Sunday, 3 June 2012

Why work?

They say that work defines you,
But is that ok by you?
It wasn't ok by me,
Until I thought, maybe it should be.

Buddhists see work as an outlet,
For creativity, innovation, effort.
A rewarding experience that makes life,
Whole, allows you to keep a family and wife.

They say 'If you do a job you love,
You'll never work another day'.
But could this true I wondered?
As all around me advertising thundered.

'You need to work to be able to consume!'
The latest car, house or experience,
An iPod, iPhone, iPad, it all,
But what if, I, don't want to?

What if I want to work not for money,
But for the love of using my skills.
I don't work to kill, myself or others,
I work to bring life, end strife, help mothers.

Everyday I'm blessed to wake,
Because I'm inspired to go to work.
I'm inspired to inspire, and light a fire,
And never work another day, until I retire.

I wrote this poem for the dVerse Poets pub poetics challenge or writing a poem around the theme of work (as you may have guessed!)

I made a decision a number of years ago to never work for money, but rather to always work for something I love and believe in. This has led to work for a number of not-for-profits, environmental/sustainability organisations and now the child focused humanitarian organisation World Vision.

I love it.

I often arrive at work and suddenly think about how lucky I am to be paid to do what I love, and to help others at the same time, whether (hopefully) inspiring youth in New Zealand to be all that they can be, or raising money for our community development work in the Third World.

This poem is written as a spoken word piece so read it out loud and please let me know what you think!


  1. that's an awesome decision.. there are far too many people that do jobs they don't love because of the money or they have to to survive - others work without payments in areas where their heart tells them that's the place to be and i think you're really lucky when you do what you love to do and even get paid for it...that's great

    1. Danke Claudia, and I couldn't agree more!

  2. Fantastic....and completely exploring the nature of this prompt. What if you don't want to work for money? But just to use god given talents and we have that choice? I think that is my frustration...the choice...or DO we have the choice....maybe it's just because I'm not brave enough. Thank you for writing such a thought provoking and challenging piece...enjoyed tremendously!

    1. Great to get feedback like that! I think the one of the highest honours that can be bestowed on a poem is to hear that it made someone think about life differently!

      I would also say not to be too hard on yourself, just as was mentioned in the prompt there are many forms of 'work' our creative outlet poetry being one of them!

  3. it is noble to do just that and work for what you love...if only it was realistic for all to do...i have done it for a time but with the economy comes tough decisions as well not for extravigance but sustenance for a family...

    1. This is where I am lucky Brian, where I am young and have few responsibilities and can do a job I love.

      There is, i think, something much more noble about working to grow your family, so I hope this piece did sound arrogant or condescending.

  4. Dylan- that's a great and lucky choice! It is wonderful though to make it while you can, and hopefully, you can maintain it. I also think that if you are able to choose what you like, you may actually be better at it and more successful! I don't know if really works that way but sounds well. But good poem - I especially like the Buddhist description/advice re work. k.