Reverb10

From their website:

Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Use the end of your year as an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10 – and the 31 prompts our authors have created for you – you’ll have support on your journey.

I learned about Reverb10 from Rebecca Thorman’s blog, Modite. She wrote a thoughtful response to their first prompt:

Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

She chose “confidence” – mojo – for the former and “follow-through” for the latter.

My “one word” would be: Arbejdsglaede.

It’s pronounced: ah-bites-gleh-the. I’ve just learned it. It’s Danish meaning “happiness-work” or “happiness at work.” According to Chief Happiness Officer, Alexander Kjerulf only the Scandinavian countries have a word for being happy at what you do.

It speaks to a deeper satisfaction – something beyond the practicalities of rent, your health insurance and 401k. It speaks to “meaning” – Is what you do meaningful? Does it give your life value? Does it make you valuable?

“Be thankful you have a job” has been the mantra of the emotionally estranged in the workplace since the start of the current economic downturn. I’ve even said it myself. Countless friends laid off. Scared I’m next. How would I pay the rent? The doctors’ visits? Forget about the 401k – How would I pay my kids school? Future?

There is the ideal of Arbejdsglaede – what you imagine “happiness at work” might be – and there is the reality – “satisfaction at work” (Kjerulf’s distinction) – the ability to stay ahead of your debt and take care of those who depend on you fiscally.  I’d like to think that in practice Arbejdsglaede is not a decision between the two but the balance of the two.

Arbejdsglaede would be my one word for both the past year and the year ahead because I love what I do but don’t always like who I do it for and because I hope the year ahead would offer signs of fruition and success.

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