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Work Is A Privilege

By Erika Willitzer (Featured in the Crescent News)

Erika and Bill Willitzer on vacation in Alaska
Finding Gratitude in your Career

Today, there is a lot of talk about the struggles and stresses that come with the world of work. Between long hours, demanding bosses, and the seemingly endless cycle of bills to be paid, it's easy to feel downtrodden. However, it's important to remember that work is a privilege and something to be grateful for.

While on a once in a lifetime cruise in Alaska with my husband Bill this year, we both found out just how much of a blessing our careers really are.

The cruise ship customer service was impeccable! The crew was a team of people from many different countries. These team members always smiled, went above and beyond, and worked long hours. Oh, and did I mention they were always smiling?

I finally got up the nerve to ask one of the workers from Indonesia what the secret was to the amazing customer service and all the smiling employees. The answer knocked me off my feet. He said there are no jobs where he lives and that his story is a repeat for many of his team members. He went on to say that most of the workers would never get to see the sights of Alaska, unless they were millionaires. The reason they are all smiling is because they can see the sights, get three meals a day, and most importantly get a great compensation to send back to their family so they can survive.

That statement hit me. I love my position at the Defiance County Economic Development Office, but there are days I want to pull my hair out and give up. After being reminded of the privilege to work from a young Indonesian worker, I've had an attitude adjustment. Here are some of the things I have reminded myself of.

First, no matter where a person works-those contributions make a difference. Each job is a crucial part of the larger economy.

Second, work provides opportunities for personal and professional growth. I regularly engage with colleagues and seek out mentorship.

Third, work provides structure and routine for me, which helps my mental health. Additionally, having my career provides a sense of pride and accomplishment, which feeds into mental wellness.

Finally, work provides financial security. Financial security is one key factor in overall wellbeing. While money certainly isn't everything, it is crucial for meeting basic needs and providing opportunities for personal growth. By having a steady income, my husband and I can support our family, which includes three beautiful daughters.

It's important to remember that work is a privilege, not a burden. By recognizing the value of my position and cultivating a more positive attitude, I have found greater satisfaction, purpose, and meaning in my career. So, whether you are just starting out in the workforce or are a seasoned professional, it is never too late to shift your perspective and find gratitude in your work…like I did.

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