More than a board game
What will you have to show for your efforts?
I heard a preacher on the radio talk about playing Monopoly when he was a kid. He would buy and build and collect a lot of money. His parents and siblings couldn't compete. He felt large and in charge.
But a few hours later, it was time to put away the board, the tiny houses, the fake money. When all is said and done, none of it really mattered. He had nothing to show for his efforts. It was just a game.
He compared this to our own lives and challenged listeners to reflect: What will you have to show for your time on earth? Will you have made any lasting significance, or will it be like putting away a board game?
I believe this applies in particular to our careers. During the pandemic, many people have wrestled with questions of purpose. They are tired of playing meaningless games. They are sick of doing work that doesn't matter - or at least, work that doesn't align with their personal values.
Let me offer an example:
Most of my experience has been in healthcare and education. In these sectors, there's a lot of work being done that shouldn't need to be done. There are jobs that shouldn't need to exist. But they do, because of some outdated policy, arbitrary rule, or legacy system. There are jobs I had interviewed for years ago where I left thinking: "I don't think this role makes the world a better place. It might make it worse."
Whatever your job is though, it's easy to become absorbed in the game. It's tempting to run the rat race and chase that next career milestone. The money, the titles, the awards and applause - it all feels good in the moment.
But when you take a step back, are you proud of what you see? Does your work align with your personal mission, or are you a pawn, a piece on the board? When all is said and done, will you have made a lasting positive impact, or will it be like putting away a board game?
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