Dorothy Sayers on a Different Way of Thinking About Work

In her fantastic essay “Why Work,” Dorothy Sayers writes:

The habit of thinking about work as something one does to make money is so ingrained in us that we can scarcely imagine what a revolutionary change it would be to think about it instead in terms of the work done.

To do so would mean taking the attitude of mind we reserve for our unpaid work — our hobbies, our leisure interests, the things we make and do for pleasure — and making that the standard of all our judgments about things and people. We should ask of an enterprise, not “will it pay?” but “is it good”?; of a man, not “what does he make?” but “what is his work worth?”; of goods, not “can we induce people to buy them?” but “are they useful things well made?” of employment, not “how much a week?” but “will it exercise my faculties to the utmost?

 

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Matt Perman is co-founder of What’s Best Next, an organization dedicated to helping Christians understand and implement gospel-driven productivity. He is also the author of What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done and is a frequent speaker on the gospel, work, and productivity.