What We Leave Behind at Work

Recognize This! – At work, you leave behind just as much as you take away.

Do you receive those emails from well-meaning friends and family, usually with an introductory line of: “I usually don’t forward these kinds of things, but this one you just had to see!”

Silly question. I’m sure we all do. A colleague of mine got one such email last week. Just as I was walking past her desk she said, “Wow! That’s unbelievable! Derek, you have to see this!”

Looking over her shoulder,  I saw this image:

Image Credit Flickr User PeteReed

A typical European cathedral, perhaps? No. It is a cathedral in Europe, but it’s not at all typical.

Click over and read the full story of this amazing cathedral carved into the Wieliczka Salt Mine near Krakow, Poland. The photos themselves are stunning. Even the chandeliers are made of salt.

Beyond the imagery, it was this statement that caught my attention and fired my imagination:

“Situated in the Krakow area, Wieliczka is a small town of close to twenty thousand inhabitants. It was founded in the twelfth century by a local Duke to mine the rich deposits of salt that lie beneath. Until 1996 it did just that but the generations of miners did more than just extract. They left behind them a breathtaking record of their time underground in the shape of statues of mythic, historical and religious figures. They even created their own chapels in which to pray. Perhaps their most astonishing legacy is the huge underground cathedral they left behind for posterity.”

While they worked in an inarguably difficult environment and strenuous job, these miners created something of great beauty – something for generations to come to enjoy and experience far beyond the “product” they were hired to produce.

Let me ask you, what are you leaving behind at work? Is your work “just a job” from which you take your pay, or is it something more? Many of us pour our hearts and souls into our work, for which many condemn us. After all, headlines today are full of stories about companies no longer loyal to their workers, so why should workers be loyal to their employees?

But I’m talking about more than loyalty. I’m offering the idea that – if we already give the best years of our lives to our work, shouldn’t we seek to get more from it than a paycheck and, critically, leave more behind than just a product produced or service delivered?

Shouldn’t we, like the Wieliczka miners, seek to leave behind a legacy?

What would your legacy be? Have you had the opportunity to work with or for someone who has left behind a greater legacy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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