The Efficient Laborer

via Henry David Thoreau:

The really efficient laborer will be found not to crowd his day with work, but will saunter to his task surrounded by a wide halo of ease and leisure. There will be a wide margin for relaxation to his day. He is only earnest to secure the kernels of time, and does not exaggerate the value of the husk. Why should the hen set all day? She can lay but one egg, and besides she will not have picked up materials for a new one. Those who work much do not work hard.

I love that. He continues in his reflections on work by stating:

He does nothing with haste and drudgery, but as if he loved it. He makes the most of his labor, and takes infinite satisfaction in every part of it. He is not looking forward to the sale of his crops or any pecuniary profit, but he is paid by the constant satisfaction which his labor yields him.

It is a fascinating thing to think upon when you ponder the idea of work and of satisfaction and even profit. The work, itself, is payment.

Now, many of us have contemplated these things many, many times in our own lives and many of us have often-wondered if such a possibility is real, that we can find ourselves in a place where the work is the payment and the “pecuniary profit” is a natural outcause, but is not the point.

I believe that this discovery process, this journey, is a life-long one. I have found myself in situations where I could not say with a straight face that I have loved my work nor the pay that came with it. I can also say that I have loved my work but have been paid a pittance and how that pittance has impacted my ability to do and love my work. It is frightening how interconnected those things can be at times.

Finding that “balance” or that purposeful place where work and love and the labor of that love is in fine tension is difficult. One needs to eat, find a sustainable and meaningful living. One needs to feel and know that they are not wasting their time.

Are you?

%d bloggers like this: