Getting over the workday blues

February 7, 2010

Book Review

Rethinking Your Work: Getting to the Heart of What Matters 
By Val Kinjerski, PhD
Kaizen Publishing
CAN$24.95 (book) and 19.95 (guidebook)
US21.95 and 17.95

Reviewed by Garth Roberts
Leadership Coach and Trainer

Dislike going to work on Mondays? Do you call Wednesday hump day? Can you hardly wait for Friday to arrive? Then you need to read this book.

According to Val Kinjerski, work is all about spirit, but don’t get turned off by the term. As the author says in her introduction, there is more to work than putting in eight, 10 or 12 hours a day. In her book Kinjerski outlines the essence of putting spirit into your work.

Still skeptical? Don’t be. But while the book itself is a fairly easy read and the stories are interesting and enlightening, tackling the workbook will take some time and commitment to process. It will also require that you to look inside yourself to determine what spirit means to you.

A little too woo-woo

Now if the concept of spirit at work might be a little too woo woo for you, but here’s how the author puts it into context: “Can you imagine . . . looking forward to work every day? Being passionate about your work? Knowing that you make a difference and feeling good about the work you do? This is the experience of people who have spirit at work. This is what is possible by simply rethinking work.”

It’s a sad reflection on our society that spirit, as the author defines it, doesn’t seem to fit at work. While we may watch the bottom line, set goals, manage work, and manage people (all technical aspects of work), few of us seem to have the courage to release our own enthusiasm and spirit for our job.

Part One, Understanding Spirit at Work, sets the stage with a series of stories from the workplace. While you may grow tired of reading so many different stories, you will understand their significance as you progress. The examples help raise your understanding of exactly what the author means by spirit at work.

The examples also highlight four facets of what Kinjerski means to have spirit at work: engaging work, sense of community, spiritual connection, and the mystical experience. Engaging Work is simply about ensuring your work is meaningful, authentic, aligned with your goals and that you have a sense of well-being. A Sense of Community relates to connection, trust, respect, and love while sharing a purpose with your co-workers. The Spiritual Connection is defined as “the search for meaning, for unity, for connectedness to nature, humanity and the transcendent.” Mystical Experiences encompasses positive arousal or energy, and joy and bliss. Each section includes very brief bits of interviewee’s stories which help clarify each facet.

Living purposely

Part Two deals heavily with living purposely and consciously. Again as someone who has spent a fair amount of time getting to know myself better, I initially found some of the information similar to work I’d done before. However, as I moved forward I found myself stopping and evaluating where I am in my life and, I suspect, for those who take the book seriously, the self-analysis will have great benefit.

Rethinking Your Work: Getting to the Heart of What Matters turns out to be a rare book The farther you got into the book the more involved you will become.

I suspect that many readers, looking for good, solid, logical business content usually found in a business book, will pass this book by. That would be a mistake. Work is not only business practices. It is also about fulfilment. Both the book and its companion workbook will give you insight into how to ensure you look forward to Mondays again.

Rethinking Your Work: Getting to the Heart of What Matters is also available at

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