The Joy of Meaningful Work

The United Nations (UN) recognizes December 3rd as the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The UN states, “Disability inclusion is an essential condition to upholding human rights, sustainable development, and peace and security. It is also central to the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to leave no one behind. The commitment to realizing the rights of persons with disabilities is not only a matter of justice; it is an investment in a common future.”  This ongoing dialog encompasses three platforms in continuing towards the future of disability rights; these three prongs include developing meaningful employment, reducing inequities, and expanding inclusive opportunities.

While not a direct reflection of Target’s mission, the efforts of the UN are consistent with Target’s view of society and the place of persons with disabilities in our human fabric; in recent weeks, I have experienced efforts related to meaningful employment among those Target serves.  An individual who recently gained meaningful work in a field of her choosing, another who has been engaged in her dream job for several years, and an individual who has not had employment for since the onset of the global pandemic. In the past, I have watched individuals engage in work that does not challenge their potential or align well with their strengths.

Observing the joy of someone finding desired and engaging work is one of the most satisfying aspects of my work. After Liz was hired at JeannieBird Baking Company, I drove directly to the shop and hugged the owner. He offered employment to a person who desperately wanted a job and gave me the gift of witnessing the self-actualization that comes when someone who has not found meaningful work finally does. When someone cannot find meaningful work or is employed in a manner inconsistent with their desires and abilities, the disparity is just as emotionally charged. One cannot underestimate the power of a mission-fit job in the lives of an individual with a disability; or anyone.

As we work to shape society around a theory of justice for all individuals, I challenge each of you to find a way in which you can use your influence or connections to create space in our workforce for individuals with disabilities. I believe efforts to create meaningful employment for those with disabilities to be our most important work.

If you need help supporting this mission in your organization, call me. Target can help organizations develop the capacity to reap the benefits of employing colleagues with disabilities. The life you save from being left behind may well be your own.

Read more about the UN’s efforts here: