You can’t eat all day so you might as well work

“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” – I Corinthians 3:13

“You can’t eat for eight hours a day nor drink for eight hours a day nor make love for eight hours a day – all you can do for eight hours is work.  Which is the reason why man makes himself and everybody else so miserable and unhappy.” – William Faulkner

“I like my job and am good at it, but it sure grinds me down sometimes, and the last thing I need to take home is a headache. – TV commercial for Anacin

Do what you love and love what you do and you’ll never work another day in your life.  Well, that’s the dream anyway. But most of us normal folk don’t necessarily love our work – we like our work or tolerate it, but we don’t necessarily love it.  And of course there is a class of people who hate their work but do it anyway because they have mouths to feed and bills to pay and all of that.

Work.

Is it something that we have to do because we have constructed a society that forces you to work if you want to have the bare necessities of life – food, water, clothing, shelter.  We’re taught and conditioned to believe that the bare necessities are not enough (unless you’re Baloo).  If you want to be successful in life, then subsisting is not enough, you have to thrive, which in modern society equates to having the material wealth to buy the big house, drive the fancy car, go on holidays to exotic places, and have the latest tech and toys, eat out in restaurants, and all the rest of it (yes that’s a generic list, but take a look around you now, what do you see? How much of the stuff you own do you really need? Or do you have it because you can “afford” to buy it and you’ve convinced yourself or been convinced that it makes your life fulfilled somehow?).

Or is work built into our DNA? That we have to work in order to feel useful and human. And since we all can’t be farmers and hunters anymore, we need to turn our hand to something, thus work has evolved into jobs that help keep our evolving society alive. We’re like ants really.  I imagine some cosmic being taking a birdseye view of humans, would see just that – millions of people moving to and fro in basically the same patterns day in and day out.

This idea of work fascinates me. Especially how we romanticise it – that work gives us meaning, and meaning gives us purpose and purpose motivates us to do what we do every day until we die.

Ok, all of that was a preamble to share with you this cool podcast episode from The Kitchen Sister‘s new podcast in support of The Keepers series.  The first one is about Studs Terkel who wrote the book, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do.

From the Kitchen Sisters:

In the early 1970s, radio producer and author Studs Terkel wrote a book called Working. He went around the country with a reel-to-reel tape recorder interviewing people about their jobs. The book became a bestseller and even inspired a Broadway musical. Working struck a nerve, because it elevated the stories of ordinary people and their daily lives. Studs celebrated the un-celebrated.

And here is the episode:

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