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Some things, some activities or some places can be considered sacred if they connect to the divine. The word’s history says it is so, you can read it here. It also says, though, that something is sacred when it is highly valued and important, such as a “sacred responsibility.”

I also think of sacred in terms of actions that create moments in life that are precious, memorable, and which change people or things in a significant way. I was actually reminded of that at lunch last week with two of my colleagues in our Power and Values work. Thanks to an amazing woman, well they both were amazing, but Bryn Johnson is the one to whom I owe this special – dare I say sacred – moment in our conversation.

Let’s approach this situation this way: What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the words: “HR Department.” (It’s okay to stop cringing now.) Getting fired? Rated? Filing a complaint? Endless reams of paperwork? I have not done a survey, but I’m pretty sure those are among the top reactions.

What else do HR Departments, and in particular HR Specialists do in their daily work? They may well do all the things I mentioned above, and they also are in the business of changing lives, fulfilling dreams and creating futures. And so when I was having lunch with Bryn, she mentioned her professional history and that she does, among a number of things, recruiting for different companies as part of HR work. She explained to us how she sees her work as changing lives in the best sense of that word.  

My “aha” from that conversation was to see in her work, and that specific task, the sacred. What can be more sacred -- highly valued and important -- than giving someone the opportunity to start or further a career? It is also refreshing to witness in Bryn the recognition of the importance of what she does for “work,” and especially what happens in those moments. There is no doubt that in the HR work, like in any work, there are routine and mundane and often difficult tasks and times; it is why these sacred tasks are so important: They not only involve fulfilling dreams of others, they also feed our own souls and energy.  

What are sacred tasks that exist in your work? It is important to find them, because in a real sense everything else in work – paper work, long hours, bad bosses, etc. etc. – are just the price we pay for those moments when we find that we have been able to do something that changes one life – and maybe even the world.

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