September 1; Work Is A Curse and A Blessing: Nothing Comes Easy MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK: 365 Daily Bible Verse & One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful
Chapter Nine: Finance; September 1
…”Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food
until you return to the ground…
|Work Is A Curse and A Blessing: Nothing Comes Easy|
Your Business Professor worked through high school in a maintenance department. I wasn’t a very handy man but I was available for backbreaking work.
I would spy the boss-man at his desk lifting nothing more substantial than a pencil. I didn’t know it then, but I had the easier job. I would leave work at 5 o’clock and leave my tool belt behind. The boss would take a battered brief case home every night. It didn’t look like all that much — it was probably lighter than a 2″ x 4″ x 8′.
He was carrying burdens I couldn’t see and that I would not soon understand. He was doing the heavy lifting.
The work was a different labor. The difference was that the manager took his daily grind home and continued his work. He worked non-stop on his restaurants, apartment buildings and hotels. He was one of my earliest examples of management.
He was a genuine laborer, although maybe not what the United States Department of Labor had in mind establishing Labor Day in 1887 recognizing the USA worker,
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
That Monday is now little more than a day off marking the end of summer where we stop wearing white or a seersucker suit. Labor can still be celebrated but it is not meant to be easy.
Matthew Henry (1662—1714) was a Welch minister who wrote the classic Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible. He explains the Fall and the Curse of work,
Adam is not himself cursed, as the serpent was, but only the ground for his sake. His employments and enjoyments are imbittered to him. Labour is our duty, which we must faithfully perform; it is part of man’s sentence, which idleness daringly defies. Uneasiness and weariness with labour are our just punishment, which we must patiently submit to, since they are less than our iniquity deserves. (Henry 1706)
In our modern times of the Knowledge Worker (who is more self-managed than most managers would openly admit) the definitions are blurred. White and Blue collars work to the same end with less adversity than in years past. Professor Peter Drucker writes,
[W]e have acquired the basic economic insights to make the worker himself see that his own interest requires not that he ask: “Are profits too high?”, but always: “Are they high enough?” (Drucker 1954) p 317
The best employees are managers—of themselves. This may be one reason why Unions have been on the decline. There is, and ought to be little difference in the goals of Labor and Management.
Collective bargaining, where a Union negotiates with a company on behalf of employees, is today out of fashion, as it should be. Bob Briner writes in The Leadership Lessons of Jesus: A Timeless Model for Today’s Leaders, that,
Jesus teaches leaders that “fairness” (in the way the world understands fairness) is not a totally operable concept in distributing compensation. In a real sense, Jesus came to do away with “just rewards.”
He offers mercy instead of justice…
To the extent we can, we need to view compensation on an individual basis through a leadership lens which helps us to see what’s best for each person and for the enterprise.
This is not easy, but the best leaders move beyond a simple formula. (Bob Briner 1997; 2008) p 197
Or, as the giant retailer Wal-Mart says, negotiate your own salary; speak for yourself; cut your own deal. National Public Radio quotes founder Sam Walton,
I have always felt strongly that we don’t need unions at Wal-Mart…The partnership we have at Wal-Mart – which includes profit sharing, incentive bonuses, discount stock purchase plans, and a genuine effort to involve the associates in the business so we can pull together – works better for both sides than any situation I know of involving unions. (PBS 2004)
There is no need for a third party to work for you in your personal labor negotiations.
I learned a lot about work, business and management from my high school boss. His work was never done and a wife was soon done with him. His brother in the business committed suicide. His work was a success, I guess; he made a lot of money.
Our work in management or manual labor is to be hard and is not meant to be made easier. Our toil is, in part, to be a provision for ourselves and a blessing to others.
…”Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground…Genesis 3:17b-19a