Work Is A Four-Letter Word

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Work Is A Four-Letter Word

By: Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE

I can hear the jokes already and most of them are not politically correct. Let me throw out a word that we often don't attach to work and yet I think it is a word of redemption, of contribution, of achievement, of community, and ultimately, of legacy.

Here it is: LOVE.

Kahil Gibran proclaimed, "Work is love made visible". I would further clarify his position by insisting that a job is what you do for a paycheck. Work is what you do for a life. It is that energizing, all-encompassing activity that allows you to bring skills to bear in ways that are satisfying beyond a pay period. It is that activity that saves you from being a faceless number in a mechanistic wheel-hence it holds redemptive powers. It is that activity which makes a contribution to a larger world order. It is that activity from which you sense a measure of accomplishment and achievement. It excites you. It gives you joy. It binds you to a community of people who are stakeholders in what you do. Ultimately, it has a ripple effect and the potency of a legacy for those who follow.

"Ah come on!" you insist. "How about a garbage collector? A waiter? A store clerk? Who is going to love those jobs?"

Great question. And at face value, it seems that not every employment opportunity has such grand potential. Just take the money, leave it as soon as you can for greener pastures. Screw those miserable bosses. Thumb your nose at the customer.

And tomorrow you die.

That's it. Plain and simple. While you are looking for the dream vocation, the better work environment, the nicer boss, reality can step in and your one moment on the Planet is gone forever. It's a reality made even MORE real by current events.

There's an uneasy shift that has taken us by storm and rattled our plod-along workaday world. Many are paralyzed by the insecurity of the times. The terror of 9-11 and the subsequent global aggressiveness pushed us over the edge. With a wobbly U.S. economy, unsettled change continues to bombard us. Mega-mergers boggle the mind with the endless zeros streaming behind a behemoth's financial size. We gasp at the number of employees who are cast off from a consolidated giant. We see plant closures and layoffs in everything from clothing manufacturing to banking. Overnight web companies turn almost under-age youth into millionaires and executives at age 40 are left scratching their heads. Then, dot.coms fail, leaving bewildered employees in the rubble. Wall Street meltdown, corporate greed, and icon-like presidents who crash as fallen idols make daily headlines.

Despite statistics that indicate employment is coming back, there's pain and inaccuracy behind these cold numbers. We are working more but feeling as if we're earning less and living in time poverty. Affluenza is an all too common word. The consistent notion that work should be a 24/7 event is being challenged by a rising number of strident voices. And with those voices comes a cry for the most urgent answer to sustainable success: finding meaningful work that makes an impact and lets us live in the bargain. Answer that plea and we'll unleash a productive and creative power akin to a tsunami.

In short we want to LOVE what we do, who we do it for and who we do it with AND love the life we create outside that work. That's the essence-the Holy Grail-the mysterious work/life balance piece. Finding that Holy Grail is done by parallel processing, working on two tracks. The first track is to make work "work" for you in your current situation.

Wouldn't it make more sense to transform wherever you find yourself-even while continuing to search-so that if and when you leave, there's a faint footprint of achievement, community, contribution and yes, even the memory of a beneficial interaction. Such a transformation allows you to love yourself in the process. It keeps bridges from burning and strengthens a network of relationships that one day you might call upon.

The critical question becomes: how do you turn a "job' into a "work"-into something that gives you more than a paycheck? No, you might not be able to alter the corporate strategic plan, paint the garbage truck peppermint pink or change a boss from a toad to a prince. But, there are specific action items you can take within your sphere of influence. Too often, we expect management to lead us in career directions, to provide us with recognition, to make "it" a better place. It's just like a marriage: there's responsibility on both sides. Using the tools offered by Bev Kaye and Sharon Jordan Evans in Love it. Don't Leave It (available at major bookstores), you'll find a literal alphabet soup of specific action steps to help you take ownership for your life at work

Don't wait. Time is too precious to squander. You CAN fall in love again.

(c) 2004, McDargh Communications. All rights in all media reserved. Reprints must include byline, contact information and copyright.

About The Author

Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE is one of top-ranked women business speakers in the United States. She's authored numerous books the newest of which is The Resilient Spirit, radio commentator, and serves on the Board of Directors of the National Speakers Association. You can find Eileen at


jayati_dattagupta3 28.06.2010. 18:00

How many ways a section of four letter word can be made in complete alphabet? How many ways a section of four letter word can be made in complete alphabet?
I myself is confused what the question was given in this statement only.


Admin 28.06.2010. 18:00

Do you mean to ask, "If you have a complete alphabet listed, how many ways can you cut out four consecutive letters from the alphabet"?
If that's you question, there's 23 ways, since there are 26 letters of the alphabet, and the front letter of each "four letter word" will start from the letter a through the letter w, since the last "four letter word" is wxyz. So there are 23 letters a through w inclusive that can be the front letter of your "four letter word".


Aaron 22.12.2010. 02:55

What four letter word should be expunged in the english language and why? In your opinion, what four letter word should be expunged in the english language and why?


Admin 22.12.2010. 02:55

No word deserves to be expunged from a language, no matter if it is considered too vulgar. That particular word - four letters or more - is needed to express something that exists. If expunged by speakers, well, in a very short time another word would take its place, having the same meaning and probably sounding vulgar, too..


Brittany 06.09.2010. 04:20

What does it mean when people say that something is a four letter word? I've seen things like "critic is a four letter word" and I have no idea what that means. Obviously critic (and other words used in that place) is not actually a word with four letters, so I assume this means something less literal. Does anyone know?


Admin 06.09.2010. 04:20

i think it means the word is dirty or not polite, like the f-word, sh-word, c-word, and others. many profanities have four letters. hope this helps!


Bri Blah 27.05.2011. 22:54

What four letter word can be rearranged to make 5 other words of equal length? What four letter word can be rearranged to make 5 other words of equal length?

Bri Blah

Admin 27.05.2011. 22:54




Pezable 12.01.2011. 06:24

What four letter word should be taken out of the dictionary? Hello, my friend has a random school project about what random four letter word should be taken out of the dictionary? She said it has to be funny and creative. Can anyone think of anything!? Thanks again. (:


Admin 12.01.2011. 06:24


Then nobody would know what came between 3 and 5.


helper 05.02.2012. 17:49

What is a four letter word i can make with the exact letters: D A M F I M G G Q A I Z? any four letter word at all but with those exact letters, i cant add any other letters at all.


Admin 05.02.2012. 17:49



Lil Rondo 22.03.2011. 05:07

Whats a four letter word that involves the Celtics? I need a four letter word thats about the boston celtics or about ANY of players please HELP! Can also be less than four letters but no more then four.
Dont hate on the best team in the East!

Lil Rondo

Admin 22.03.2011. 05:07

Shaq. Leaf. Ball.


China Preggo 20.11.2007. 03:13

How do you personally like to use four letter words? If I'm mad I might go "four letter word!" "There a bunch of four letter words!" "Four letter word" "Those four letter words are a bunch of four letter words" I finally realized B$tch is a five letter word.What gives.."Your all a bunch of four letter words."

China Preggo

Admin 20.11.2007. 03:13

What the "four letter word" are you talking about?


montralia 12.12.2006. 21:13

What are your thoughts about people who use four letter words continuously? More and more people use four letter words that are disgusting and rude even young kids and ond on television sitcoms, movies, all over the place. Regardless of religious belief, I think it is really spreading like a disease. What could be done to stop that? This is awful!
Even educated people are doing it now.

Furstration is the main reason. What do you think their excuses are?


Admin 12.12.2006. 21:13

LOL... I was going to answer like "silver" did.

Seriously... it's the media and lack of education.
Let me explain, I'm not saying it's the "media's" fault, but usually it's that person's upbringing or someone/something that has had a significant impact in their life.

(blah blah blah)

or... we're just lazy and those words can prove to be very strong when we just can't find the right ones.

?Our life always expresses the result of our dominant thoughts.? - Soren Kierkegaard

In conclusion:
"S*it! I need to get back to work and stop f*cking around on this thing!" (I'm totally kidding - all in good humor)



Jake 07.02.2009. 16:38

What does friend is a four letter word mean? I'm listening to a song by Cake called "Friend is a Four Letter Word" and i can't figure this part out, "to me, coming from you, friend is a four letter word. end is the only part of the word that i heard." Please help?


Admin 07.02.2009. 16:38

I don't know the song, but when something is referred to as a four letter word it means it's offensive.


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