Thursday, February 24, 2005

Seeking satisfaction in life

Readers of this blog will know that I typically begin the agenda for CTE management group meetings with a brief quotation, often from my early morning reading/meditation time. This week’s passage was from Gems of Buddhist Wisdom, from which I have quoted before.

"What does it matter if others are not grateful to you or do not care for you, as long as you know you are full of tender heartedness for others, full of loving compassion for your fellow human beings? One should never depend on others for one’s happiness. The person who expects to secure satisfaction in life from others is worse then he beggar who kneels and cries for his daily bread."

The passage struck me, and I wanted to share it, because I was reflecting on my role as faculty administrator. I recently completed my third year in my present position. My staff has achieved a number of breakthrough results and there has been ample public recognition for our accomplishments. But I emphasized that in large complex organization like a university, a climate of affirmation can often change, for reasons that have little or nothing to do with quality of the work being delivered. It is a harsh, but realistic truth that depending on ones parents, partner, professor, boss, students or “the public” for satisfaction in life, “natural though that is” is to ground one’s happiness on a fragile reed. Recognizing that we must be the source of our own satisfaction, is over the long run, to ground happiness on a more solid foundation.

I suggested to my colleagues – they are respected friends, as well - that we could take joy in the quality of our work, the quality of the service we provide and the quality of the relations that we nurture with one another, quite apart from external approvals or rewards. We need to be the source of our own “job satisfaction.”


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