June 14, 2021

It’s a bit taboo to talk about love in the workplace. But that’s exactly what we felt after a recent team meeting. Let me explain.


I led a conversation to discuss why we’re “bankies” individually and to reflect on the purpose of Riverbank as a whole. Abundant research shows that purpose fuels us individually and collectively (subscription required). In preparing the meeting, I suggested that people consider Amy Wrzesniewski’s categories in “Jobs, Careers, and Callings” to help them think about what they’re seeking from their involvement with Riverbank. These categories help us see the role our work plays in our lives through different lenses.


For some people, “job” might include, “it helps pay the bills.”


“Career” might be, “I get to use my skills in engaging and progressively challenging ways.”


“Calling” might be, “I make an impact on peoples’ lives.”


All of these categories and reasons are valid, as they are just different lenses through which we can consider the meaning of work.


It was a fascinating discussion, in part because most of the participants no longer have to work for financial reasons anymore. Riverbank deliberately recruits recently retired senior executives who want to include meaningful work as a part of the way they spend their time now that they’re no longer responsible for large profit and loss statements (P&Ls) and thousands of employees. So, if not to pay the bills, why would they spend their time this way?


Everyone had their unique reasons for being involved. The authenticity of the conversation was inspiring. Some noted their desire to continue making a positive difference in the world. They want to spend more time with kids and grandkids, or traveling — but not all of their time. Others noted they enjoyed the continued intellectual stimulation of continuing work, but with much more flexibility than holding a top executive job enables.


However, the dominant theme in the conversation was the camaraderie that people felt within the Riverbank community. People expressed genuine warmth and affection for each other as human beings. There’s such joy in collaborating, creating and interacting with people who you truly like.

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