What is work that matters?

“May we do work that matters. Vale la pena.”

- Gloria E. Anzaldua

 

September 26, would have been the late Gloria Anzaldua‘s 75th birthday. If you don‘t know who she is, you should. And, in case you missed it, Tuesday‘s Google Doodle celebrated her magical mix of scholarship, activism, and art. 

So, this week seems like the perfect time to unveil our new tagline...

 Common People United - Work that matters

 

“Work that matters” is something we‘ve been discussing internally for a couple of months now, but we haven‘t used it publicly until today. It‘s a phrase borrowed from the wise and wonderful Anzaldua. In her book  Light in the Dark/Luz en Lo Oscuro, she says “May we do work that matters. Vale la pena, it’s worth the pain.”

Her words were written in February of 2002, in response to the devastation of 9/11. She is calling out to a grieving nation to be resilient “like the moon” and rise above. As she says, “it is is precisely during these in-between times that we must create the dream (el sueño)” and “allow spirit to sustain and guide us.”

While the “work” she is talking about is political in nature, we think it can be applied to work more generally. Yes, we absolutely need big thinkers, big personalities, and big movements to see positive change on a national or global scale. We also need  small groups of people doing work that matters on a day-to-day basis, and we try to surround ourselves with people who feel the same way.

We are so fortunate to work with clients who positively improve lives on local, regional, and national scales. And, one thing our longterm clients all have in common, regardless of their product or service, is a commitment to making a positive impact that goes beyond the bottom line.

As adults, we spend about 2000 hours per year at work. Why not make that time matter? Whether you‘re a teacher, a marketer, a custodian, a CEO, a doctor, a lawyer or an artist, you can work for the paycheck or you can work to make a difference in your organization, your community, or your world — and these small differences can add up.

So, for us, “work that matters” is less about what you do, and more about how you do it. And, it‘s more than just a tagline. It is how we see our work, and how we see the world.

And Anzaldua was right. It‘s so worth it.


Inspired by Anzaldua (as well as a phrase we borrowed from Jill Baughan), we had a dream of adding a big, beautiful mural to our workspace. Thanks to the lovely and talented Andrea Atwood for making el sueño come to life, and to Luz Ashby for giving a voice to our vision. <3