The moral horizon we choose to inhabit

What is the definition of honest work? 

Perhaps it means
a career that isn’t the best paying. Or a project that is unglamorous, but
legal and useful to the world. Maybe honest work is a holding a mundane day job
that provides a living for your family, even though it’s not your primary
meaning container for holding your hopes and dreams. 

Then again, honest work
might refer to a street performer generously sharing her creative gift with the
world for spare change on the weekends, even though she doesn’t really need the

Zelizer, the scientist who researched the social meaning of currency, offers a
deeply human definition for the phrase, an
honest dollar:

Money not stained by its ethically dubious origins. 

beautiful about this explanation is, it’s less about the payment for the work
and more about the posture with which we approach it. 

And so, it’s a concept
that can be applied to everything we do, paid or unpaid, personally or
professionally, throughout our lives. Our honest work is a function of the
moral horizon we choose to inhabit. 

Here are some definitions from my own experience:

If it is not a strategy we use to trick other people into
giving us what we want, that’s honest work. 

If it is not a reverse psychology
technique we pull to convince the rabbit that it’s actually duck season, that’s
honest work. 

If it is not a spiritual jujitsu move that manipulates life
into granting us all of our desires, that’s honest work. 

It’s all a function of
the moral horizon we choose to inhabit. 


What’s your definition of honest work?
* * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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