The Meaning of Work

Getting a decent and fulfilling job is not explicitly mentioned as one of the essential human needs but it is somehow an important aspect of one's life. It fulfills other needs, making it is as a medium to achieve them. This does not mean however mean that work is the single way to meet those needs, but a factor or catalyst in that process. However, many neglect the importance of work. Some even hate going to work, or some may even consider it as a hindrance to personal happiness. These perspectives are in direct opposition to how we should see the meaning of work in our lives. These are the highlights of this blogpost.

Work provides daily structure.

This is the perspective most of us ignore. Without work, our daily activities is too fluid. This means one may find it difficult to decide and know what to do at a particular time of the day. An individual is motivated to groom himself or herself in the morning or before work, because others will see him or her later. Without this work, one may lose self-care motivation. It is quite normal also to build social networks at work. This means one socializes with his or her colleagues or friends during free time at work, at lunch in the middle of the day, or even after work. Without work, one gains too much flexibility, but loses time orientation. One has to find something to do to say that one day is not just being alone sitting or doing all the things at home. Ofcourse, home chores are work in itself, but somehow lacks the structure that work outside home has.

Work creates challenges.

Every work is characterized by a challenge. The more complex the challenge, the more sophisticated the training and education one is required to do the job. Moreover, these challenges maybe in various forms: physical, mental, emotional, ethical social etc. The most important aspect of work is to find either permanent or temporary solutions to these challenges. Therefore, all individuals, who are working are measured and compared in terms of efficiency and creativity in their attempt to derive solutions. Once a challenge has been solved, the individual credited for it gains self-confidence, trust from colleagues and even social recognition.   However, sometimes people work hard but fails to make any progress, or perhaps succeed in the tasks but still has self-esteem, trust and recognition issues at work. All of these threatens the core of what work really is.

Work is our social contribution.

There are two ways to explain this view. Generally, all the tasks we do at work is part of a greater task in the society. One should sell food, goods and services; take care of the sick; educate and support others. There is a social need why a job is created. Doing those tasks are important for the society. Therefore, work is not just to meet company goals, but a contribution to the society as a whole. Furthermore, the society is composed of subunits where individuals belong, such as the family. This is where people derive mental, emotional, financial support from each other. Making a living out of a job is a way to strengthen these subunits. Hence, individual survival is made less difficult through the incentives or rewards one get from work.

Lastly, work is not just a physical or mental exercise, which is closely associated with the education and training we have. It is not merely a source of income or financial stability. It should be viewed more than these superficial perspectives. Because if all of us will think that work will just think work as such, we lose the essence of what it is. Worse, we are just seeing work as a means to survive physically. Although there are social issues like poverty and social inequality that affects work conditions, work is what it is as portrayed in these perspectives.


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