My Job, My Self: How Work Defines Us

Rather than serving our individual passions, work is essential to being human

Work is not something detached from the rest of human life. It rather is synonymous with life. In the words of Pope Piux XI, we humans are “born to labor, as a bird is born to fly.”

As adults there is nothing that more preoccupies our lives than work. For 95% of us, work is an entirely non-discretionary matter. We must work. We do not sleep, spend time with our families as much as we work, eat or recreate or rest as much as we work. Whether we love our work or hate it, succeed in it or fail, achieve fame or infamy through it, we are all – like Sisyphus – condemned to push and chase that thing we call our job, our career, our occupation, our calling or our vocation all our days. “Even those of us who desperately don’t want to work,” said the American poet Ogden Nash, “must work in order to earn enough money so that they won’t have to work anymore.”

I have been fascinated by work.           

I come from a fami

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