The deeper rewards of work extend far beyond earning money. We do gain some financial reward, but when we die, we can take nothing with us. All that remains after we pass are the consequences of our actions. Beyond the impermanent products of our work, the ripples of cause and effect perpetuate eternally. No matter what we do, and no matter what we gain, the real product of our work is the future in which others must live.
Consider the currency of kindness. Receiving kindness always feels better than getting paid for a job. Giving kindness always feels better than buying a product. Instead of working to earn money in order to buy things, we can make our work an opportunity to give kindness. It turns out, people will happily pay for such a service, because they know they are receiving something of exceptional value.
There is no meaningless work. There is no job that we can’t infuse with kindness. It isn’t a matter of doing some kind of special humanitarian work, saving the world. It is a matter of doing what we do with kindness. For the most part, the thing that we enjoy most involves caring for others in some way. We can care for others any time, anywhere. Especially while we are at work.
Our real work, no matter what it is we do for a job, is to increase our capacity to care for others. In order to increase our capacity to care for others, we have to practice, learn, and nourish ourselves. In this way, we do our real work, our practice, when we’re not at work, and then we bring the fruits of that practice with us into our every day. When we show up to work fortified by our practice, we show up rich with kindness, ready to brighten peoples’ day.