Why Work?

Path © Mark Dorf

Path © Mark Dorf

We live in a world where we take matters into our own hands. We have high expectations of the tools, experiences, and associations we have in our daily lives. The internet has opened our psyches and changed our behavior by providing greater choice and increasing information.

It is a time of plenty. But it is also incredibly time consuming (and often confusing). We seek out things methodically and choose them intentionally. We curate, comb, and scan because we live in a world where everything is potentially laden with meaning which reflects something about us. We’re always trying to be the best we can be. We’re trying to get the most out of every moment.

We drink smoothies and juices not merely to satiate us, but also to manage and achieve health, or at least to create the illusion of it. We go to yoga or run five miles a day, not only to train and shape our bodies, but also to care for our emotional and mental needs. We use iPhones to work, connect with the world, meditate, do our shopping, track our health, and so much more.

Our expectations are high. We have greater ownership over our lives because the world we live in isn’t black and white. There is immense variation possible. It is up to us to make the most of it, to cash in.

Work is not any different.

In the past, work ordered and stabilized our lives, keeping us on track to be the man or woman, husband, wife, mother, father we were expected to be. It was the system and structure we used to trade our labor for our pay, in order to live our lives.

Now, the typical life path has been challenged and changed. Our identities are not so stable anymore and work is not merely a means to a financial end. In fact, we do a great deal of our living at work.

We seek out jobs that express something about ourselves but also engage and stimulate us. Yet, work doesn’t provide our identity. It isn’t in the hottest compensation package.

Rather, we seek to use our work to express who we are. Work is subjective and expressionist. It’s a practice we have to repeat, and a forum we find mea