If a Job Makes Life Sweet – How?

9 May


The job provides an income.  Mae West said “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor – rich is better.”  Income does not bring happiness, but it’s much more difficult to be personally satisfied when you are struggling to live at some minimal level.  However, each individual or family has a personal standard of how much is enough.

A job gives a person an identity.  Usually if you inquire, “who are you?” people answer with a title or description of the job they inhabit.  The most difficult aspect of being “separated” from a job is learning how to value oneself, one’s identity, without such a self-description.

Today, if you drive through a typical middle class residential area, the most striking aspect is that it is mostly empty.  The children are at school, their jobs, and mom and/or dad are at work.  Decades ago these areas were filled during the day with women.  This means that the social environment centers on, not the residential area, but the job and the school.  I sometimes wonder if the over-scheduling of our children is a method to create a new social environment.  In addition, many of our friends we have met through work or through our partner’s work.

A job that your are good at and thus derive satisfaction from has an enormous positive impact on well-being.  Not only how we esteem ourselves also our physical health.  Bad jobs can make us ill.  In fact the Japanese have a term that translates roughly into “work-death.”


Let’s begin to parse the job into its key elements next week


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