Vince Imbat

My workview

Nov 22, 2022

Work, in its essence, is simply Action. I perform different kinds of work, but some of them are closer to the meaning of my life. This kind of work might be aptly called a vocation. My vocation doesn’t have to be something that pays me. I believe that Some important work have to be done even if they are not profitable.

That said, I could not neglect the fact that I live in a predominantly exchange society, which necessitates that I find myself work that produces money that I can use to pay for my needs. I call this work a “livelihood” or “bread labor.” Balancing these two kinds of work is a reality that artists like me need to embrace and navigate. There are different ways to do this:

  1. I could make my vocation and job totally separate.
  2. I could build a patronage that supports my art.
  3. I could turn some parts of my vocation into an income-generating source, while maintaining integrity of my vocation.
  4. I could live a life of intentional poverty.

However I choose to balance vocation and livelihood, I should always maintain integrity. The day job, business, or patronage I find or build to support my vocation must align, integrate, and ideally support my vocation beyond just material sustenance. This will help me continue working to support my vocation, which is essential if I don’t want to corrupt it by forcing it to make money for me. This means that whatever work I do at whatever level of importance to myself, it should always align to my values. At the very minimum a great livelihood must have two to three of the following criteria:

  1. Provides enough income that I need to get by (and, if possible, extra benefits).
  2. Has a flexible working time that I am able to chosen when to work and for how much, which save and frees up time that I can use for my vocation.
  3. It conserves (and does not steal from) the energy I ought to use for my vocation.
  4. It is enjoyable.
  5. It is aligned with my vocation.
  6. It allows me access to training and equipment I can use to advance my vocation.
  7. It provides opportunities for me to connect with people that could help advance my vocation.

However, I am aware that fulfilling these criteria is not always possible. Sometimes, I need to compromise them to cover my other values like fulfilling my material needs or supporting a family. I could compromise sometimes but doing so while recognizing that any compromise could lead to possible drawbacks in the future.

Meanwhile, a compromise (i.e., taking work that is not that aligned with my vocation and that I don’t fully enjoy) can be transformed by a mindset shift. Instead of seeing bread labor as a nuisance that takes me away from my vocation, I need to treat it with the same sacredness that I treat my vocation. Thich Nhat Hanh said, “The feeling that any task is a nuisance will soon disappear if it is done in mindfulness.” This mindfulness, this quality of action, is the attitude that I need to cultivate in everything I do, whether it is more aligned to my joy or not. Everything, every tiny task and action is part of my life work. I should stop looking at my livelihodd as simply something that provides money, especially when it satisfies two to three important critera indicated above.

My choice of work affects my entire personhood, both body and mind. Therefore, I want work that can also be restorative not just to me but to those who receive the fruits of my labor. I want to do work with a direct impact to its receivers, so that I could see my work immediately making a difference. In short, work has to provide an avenue to experience and create a meaningful life.

To do