilities who are unemployed. Even if it is a volunteer job and unpaid, people will experience many benefits from the working relationship. Work helps to gain a sense of pride and self-satisfaction while at the same time providing support for you and your family. Work provides the money to pay bills and pay for enjoyable activities in leisure time. Working is good for your well being. New research shows that those who work past retirement age are healthier than those who give up their job. It is easy and often popular to complain, rant and rave about work and the endless stress it causes us. Are things really that bad? Probably not. Don’t listen to the negativity of co-workers. Make up your mind to be happy. Think about what you do and all the benefits you receive. Don’t get on the “griping bandwagon” but instead look for the positive aspects. Approach your job with a positive attitude and count your blessings. It will be more rewarding and you will be healthier and happier for it.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing