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Excerpted from Your Authentic Self by Ric Giardina. Copyright © 2002 by Ric Giardina. Excerpted by permission of Beyond Words Publishing.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Part and parcel of your job responsibilities is to do Spiritís work Ė to do good."

  Ric Giardina, Your Authentic Self, Part 4

I donít think it will come as a surprise for me to say that spirituality is not exactly the highest priority at Intel. As someone recently remarked to me, Intel is not Ben and Jerryís Ė nor should it be. Nevertheless, for nearly nine years I did spiritual work at Intel, bringing my 360ļ Arc of Authenticity to bear wherever and whenever I could. Interestingly, everyone from outside Intel who touched that arc came to believe that Intel was a spiritual place, and to the extent that I created my own experience there, for me it was. It is a testament to the value and staying power of that work that now, almost four years after leaving Intel, many people I met during my years there are still very much in my life. It was the work, not the job that ultimately mattered.

One way to start your own transition is to stop thinking about your place of employment as the place where you report to work. Instead, think of the place you report to work as an internal process. As you arrive at your employment facility make a heart-felt statement of work intention. "Iím reporting to work, now. I will do my job to the best of my abilities, but most importantly I will seize opportunities to do good. This is my work."

Another way to think of it is this: no matter what your job and where you perform your duties, whether in a high tech company, a bank, a medical facility, a bus, a manufacturing plant, a law firm, a theater, a government office, a pizza delivery truck, a school, a ditch, or a restaurant, your true employer is always Spirit. Consequently, part and parcel of your job responsibilities is to do Spiritís work Ė to do good. If you start holding your relationship with your job that way, you will experience a major shift in everything that you do in the workplace. Most of us would agree that taking bridge tolls qualifies as one of the most repetitive and boring jobs available. In his book, Work as a Spiritual Practice, Lewis Richmond tells the story of someone he calls the Existential Toll-taker on the Golden Gate Bridge who discovered the truth about his work versus his job and clearly made a conscious decision to operate on the work side of the ledger:

There was one toll-taker who met every car with a cheery grin and the greeting, "Howdy, big spender!" as he took our two dollars. He didnít just do it occasionally. Invariably, when I drove through his booth, his greeting and his smile were the same. I found myself looking ahead as I approached the toll plaza, to see if I could move into his lane. Once I joined in by saying, "What makes you think Iím a big spender?"

"I can see it in your eyes," he replied, raising and lowering his eyebrows like Groucho Marx. That greeting was his way of getting through the day, using humor to enliven his repetitive job. Since of course we all paid the same two dollars, there was something about the way he greeted me every day as a "big spender" that made me feel a bit better about myself. I still remember that feeling now many years later . . ..

"Howdy, big spender!" This tag line has more in it than meets the eye. It says, "Iím not going to just do the job. Iím going to create the job." It expresses a clear intention to reach past the limits of the job description with laughter and good humor. How many toll-takers do you know who have the energy and perseverance to do that? Most of them donít say anything, they just take our money . . .

Is "Howdy, big spender!" a spiritual practice? Done once or twice, itís just a funny remark. But to keep it up, day after day, the way he did, with that cheery grin on this face, is much more than humor. The Existential Toll-taker was giving something of himself to each driver who passed through and engaging the world at a spiritual rather than a material level.

Your job is a manifestation of your spirit in the physical world. You can pretend that this is not the case Ė basically ignore it Ė or you can consciously claim it.

You get to choose.

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