Created by: Ashley Pinney, Career Fellow 2011-2012
On Thursday, November 17th, Marianne and I attended the Human Fulfillment and the Meaning of Work Conference put on by GST 360. The goal of the conference was to discuss the issue of unemployment and what the meaning of work entails in today’s society. While our schedules did not allow for us to attend the entire day-long conference, we were able to attend the documentary showing. The purpose of the documentary was to explore the “meaning of work” and to discern if, and how, work can be fulfilling and liberating to certain classes of people. The students who produced the documentary interviewed Elon faculty and staff and community members.
In the film, Associate Professor of Dance, Lauren Kearns, said, “Work is an identity, it is a calling.” She also described success as doing what you love and getting paid for it. A community member who had served as a soldier in Afghanistan defined work as “doing something you’re proud of.” One theme present in the documentary was the importance of relationships at work. Almost everyone in the film felt fulfilled by the relationships that were established because of their positions. With Professor Kearns it was with her students. For Elon Club Lacrosse coach it was with his players. For the soldier it was with fellow soldiers. For me, the relationships I am building with students and fellow staff at Elon are really important to me and I don’t think (no matter how much I liked the work I was doing), I could stay in a job where I couldn’t form meaningful relationships.