Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Work with purpose

We recently did a survey on the staff of our office on the operation of the office.  The results are generally very positive and improved over last year.  There are two items, however, that bother me a little and I shared with my colleagues my thoughts on them.  

More than half of the staff feel the workload is too heavy.  We are in fact quite aware of that, and are trying hard to alleviate the problem.  Specifically, we are planning to hire 2 additional persons this year, hoping to bring the workload down to a more acceptable level.  

On the other hand, we all know that our office has achieved a lot in the past 5 years, in implementing service-learning across the university.  If we have not been working so hard, would we have achieved so much?  Not likely.  Why have we been working so hard?  It is mainly because, I think, that we believe in what we do, some of us really passionately.  For some of us, work in the office is more than just work, it is part of our purpose in life.  We are working with students in the field, learning through service, and learning to serve.  It is extremely gratifying to watch students grow right in front of your eyes.  We are designing subjects and projects so that students can serve and learn.  We are negotiating with subject teachers, administrators, NGO partners, foreign universities, so that students can serve and learn.  We are raising funds so that students can serve and learn.  We are doing tedious accounting, clerical work, and other annoying things so that students can serve and learn.  We work hard, but the work is fulfilling.  

I understand it is my responsibility to ensure that the workload it not excessive, and I should not exploit may colleagues’ good will.  And I am trying hard to do that.  

On the other hand, is it likely that we will eventually work at a leisurely pace?  It is possible.  But then, I do not think we would have achieved as much in such a short time, and the work might not be as fulfilling.  In the balance, I believe it is better to have a purpose, and to work very hard - rather than to work at a leisurely pace, living a comfortable life, with no particular purpose.  Perhaps there is a way to achieve both, to living a fulfilling life without exerting ourselves,  

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