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The changing world of work

Today's article on Christian Science Originally printed as an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel

If you think the span of three generations is a long time, think again. In just over a year's time, some folks have happily made the transition from working with one generation of personal computers - the bulky, desktop kind - to the lighter, more mobile laptop, to the totally portable handheld device. Now able to read, write, do research, or communicate electronically anywhere, they've found a little more time to give to some of those wish list items we all have.

Computers aren't the only things being transformed in the world of work. So is the very nature of work itself. Time magazine recently asked: "A decade ago, who would have guessed that Web designer would be one of the hottest jobs of 2000?" Also, some businesses have stopped thinking simply in terms of employers and employees, and instead started to treat people as remarkable assets, requiring investment and love.

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Then there's the forward-looking business consultant Charles Handy, who suggests that if work is defined as activity - some of which we are paid for - then our life becomes our work. And then terms like retirement or unemployment no longer apply to us in the way they once did.

How does one prepare for whatever changes may come to the workplace? For one thing, it helps to be flexible. Change is inevitable. There isn't progress without it. People who understand this won't allow themselves to become prisoners of the status quo. They'll realize that change is an opportunity for learning. They'll stop thinking of it as an unwanted, unnecessary event, and start thinking of it as a time to grow.

A vital help during times of transition is to have a firmly grounded faith, one that rests on an understanding of what God is causing. God is the cause of genuine progress. We can feel secure because God has enacted a law of progress. Even when we see the world around us changing so rapidly, we can expect good things to come our way constantly from God. The prophet Isaiah said he received this message from God: "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?" (43:19)

When change comes to the workplace - a place where we spend long hours and may have grown very attached to a particular routine and surrounding - we might not welcome such change as progressive. Instead, we ask:

"Why now?"

"What's wrong with the way we've always done things?"

"How will this affect my life?"

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We may react as though change were synonymous with uncertainty rather than with advancement.

But if we ask, "What is God causing?" (in you, and in me, and throughout the whole universe) we'll discover new possibilities for learning, unexpected opportunities for development, and, at a deeper level, even the continuity that we are searching for.

In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" - what could be called a textbook for spiritual progress - author Mary Baker Eddy said, "Spiritual causation is the one question to be considered, for more than all others spiritual causation relates to human progress" (pg. 170).

When considering this question, remember that the cause we're talking about - God - is totally loving and intelligent. Good and productive ideas come from God. So do adaptability, wisdom, fresh energy, care, inspiration, and freedom. The message Isaiah heard from God, mentioned above, still reassures us: "These are the things I cause. You have nothing to fear."

With the pace of change increasing as it is, is it possible to keep in mind what God is causing? Yes, if we consistently look to and put our faith in the progressive, loving, and all-inclusive action of God. Doing this, we can be confident, flexible, calm; and we'll discover how the law of spiritual advancement that is God's own law governs us in times of transition.

If any man be in Christ,

he is a new creature:

old things are passed away; behold, all things

are become new.

II Corinithians 5:17

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society


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