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工作的意义

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什么使得工作有意义?
What makes work meaningful?
有关下面的遭遇是一个著名的故事(改编自Ryan,1977):
A well-known story relates the following encounter (adapted from Ryan, 1977):
有一天,一个人看到三个家伙在用铁锤砸石头,就问他们正在做什么,第一个人回答说,“把大块的石头砸成小块的” 第二个人说,“赚钱养家”第三个人说,“建一座教堂”。
Three men are found smashing boulders with iron hammers. When asked what they are doing, the first man says, "Breaking big rocks into little rocks." The second man says, "Feeding my family." The third man says, "Building a cathedral."
今日话题由第三个人的回答展开,那个透过每次铁锤的凿击都会看到教堂这一建筑的答案,是人类梦想和神圣愿望的起源。许多研究探讨关于职业和组织背景的人会称,第三个人从事的是有意义的工作。
Today's column focuses on the third man, the one who saw each hammer blow as contributing to the construction of a cathedral, a home for human dreams and sacred aspirations. To many of us who study and consult in occupational and organizational contexts, we would call what this third man does meaningful work.
对于何为有意义的工作存在着很多观点,范围从马克思主义者对工业革命盘剥的反抗,到宗教主义将杰出的精神引领世人视做这个世界上好的工作--这一切都包括在内。依我看,有意义的工作由三个核心部分组成:首先,我们做的事必须是明智的;我们要清楚对我们的要求而且能够发现做此事的个人或组织资源。第二,我们做的事必须有重点;我们要预见到过程中的大大小小的任务,你看到的每一环节都是团队规划的重要部份。最后,我们做的事必须是有利于行大善;我们应该清楚帮助他人需要付出多少辛劳,不管是拯救星球,救人一命,还是密切配合同事工作以使他们回到家真正有时间同家人或朋友相聚。越来越多的证据表明,有意义的工作者是快乐的工作者,更尽心尽力的工作者,以及,在某些令人着迷的方面,更好的工作者。
There are many perspectives on meaningful work, ranging from Marxist ideas about work that resists the dehumanizing influences of the Industrial Revolution to religious ideas about being called by a transcendent spirit to do Good Work in the world -- with everything in between. I have come to see meaningful work as consisting of three, central components. First, the work we do must make sense; we must know what's being asked of us and be able to identify the personal or organizational resources we need to do our job. Second, the work we do must have a point; we must be able to see how the little tasks we engage in build, brick-by-brick if you will, into an important part of the purpose of our company. Finally, the work that we do must benefit some greater good; we must be able to see how our toil helps others, whether that's saving the planet, saving a life, or making our co-workers' jobs easier so that they can go home and really be available for their families and friends. A growing body of evidence shows that meaningful workers are happy workers, more committed workers, and, in some tantalizing ways, better workers.
从1163年为著名的巴黎圣母院大教堂埋下第一块基石开始(译者注:象征教堂开始兴建),直到1345年教堂落成。你能算出一共历时182年。在考虑到我的明尼苏达维京人队(译者注:美式橄榄球队)到底要多久才能获得超级碗时,这结果还不赖。但是,就我所知,许多参与修建的人似乎只活到30-50岁之间的年纪(据记录当时情况非常糟糕,死亡率很高,堪比黑死病统计数字带来的困扰)。这意味着,它必须要用4至6代的劳动力来修筑圣母院。如果你处于第一代,不夸张地说,你的工作可能就是将大岩石砸成小石块,但你也将建设一座宏伟的大教堂,一座子孙后代在初入殿堂时都会欣赏的大教堂。用这种观点来看工作,转变了我们的工作生活方式,使我们充满了要让生活更美好,更富有,更具有意义的希望。
The cornerstone for the famous Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris was laid in 1163, and work finally wrapped up in 1345. For those of you keeping score, that's 182 years. Not bad, considering that's how long I think it will be before my Minnesota Vikings win a Super Bowl. But, as far as I can tell, most folks seemed to live only until somewhere between age 30 and 50 (record were pretty crummy back then, infant mortality was very high, and bothersome annoyances like the Black Death mucked with the figures). That means that it would have taken between four and six generations of laborers working to construct Notre Dame. If you were in Generation 1, your job, literally, could have been breaking big rocks into little rocks. But you also would have been building a great cathedral. A cathedral that your grandchildren's grandchildren would enjoy going into for the first time. Viewing the work in this way holds the hope of transforming our working lives into an important way in which we live better, richer, more meaningful lives.
从具有共性来看,美国竭力地摆脱经济衰退或重建能源和运输基础设施正如中世纪大力修筑教堂一样。也许我们无法活着看到现在从事的事业所带来的好处--但是我们的下一代会看到。从这一角度出发,你可以看出这是以一个非常有趣的方式去看待一个严峻的挑战,因为它关系到我们需要去做什么(决策意识)以及为什么要去做(有目的)而它如何造福子孙后代(行大善)。
Some have characterized the United States' efforts to pull out of the recession or rebuild our energy and transportation infrastructure as being like medieval cathedral-building efforts. We work now for a benefit we might not live to see - but that our children will. This is an enormously appealing way to look at a daunting challenge from a meaningful work standpoint because it ties in what we need to do (making sense) with why we need to do it (having a purpose) and how it will benefit future generations (serving a greater good).
在早先的栏目里,我在美国科罗拉多州柯林斯堡的郊区我写了关于小咖啡店如何形成社区。在经济危机背景下,这个关于咖啡店形成社区并最终得以保存和延续的故事成了我最受欢迎的一篇作品。我想这是因为许多人渴求的工作可能超过了我们能做的总和。我们想通过工作代表自己,去影响世界,不管任何肤色的人都可以做到。可能是我们的观点阻止我们挖掘工作的意义。很多人对不同的工作抱有成见反而值得研究--花点时间列出你认为有意义工作的名单吧。
In a previous column, I wrote about how a little coffeeshop set out to build a community in the suburban wilderness of Fort Collins. This story of how the community this coffeeshop set out to create eventually saved it and sustained it in the face of the recession has been my most popular column here. I think this is because so many of us crave work that can be more than the sum of the tasks we perform. We want our work to express ourselves, and we want it to matter to the world beyond our skin. It may be that our ideas about meaningful work prevent us from finding it. Many of us have stereotypes about the kinds of work that can be meaningful -- take a moment to come up with your own list.
修建圣地和拯救地球可能并列于如护士,急救员,士兵,警察,祭司,邮递员,教师,辅导员以及其它的,典型的,帮助或拯救行业。但是不仅仅是这些类型的职业才有意义。我目前进行的研究中还包括:
Building sacred spaces and saving the planet might stand alongside nurses, EMTs, soldiers, police, priests, pastors, teachers, counselors and the other, typical, helping or saving professions. But meaningful work isn't restricted to these kinds of professions. Here's a testimonial drawn from research I am conducting at the moment:
"我是个产品分析师。工作这一部份对我来讲非常有意义,我分析大量的--看似混乱的数据并写出报告以便我的同事能够作出正确的商业决策 .我喜欢它是因为我付出的使它产生了价值。"
"I am a production analyst. The part of my job that is most meaningful to me is that I take large - confusing amounts of data and produce reports that allow my co-workers to make sound business decisions. I like that I help make sense of what we are doing."
我会冒险揣测你并没有将数据分析列在你认为有意义的工作的条目里,但是这个工作者看到了比简单机器描述的更多的工作内容。其它人也许做着同样的工作却可能认为那不是人干的活。很容易想像在 Office Space (电影中文名:上班一条虫)中,snarkily愤世嫉俗的烦人的咕哝着说他/她的工作就是“把大数字变成小数字”。这就说明工作对于你意味着什么取决于你的出发点。
I'm going to hazard a guess that you didn't put data analyst on your list of meaningful jobs, but this worker sees how tasks are more than their simple mechanical description. Other people might take the same job and find it dehumanizing. It's easy to imagine a cynical, harried drone from the movie Office Space snarkily describing his or her job as "Turning big numbers into little numbers." The point is that what work comes to mean to you is a matter of perspective.
不是每个人都在从事着有意义的工作,但是也许他们能够去做。他们可以帮助公司,领导者,管理者和执行者弄清如何建立一个有意义的工作区域,或者可以帮助工作者发掘工作中包涵的更深层次的东西。当你不容易辞掉带薪工作的时候,使工作变得更有意义的办法是使其成为一个更好的工作。当缩减的员工队伍士气低落,再不可能有新的产出的时候,赋予工作的意义是留住并鼓励最出色的员工。
Not everyone is engaged in meaningful work, but maybe everyone can be. Part of making this happen is helping companies, leaders, managers, and executives learn how to create meaningful workplaces, and part of making this happen is helping workers see what they can do to make more of their job. In a time when it's not so easy to walk away from a paying job, finding a way to make the work one does have more meaningful is a way to make it a better job. In a time when it's tough to squeeze anything else from a smaller, often demoralized workforce, making work more meaningful is a way to keep and inspire your best employees.
在艰难的时刻,工作的意义似乎比以前更多的需要挖掘。
In tough times, meaningful work seems more than ever to demand attention.
我们会继续研究工作者,领导者和组织者能做到的使工作具有意义的事,以及是否所有工作都可以转变成有意义的工作。如果你愿意分享关于生命和工作的感悟,请考虑一起参加这项研究。
We continue to study what workers, leaders, and organizations can do to make work meaningful, and whether all jobs can be transformed into meaningful work. If you'd like to share your stories about meaning in work and in life, please consider participating in this research.
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2009-11-01 17:00 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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