Oh No… I can see a really corny pun coming…. But bear with me!
The Yamim Noraim are coming – and that means it’s time for some teshuva. Since our professional lives are so central to our existence, we shouldn’t neglect to do teshuva in this area too.
As Rabbi Yisrael Salanter said: “Worry about other people’s Gashmiyus (physical or financial well-being) and your own Ruchniyus (spiritual well-being).” At least I think that was Rabbi Yisrael Salanter… it’s been a long time since I left seminary.
I don’t know about you, but as I get older I worry about my Gashmiyus more, because it seems to be having a greater impact on my Ruchniyus. There are lots of aspects of my business that have an impact: long hours; financial strains; a cluttered desk; long commutes; lack of a suitable work wardrobe; lack of exercise while sitting at my desk; and lots more. At various times, different aspects of professional situation have impacted my relationships, my wellbeing and my connection with G-d in a big way.
That’s why I took a photo of this new public bench that they just installed on my street. This humble bench has been a big help for a lot the local residents. Pregnant women can sit there while they wait for their children’s school bus,and the elderly and disabled rest there on their way to the bus stop or local store. More to the point, much friendly neighborly schmoozing has been facilitated by the presence of our new bench, and it is standing-room only when all the mothers and children gather there in the late afternoon.
Really, it’s amazing what the impact of this simple, unremarkable bench has been. One simple change can have a big impact in our lives too.
Unfortunately, just because a change is “merely physical,” it doesn’t mean it’s easy or quick to achieve. Actually, my neighbor called the Jerusalem Municipality to request a bench regularly over a period of about two years before it finally appeared. In my own life, I see that I also find it hard to take those simple steps in my professional life that would make a big difference for me. For example, I recently moved my office out of my home – and that is a goal that I have been considering, wanting and planning for five years!
But now that I’ve done it, I can see the huge impact it’s having on every area of my life!
So here is my Rosh Hashanah thought: what is one single change that I could make in my work circumstances that would make a dramatic positive impact on my New Year?
Shana Tova to All!