Duke University's brick-laying theologian
November 10, 2010

How do you know your work is done?

Almost Done

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Melissa Rodriguez : September 15, 2014 03:29 am
Professor Hauerwas's outlook on the sense of completeness in the life of an academic is something that struck me. I'm not an educator yet, but I through the course of my studies and observations of other educators I believe Prof. Hauerwas is right. I'm usually looking for ways to improve my work and conveying my ideas; I'm never completely happy with my work. I also see educators revising their work, or coming up with new ideas because they're not happy with what they currently have; they don't think it's good enough. I think the role of an educator comes with a great responsibility because our students rely heavily on our knowledge and guidance, so Prof. Hauerwas is correct in saying we should be serious in what we're doing.
Josie : June 21, 2011 08:29 pm
I think that Fina makes a good point that we must respond to our calling honestly and with joy and openness. I think it's fantastic that your calling provides you with an opportunity to be like this. One thing I don't think a calling provides you with, though, is an ending. I think that if it is truly your calling, your will never know the end because it doesn't have an end. There might be points in which a project is finished, but your calling (or your work) is never done.
Doug Casady : May 10, 2011 03:12 am
I have had the pleasure of being a Brick Layer for the past 40 years. I love the comment Mr. Hauerwas makes about the rewards of seeing your work at the end of the day. I had a work injury in June of 2009, and I am now planning to start a Bricklaying Institute at the age of 58. I would love to connect with Mr. Hauerwas and chat with him about how to get started with such an undertaking. I want to pass on my knowledge to others about the trade I love so much. I'm in the dreaming stages at this time.
Kevin : February 09, 2011 07:47 pm
I can agree with Stanley in that I sort of get this uncomfortable feeling from jobs where there isn't any real completion to the work, I work in a restaurant bar and I get the same feeling cause when you work in a restaurant there does not ever seem to be any sort of completion to the work.
Fina : December 05, 2010 06:40 am
I believe that the most important part of our life is the response to "the call". To respond honestly, with fervor and joy and most importantly without any preconceived ideas of the walk or its ending.
Sarah : December 01, 2010 12:37 am
True Dat! My father, an academic, came home and cooked for us every night. He said with teaching it takes decades to know the results, and with an omelete it is much more clear cut!
Allan Gordon Burstyn : November 30, 2010 05:15 am
Is it better to build something small and tangible, rather than something large and intangible? I would take the small and tangible almost every time. I think people like Professor Hauerwas gain greater satisfaction from the process of doing what they are doing rather than the outcome.
Erin Williams : November 17, 2010 09:10 pm
I've learned over time that when you're seeking to build something intangible, like knowledge or social justice, you're never quite certain that your work is done. But sometimes your particular role is complete, and you have to walk away with the confidence that the thing you helped to build will be taken under someone's wing and mean something to them. So many things take years to ferment and grow. While it's important to be able to measure outcomes, I think it's important not to evaluate the success of your mission solely by immediate results. Conducting interviews for the What's Your Calling? campaign has reminded me just how much people are influenced by their teachers and their parents. While their effects are immediate, they also grow over time, and they run deep.
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