I’ll never forget Tek Lin, our eighth grade English teacher, asking — we were twelve — what our raison d’etre was.  Good heavens.  Was that in the textbook someplace?  Had I missed it?

What, pray tell, was a raison d’etre?

“Reason for being,” he explained, leaving us no less clueless.

(An outstanding answer, I would come to discover decades later, has a name: tikkun olam.  Though just where we’re supposed to find purpose after we’ve healed the world is a more challenging, if less urgent, question.  Jazzercise?)

All this came to mind (I am easily distracted) when I saw the latest from Imperative, a young company premised on the notion that most people have jobs; some have careers; but the most fortunate — even if they are street sweepers — have callings.*

If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s the goal of Imperative to help employers instill their employees with purpose, thereby improving their performance, the corporate culture, cohesion, and employee retention.

Imperative was just featured in Fast Company (“The Purpose-Driven Work Force Is 42 Million Strong“).  Their work with Linked In is featured here.

Take the assessment?  (It’s free.)  Forward it to a listless twenty-something in your life?

Or — if you own or help run a company with 250 or more employees — shoot its chief cheerleader this link?  (Full disclosure: I an a small shareholder in Imperative.)

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  We have hot water!  As much as we want!!  Any time we want it!!!  What a time to be alive.

Gratefully . . .