Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Work Ethic and Personal Beliefs

It's really odd, life.

My new employer is a highly religious man--goes to church, reads scripture, has Biblical plaques on his office walls. He speaks of working first for God, then his wife. Of course to my ears, it's all jabberwocky -- not being a religious person. But I like him, and I appreciate his earnest heartfeltness.

But it made me think of my own work ethic, which was likely seeded in childhood by a super-conscientious stepfather (despite his numerous shortcomings) but then was fully developed when I worked for Werner Erhard in the 70's. I took the est training in New York City, and was quickly hired and sent to San Francisco to est headquarters to work in the accounting department, which I later managed.

est was all about giving purpose to your life, and that included your relationships to family, spouse, job, and the outside world at large. It was about making a difference in the world. Sounds very lofty but when practiced day in and day out at the est offices, one began to see the potential for living a life that is not about just meeting your needs and grabbing at your desires. It's a higher calling. It's about aliveness and not sleep-walking through life. Which is what my boss is trying to be about too.

I realized rather wistfully that I have little framed est mementos hanging in my house. Cards and gifts from Werner. Things like a quote from e.e. cummings: "we're a mystery that never happened before and a miracle that will never happen again." And another by Robert Frost: "Earth is the right place for love. I don't know where it's likely to go better." Is that so different from my bosses Bible quotes?

So, today I tried to explain to him, very briefly, that I once had this job....(of course he didn't know Werner ERhard, didn't know est, didn't even really know of the huge transformational craze that swept this country in the 70's with gurus and self-development and enlightment programs galore. Everything from Primal Scream to Silva Mind Control, Impact Training, Life Spring, and more.) I didn't delve too deeply into my experience, but I think my boss "got it" just in the short spiel I made, and hopefully knows we are on different but similar paths.

After all, transformation is in the mind, even the Bible says so:

Romans 12:1-8
Key Verse: 12:2
“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Another odd thing is that an est co-worker found my blog and wrote to me this past week, which triggered yet another old est co-worker to seek me out. It's been decades since I've seen these friends, but it has been wonderful to play catch up.

When you get to be my age, things sort of soften around the edges. My fervor for that which I love and my judgment of that which I don't are both different today. I can co-exist a little easier with God-fearing creatures and relax a bit about just what I think the world ought to do and be.

And I am grateful for my work ethic. I just got another 5 hours a week added to my schedule. My boss has work to be done. I'm needed!


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