My pastor sent me a link to his friend's blog, which discusses work in relation to Christian discipleship. After reading a few (good) posts, I wrote these thoughts about work. I saved this post to expand further, but never got to it.
One major problem with work is that in the post-industrial revolution world is that home and work are now separated. When people used their homes and land as work space, both places were of utmost importance, to keep orderly and maintained, fertile and healthy. People depended on the land they owned to provide for their existence, so of course they took great care of their workplace. Maintenance of one's house and one's outbuildings and fields was all in a day's work.
Now our work has very little connection with where we live. Home is an oasis; a place of leisure, where the real enjoyment of life is supposed to take place. "Home is where the heart is," and because the two are apart, people don't put their heart into their work. Our workplaces are burdens; a price to pay for getting back home to the real stuff. This mentality can only result in shoddy workmanship - only doing our best on that for which we are held accountable; doing just enough to not get fired.
In agricultural days, many people owned, lived, and tended small pieces of land. Today, most everyone works for someone else, and people do not "own" their work. Lack of ownership is a problem for which I see little end in sight. If you are not doing work that you want to last for years to come, but just getting your paycheck, your mentality of work will be treating it as something inferior, to be rushed through.
The way forward here, I think, is to find the meaning in what we do, and to work with that meaning in mind. But also, we must abstain from doing work whose only meaning is the paycheck that awaits us; from allowing ourselves to be cogs in meaningless wheels.