Much has been written about the role of work in our lives. And this is not simply another article to add to the contemporary warehouse of views and opinions regarding the role of work. Rather this article if focused on something rarely written about or discussed, something I call the “Chocolate Cake and Icing of Work”.
In the realm of work, a topic that is rarely discussed is the “contribution opportunity” work creates for us as individuals and as a species. When you look through the history of our genealogy as a species, we have moved from self-serving hunter/gatherers to others-serving social beings. And in that transition over many millennia, we have grown to seek out the purpose of work and meaningfully define its relationship to our lives.
Work has always been simply defined. When we hear the word work, we often think of what someone does for employment. But work is human labour and employment is a manifestation of our human labour in exchange for a wage. So if work, broken into its simplest form is human labour, what, if anything does work mean to us and how do we understand its contribution to our lives
I will step out on a limb here and theorize that work, in its being defined as human labour, has no real and meaningful contribution to our lives except for us to do something productive with our time and to associate meaning to that time. Do not get me wrong. Work is an ambitious endeavor but work, on its own, is meaningless until we define what that work means to our lives.
For me, work and the time I spend doing work, is a meaningful way of defining a part of the person I am and the life I have created. Most importantly, the work I do, regardless of its appearance is my way of participating in society and contributing towards its overall well-being.
I am grateful that I have come to a place where I understand what work is for me. For decades I understood work to be a personification of the man I was being and followed in the footsteps and crowd thunder of the human race who so aptly do the same. I am grateful that I have the choice to contribute and make a contribution that somehow makes the lives of those around me and the lives around them, better, easier and simpler. After all, if I didn’t get up each day and live with the social conditioning that work is for many, what would I do with my 24 hours each and every day?