Venture With Virtue Guest Podcast
I enjoyed spending time recently with Jay Tramonte, host of the Venture with Virtue Podcast. I might have had a bit too much caffeine before the interview, but I hope the content came out well.
Here are Jay's notes from our interview:
“I never really left the faith, but just became kind of apathetic.”
Making Sense of Work
Our work can be a confusing thing. While puzzling through it, David was often frustrated and sometimes still is. In hindsight though, it’s all by design.
This part of David’s journey began after he had started a flight training business that was growing and doing well. He had also just had first child. Then he started asking questions like…
What do I do with these hours in the day?
How do I make the most of them?
How do I make them what God wants them to be?
David had a hard time finding answers in the Church, so he asked others. Some people would tell him things like, business is a little bit dirty or negative, but someone has to do it, so it must be okay.
Others answered that he needed to work to make money to provide for his family. And some would tell him that if he did well with work and made a lot of money, he could give it away to help the Church. This made sense, but he wasn’t satisfied.
“Surely there is more.”
So, David started Googling and found three things that helped reconcile the dissonance he was hearing.
First was a book by Tom Woods called The Church and the Market. The second thing was the Acton Institute, an academic think tank that explores the proper role of the business person and their faith.
David also discovered a Vatican II document called Gaudium et Spes, which shed more light on the proper role of work in our lives.
The mandate for man to “subject to himself the earth and all it contains, and to govern the world with justice and holiness…concerns the whole of everyday activity as well.” For, “while providing the substance of life for themselves and their families, men and women are performing their activities in a way which appropriately benefits society. They can justly consider that by their labor they are unfolding the Creator’s work…and are contributing by their personal industry to the realization in history of the divine plan.”
Through our work we not only provide for ourselves and our families, but can also benefit society when it is done in a good way.
When we go to work, it’s not just for a paycheck. Through our work we actually contribute to God’s divine plan.
Often times we think in order for work to be good work, it has to be non-profit. However, this is a misconception. Business can be good work as well.
A business is the ultimate community service. As an entrepreneur or business owner, you have to be thinking of others if you want to be successful, let alone survive. You have to make and sell things people want and need and you have to do it at a better price point than they could do it on their own. If not, you find out quickly that you aren’t providing a community service and are out of business.
In Practice – Monday Morning
Participating in the Creator’s plan starts with a mindset. This is important because it helps govern how we communicate with others in the workplace.
When a challenge arises at work with a colleague or teammate and someone is frustrated, we can take extra time to be more communicative. This helps us to stop and recognize the dignity of the other person.
Many times it is easy for us to send short curt one word or one sentence emails. Instead, taking a few extra seconds to write a few extra sentences, can make all the difference in how the recipient feels treated and valued. Anything we can do to keep a human level of communication, is a great start.
At the same time, if we are not able to serve that person, we should let them know.
The Question Every Employee Should Ask
What is the purpose of this organization?
Every employee should ask this question because it helps to know if their employer sees their work as participating in the Creator’s plan.
The Hard Call
What happens if after you ask that question, you discover your employer’s vision of work isn’t helping unfold God’s plan? You quit. It’s a very difficult decision, but one David had to make personally. Every time it has happened for David, God always opened a new and better door.
Work is a Good Thing – John Paul II
“If one wishes to define more clearly the ethical meaning of work, it is this truth that one must particularly keep in mind. Work is a good thing for man – a good thing for his humanity – because through work man not only transforms nature, adapting it to his own needs, but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being and indeed, in a sense, becomes ‘more a human being.’”
In Genesis, work existed before the fall of man. Adam and Eve worked in the Garden of Eden before the fall. Work wasn’t a curse of the fall.
“Work is part of the way we transform society.”
One of the mandates man was given in Genesis was to develop the earth. Our work is part of the way we do that. As we do our work, we become more like what God created us to be. God gave all of us talents, interests and passions as part of his plan for us. When we harvest those gifts to their potential and put them to work to create more justice and prosperity in the world, it makes us more human and fulfilled.
How do you find meaning and purpose with work in the midst of the grind?
For David, he simply tries to take a step back and “offer it up” to God as a prayer. Other times David thought he was unfolding God’s work, but nothing was going right. At these points, he takes a time out for prayer. He asks God, “what’s going on here?” Then he asks himself, “is this grind a necessary part of where God wants me to be? Or am I in this grind because I am in a dead end hamster wheel?
If the grind is part of his call, then David tries to be more patient and let God work in His own time. In the meantime he makes sure to pray, “offer up” his work, use it to strengthen himself and sanctify his work in some way.
Give Glory To God Through Work
Every day David tries to start his day by recognizing the gifts God has given him and then using those gifts for God’s glory. David views himself as a steward of these gifts, which include his family, finances and business.
“I want to make sure when I am done here, I can turn them back over and say I did the best I could.”
For David, the measure of real success is faithfulness and impact.
Faith and business should be one in the same.