Saturday, January 29, 2011

Persevering at Work

As our friends who are residents know, there are many days when going to work feels like drudgery, days at work that cause you to question whether going into medicine was the right decision.  T has now spent nearly a decade in medical training, and there have been many moments along the way when he has wondered if he made the right decision.

T has asked friends and role models for their philosophy regarding work by posing the question, "how much should you enjoy the work that you do?"  Because, to be honest, there have been days, months, maybe even years, when he hasn't particularly enjoyed his job.  Is it worth persevering in your work even if you don't really enjoy it?  Will perseverance today result in fulfillment in the future?  Or is it better to search for work elsewhere, something different, something more enjoyable?

T has shown great patience, perseverance and devotion in his work, even on days when he hasn't necessarily enjoyed it.  We have taken the approach that work is called "work" for a reason, because it isn't necessarily enjoyable, perhaps even most of the time.  We have chosen to trust that, by doing a job well even if it isn't enjoyable, we are doing our part to make the world a better place, provide for our family and provide for others.  

This morning, the Lord seemed to confirm T in his work in a very special way.  T is on call this weekend and by 6am he had been paged that a patient had arrived with a femur fracture that would require surgery.  As he got dressed to go into the hospital, T turned to me and said, "you know, as long as I am on call, I actually feel like I might enjoy going in to do this today."  After so long, he finally felt a little more excited and a little less intimidated to go into work.  It was a feeling he couldn't fake, a moment of giving thanks that encouraged us.  I share this today as a reminder to us of the value of perseverance and for others who struggle to persevere in their work.

"'Just live your ordinary life; work where you are, trying to fulfill the duties of your state in life, 
finishing off the tasks in your professional work or job properly, improving, getting better each day.  
Be loyal; be understanding with others and be demanding of yourself.  Be mortified and cheerful.  
This will be your apostolate.
...When you have finished your work, do your brother's, helping him, for love of Christ, so tactfully and so naturally that not even the person you are helping realizes that you are doing more than in justice you ought.  This indeed is virtue befitting a son of God.'

May God infuse in my soul the desire to make of my work, not a self-centered activity geared to my own interests, but a service that is open and useful to many, done in the certainty that this ideal of service to others will give a new, higher and more joyful meaning to my life.

 ~Selected from Saint Josemaria Escriva, Novena for Work

1 comment:

Right Said Red said...

Thanks for this post! So true.