Proclaiming the Dignity of Work
National Work Commission, Secular Franciscan Order, U.S.A
Ed & Mary Zablocki, SFO, Chairs, 360 Beard Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14214 (716) 838-4178 Fr. Daniel McClellan - Spiritual Assistant to the Work Commission
Fr. Daniel McClellan, OFM has accepted an invitation to serve as spiritual assistant to the National Work Commission. Fr. McClellan, a member of Holy Name Province, is presently responsible for formation for his Province. He resides at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Maryland. Fr. McClellan has a strong interest in the contribution that a Franciscan understanding of work has to offer. This interest is reflected in a 1987 article appearing in Franciscan Studies entitled "To Evangelize American Culture: A Franciscan Approach. " Copies of this article are available by request from the National Work Commission.
Work, Sweet Work
The worlds of home and work are beginning to reverse places. We are used to thinking that home is where most people feel the most appreciated, the most truly "themselves," the most relaxed. We think of the work as the place where people feel like "just a number" or a "cog in the machine," where we are least secure and most hassled. In a new book The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work, sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild reports on the causes of this reversal.
Family life is under increasing stress. Most families have two income earners to get by. Kids are left on their own and succumb to the pressure of an anti-family culture. The changing status of women has left men and women struggling to understand each other and their respective roles. And the work of the home has to be done with less available time. And the support system of extended family and neighbors has given way to the pursuit of economic gain leading many to relocate where this network of support is missing.
Conversely, the workplace has changed dramatically, as the ideas of management gurus have been implemented by companies to be able to survive in a fiercely competitive global marketplace. The lure of the workplace has been enhanced by company cultural engineering tools like Total Quality. Employees are given more responsibility, work together in supportive groups, and receive recognition for their individual and collective accomplishments. Works speak of belonging to the corporate family and proudly wear t-shirts and pins marking the accomplishments of their team, symbols of their corporate loyalty. Of course, the ultimate purpose of this cultural engineering is higher quality and productivity which benefit the company. A telling statistic - Hochschild found that more workers (86 %) rank their work on the job as good or unusually good as compared with their performance at home (59% good or unusually good).
Franciscan Wisdom on Work
"Life is to live and life is to give and talents are to use for good if you choose. Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for power equal to your tasks -- then the doing of your work shall be no miracle but you shall be the miracle. Every day you shall wonder at yourself ...at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God. " Venerable Solanus Casey, OFM Cap.