Martin Rutte - spirituality in the workplace


    Livelihood: The New Context of Work

    ©1996, by Martin Rutte
    President, Livelihood®, Santa Fe, New Mexico • (505) 466-1510

    Work is moving from supporting only our survival to nourishing and encouraging our livelihood.”

    We used to assume that work was a place where we worked hard and were loyal. And, if the business was successful, there was an implicit guarantee of security and lifetime employment. In the past few years, however, a handful of factors has combined to produce a transformation in the very nature and meaning of work. Manufacturing, and now service jobs, are moving off shore. Technology is replacing people. Companies are outsourcing, and there have been massive cutbacks in many industries.

    Now we're seeing a new trend — successful companies are laying off people. American Express recently announced a substantial profit, while at the same time, laying off thousands of people. All of these factors combine to strike at the very heart of our collective assumption about work.

    People go to work to earn their daily bread — to have a roof over their head and food in their stomachs. Our collective belief is that we work in order to survive. But we long for more than just our bodies to be alive. We want our souls to be alive, too. We want our hearts to be touched. We want our spirits to soar.

    I believe that the underlying purpose of this profound transformation in the workplace is precisely to fulfill these needs. Work is moving from supporting only our survival to nourishing and encouraging our livelihood.

    What is Livelihood?

    Livelihood has three components. The first is survival. We still need to eat, we still need to have shelter, and we still need to be responsible for our families. These needs don't just vanish. They still must be met. To put it simply, Stage 1 of livelihood is: “You're alive.”

    Secondly, we want our souls to be nourished and our hearts to be touched. We hunger for our work to provide us with full creative expression. Our gift, our purpose, our “vocation of destiny” longs to be both experienced and expressed. We want more than just survival. We want our aliveness to flourish. Stage 2 of livelihood is: “Your aliveness.”

    When you take “Your aliveness” and contribute it through your self, through your product or service – out to others, out into the world – Stage 3 of livelihood occurs: “Their aliveness.”

    Imagine work truly being a place of livelihood for each and every person. Imagine the context of work as a vehicle for the expression of livelihood. Imagine people demanding that livelihood be the state of work.

    When we consider our heart, our soul and our spirit's desire, this is the work we want. I invite your active participation in having the context of work be LIVELIHOOD.