Author Topic: Why do we work so hard?  (Read 4555 times)

fallstoclimb

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Why do we work so hard?
« on: March 16, 2016, 09:16:47 AM »
Apologies if this was posted elsewhere, I did a search and couldn't find anything:

https://www.1843magazine.com/features/why-do-we-work-so-hard

My take: this man has drunk the kool aid. But I will admit sometimes I wonder if there is some truth to this. As someone who does not find an identity in her career and is unlikely to have children, will I one day suffer for a lack of identity? Will "likes to play in the woods and give money to charity" stop being enough?  I dunno.

I don't see how finding identity and meaning in career success is any better, though. Even the author hints at the holes in his reasoning. I'd love to have a long conversation with someone like this one day.

zephyr911

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Re: Why do we work so hard?
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2016, 09:34:48 AM »
This should be in the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy. ;)

Kris

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Re: Why do we work so hard?
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2016, 09:35:42 AM »
I think about this a lot. One factor seems cultural: certain cultures place more social value on an occupation than others.

I am about to resign mrom my job as a tenured university professor and department chair -- a job with a high degree of identification with one's career. I am already wondering how it is going to feel to not be a professor anymore. (I am 49, so I am not at an age where "retired professor" is going to sound normal.) I am planning to use this experience as a way to challenge myself to resist this tendency to equate one's job with one's importance as a human being.

Vilgan

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Re: Why do we work so hard?
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2016, 09:51:49 AM »
I think there is some truth in that just "not working" is not enough, you need to find an outlet and something to put your passion into. That can be a variety of hobbies, other work (fewer hours), etc. But just quitting with no plan of what to do next is not necessarily going to lead to happiness. My mom has been able to retire for several years now but as a recognized ESL teacher in a very needy area she makes a gigantic positive impact that would be hard to replace. She also has 35 years teaching experience at this point and is very very good at it. If she retires... what then? Figuring that out will take some time and planning.

I think he nicely calls out the difference in work: if you ARE doing the crappy low paying stuff that isn't intellectually challenging, then there IS a rush to retire so you can find something better. A bit of a paradox, those who would increase their happiness the most by quitting are frequently those least able to.

Pylortes

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Re: Why do we work so hard?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2016, 10:17:34 AM »
The writer is too worried about impressing others.   His self-esteem is wrapped up in his job and what others think of him.  He starts to acknowledge the absurdity of it at one point about how its strange the higher paid professionals work more and more hours while the lower paid folks can't work enough, but then ends up doubling down on his work long hours forever lifestyle because other people in the same boat will respect him.   

In his deep desire to impress his social network and improve his standing in the community he seems to ignore the fact that his child, his parents and his extended family would love to see more of him.  Priorities hey?

bacchi

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Re: Why do we work so hard?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2016, 10:18:42 AM »
I don't know whether to feel pity for or applaud the author. In any case, I've been looking for over 15 years for that challenging, collaborative, meaningful job. There have been elements of gleaming truth in some positions but it requires wiping away the shit to see the glint.

Northwestie

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Re: Why do we work so hard?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2016, 11:50:04 AM »
I think there is some truth in that just "not working" is not enough, you need to find an outlet and something to put your passion into. That can be a variety of hobbies, other work (fewer hours), etc. But just quitting with no plan of what to do next is not necessarily going to lead to happiness. My mom has been able to retire for several years now but as a recognized ESL teacher in a very needy area she makes a gigantic positive impact that would be hard to replace. She also has 35 years teaching experience at this point and is very very good at it. If she retires... what then? Figuring that out will take some time and planning.

I think he nicely calls out the difference in work: if you ARE doing the crappy low paying stuff that isn't intellectually challenging, then there IS a rush to retire so you can find something better. A bit of a paradox, those who would increase their happiness the most by quitting are frequently those least able to.

Thanks to your Mom the teacher!  And I think she would be a great asset to any kid's volunteer group where she decides to put her energy.  My take - spending some of your time invested in a volunteer group is a great public service and a way to feel integrated into your community.  I wish I had more time to do so now, but will shortly.

GrowingTheGreen

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Re: Why do we work so hard?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2016, 11:52:45 AM »
I think this part about sums it up:

Quote
The dollars and hours pile up as we aim for a good life that always stays just out of reach.

That is why so many people work so hard.  There are definitely some out there that find true pleasure in their life's work and label it their "calling".  For those that don't have to work, but it fulfills a sense of purpose: go for it.  For the others that are "aiming for a good life that is always just out of reach": reevaluate your priorities.

Kansas Beachbum

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Re: Why do we work so hard?
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2016, 12:07:37 PM »
I think this part about sums it up:

Quote
The dollars and hours pile up as we aim for a good life that always stays just out of reach.

That is why so many people work so hard.  There are definitely some out there that find true pleasure in their life's work and label it their "calling".  For those that don't have to work, but it fulfills a sense of purpose: go for it.  For the others that are "aiming for a good life that is always just out of reach": reevaluate your priorities.

What he said...

Love the quote from the article...very succinctly describes the trap a lot of people fall in to.

Mr. Green

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Re: Why do we work so hard?
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2016, 12:24:14 PM »
At the end of your life, the only thing that matters is if you were happy. Everything else changes over time. If someone is truly happy working then that's awesome. I'm glad those people exist because they are typically the visionaries, the Steve Jobs and Elon Musks of the world. If leisure and freedom make you happy then awesome. Letting anyone else tell you that X should be the goal, no matter what X is, is a trap. Every person has to figure out what makes them happy on their own.

sleepyguy

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Re: Why do we work so hard?
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2016, 02:52:09 PM »
LOL, agreed :)

When his kids have grown up and he's spent 90% of his time at the office instead of quality time with them... he'll regret it.

Why would you sell your 'soul' to a nameless corp is beyond me.

This should be in the Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy. ;)

steveo

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Re: Why do we work so hard?
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2016, 03:46:07 PM »
I think something else happens as well. You turn up to work and get caught up in it. Then you go out and buy lunch or coffee or a beer and it all just adds up like crazy. It all just rolls into a mess where you can't step back and try and work out how to live your life on your terms.

zinethstache

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Re: Why do we work so hard?
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2016, 04:00:43 PM »
While I didn't read the article, I have a long history of overworking, so much overworking it caused a major health catastrophe. I love to help people, I enjoy being busy all the time. I have skills people pay good money for. And to top it all off I have always worked a busy day job on top of that. After 2 years of trying to fix the mess I'd made in my body from likely overusing the darn thing (I need to trade it in) I am now slowing down and am applying that same energy to RE. So far I think I am doing a good job of executing my exit strategy. If you count the time DH retired (he was even worse off then I was at that time) I've spent 5 years going on 6 shifting my life to ensure I have a positive post work experience. I've alwasy been a planner, plotter, schemer so this should not come as a surprise to me. I am confident after seeing DH grow outside of his career that I will grow also! We have been FI for some time now, but are working on things in a planned exit that will cause the least amount of work and stress for me.