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Episode Info

Episode Info:

 

This week we talk about everyday heroes – the people who show up for work every day, doing work they do not particularly like, in order to support others for whom they care.

Twenty years ago, Robert Bellah observed that we tend to think of our work in one of three categories: as a job, as a career, or as a calling. To say that our work is a job, under Bellah's scheme, is to say that we exchange our time and energy for money – and that this is our primary reason for working. We are not following a so-called higher calling, and we are not building a career.

We sometimes think of work done primarily for money as "just a job", as though it has less importance than work done as a calling or even work done to further a career. But this is not fair.

It is important to think about not just the money but what the money means. There can be a tendency in some quarters to think of greed, a desire for material objects, or maybe a striving for social status. But in most cases, people are working for things that can have considerably more validity than the stereotypes might suggest. They might be working to create a better life for their children, move to a safer neighborhood, reduce the chronic anxiety of financial insecurity, or maybe just to put food on the table. All of these desires, and many others, are valid – maybe even more valid than some of the so-called callings we sometimes hear about.

In this episode we tell the story of one of these everyday heroes -- an amazing working mother who provided a better life for her children.

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