Make Some Room in Your Heart this Christmas

A Chance Encounter

Dan Peterson was suffering the loss of his wife, Mary. Depression descended on him so profoundly that he spent his days staring out the window.

A chance encounter with a four-year-old little girl named Nora changed everything.

It’s quite a touching story about loss, love, and renewed hope.

 

“I know I made room in my heart for a lot more.” -Dan Peterson

 

And it’s a reminder that each of us, no matter our age, can have a profound impact on those around us.

Christmas can be a wonderful season, full of joy and family. It can be a time of deep spiritual renewal. It can also be a time of suffering for those who have lost someone.

Let’s learn from this incredible little girl. This season:

  • Make a stranger a friend.
  • Give a hug to someone in need.
  • Develop a sensitivity to others around you.
  • Express your heart.
  • Give more than you receive.

“We rise by lifting others.” –Robert Ingersoll

 

Be the Unsung Hero

How Much Time Do You Spend Doing Shadow Work?

Time, Money and Productivity

 

How do you feel about bagging your own groceries?

You do put the grocery cart back in the parking lot, right?

Pump your own gas?

Do you book your own travel?

 

I do all of this. And I never gave it a moment’s thought. That is until I read Craig Lambert’s new book Shadow WorkThe Unpaid, Unseen Jobs That Fill Your Day. Businesses have somehow shifted the model, moving work from them to us without us even knowing. How this happened and its implications are fascinating.

I spoke with Craig about his observations about the fascinating world of what he calls “shadow work.” Craig served as a staff writer and editor at Harvard Magazine for more than two decades.

Are You Unknowingly Working for Someone Else?

 

Define this new term for us: shadow work.

Copyright Jim Harrison; Used by Permission Copyright Jim Harrison; Used by Permission

Shadow work includes all the unpaid jobs we do on behalf of businesses and organizations.
Once you define it and explain, it seems so obvious. It makes a light bulb come on. What made you aware of this concept and decide to write about it?

One night while waiting in line to check out at the supermarket, I noticed an attorney I knew slightly, about twenty feet away. She was a senior partner in a downtown firm, definitely earning a big paycheck—well into the six figures. Yet there she was, scanning and bagging groceries. She was doing this at a self-serve checkout, for her own groceries, of course. Yet she was still doing an entry-level job, one that pays around the minimum wage. And she wasn’t even getting the minimum wage; she was getting nothing at all, working for free. This was the first instance I’d noticed of what I’ve come to call “middle-class serfdom.”

I started thinking about other places where the consumer is working for free, often doing jobs that used to be done by a paid employee. I realized that there are many examples of this, most of which have appeared in recent decades. And that the phenomenon is growing. I started to see that there was a broad social trend afoot, and that “shadow work” was an apt name for it.

 

Shadow work is the unpaid work we do for businesses.