The Meaning Of Work

Earlier this month at the One-Week Job book launch, we showed an advance screening of the documentary. For me, as the director, it was a treat to watch the audience react to the first viewing of the film. I also felt it was an opportunity to share my thoughts on the meaning of the project.

Here's my final speech:

Here's the full text:

At the beginning of the film, you probably noticed a quote from the Buddha. I'll read it again

“Your work is to discover your work, and then with all your heart, to give yourself to it.”

During the entire 2 years of working on this film, I had this quote tacked to my wall. It seemed entirely fitting, because Sean's journey was a journey of the heart.

After high school, Sean found himself at a crossroads. He could have chosen a career based on the goals of security and stability, but instead, he chose to follow his heart.

Even in the face of the unknown, even when people doubted him and said he was crazy. Even when he didn't know where he would sleep, or how he would eat, or what jobs he would attempt.

Sean decided his work was to discover his work.

In the same way, this film has been the journey of my own heart. It was my heart that told me to leave my old job and join Sean on his quest.

It was my heart that kept me up at 2 o'clock in the morning, editing just one more frame, before going to bed and doing it again the next day.

And it was my heart that told me this endeavour had meaning.

It was during one of my late night editing sessions that I realized the true relationship between work and fun.

The older generation tends to characterize the younger as unproductive, entitled, and often lazy. They believe the younger generation thinks work should always be “fun.”

As Sean and I learned during the One Week Job project: there is no job that is fun all of the time. That is, if you define fun as the absence of work.

The truth, I believe, is that the younger generation is actually searching for meaning. Give them a task with meaning, and they will work their hearts out.

So our task, as parents, as educators, and employers, is to show them what it's like to live life with passion. Rather than ask our graduates to accept jobs without meaning, let us strive to create a world where all jobs are meaningful.

From the bottom of our hearts, Sean and I thank you for coming tonight.