New year a good time to examine how humanity intersects with work

 Assistant minister at Christ Church and NewsWorks blogger, Susan Richardson (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Assistant minister at Christ Church and NewsWorks blogger, Susan Richardson (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Susan Richardson started off the new year introducing “Human at Work” to WHYY’s radio audience with interviews on “Morning Edition” and “NewsWorks Tonight.”

She explained that the intent of the blog is to create a space to talk about the ways in which we bring our full humanity to work and how work impacts our full humanity. The blog aims to be a place to dig into that topic in a way that’s relevant to people, regardless of their occupation or workplace situation. 

Ultimately, we all want to feel like we’re getting what we need in these areas of our lives and not like we’re sacrificing too much of one for the other. While there’s always some degree of sacrifice or adapting, says Richardson, too much means that the balance between work life and personal life is probably heading off track.

So the new year can be a good time to start asking questions about how our 24/7 humanity interacts with whatever the work is in our lives, who we are on the job, and what we bring home from the workplace.

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In mapping out how you want it to be, she said, it helps to look at your relationship with your work like a relationship with a person. Both require some thoughtfulness and periodic reassessment. It’s important to notice how your work feels for you, how much you feel connected to your job, how much it nourishes your understanding of yourself.

Start by asking questions that are as simple and grounded as possible looking back into the recent past, she said. Trust what comes up, and then ask how you feel about it. Was it a positive or negative experience? What shut you down or turned you on?

Then, looking toward the year ahead, think about how you would like it to feel different, how you would like to be different. It’s as much about identity as it is about action, said Susan. If it felt good, is it because of who you were able to be or what you were able to do? And how can you be that in more ways going forward? 

There may not be a profound revelation, she admits, but it might reveal some small steps that can help bring you closer to a work experience that is more life-giving, something that makes you feel more like yourself and more like who you want to be, and maybe to see a little less of what we don’t want to be.

Do you have a workplace issue you would like to examine in the blog? Email Susan at

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