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Is Life All about Work?

In the last 200 years, work has become more than a way to provide sustenance, raise children, and save for old age. Our jobs, positions, and incomes have become key elements in the self-esteem of many of us, as well as how we are perceived by society. Often, work is also a social framework, an indication of our personal success, and the seminal value by which we are brought up from an early age. One of the most common questions a child is asked is, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Invariably, the answer involves an occupation. But why do children limit their answers to their dream jobs? Is working at this or that job, or having this or that profession, the height of our aspirations?

It seems like it is, today. And yet it wasn’t always so. Until recently, work was just a way to make a living and provide for one’s needs. However, The Industrial Revolution has made work the center point of our lives, and the process has continued to accelerate as capitalism expanded and evolved. Along with the significance of work in our lives, work-related stress has become a prevalent phenomenon. It seems to be a cycle in which we earn more, but we are also more emotionally tied to our jobs, which we perceive as key to our self-esteem.

If we lose our job, we try to do everything we can to get quickly back into the job market. Why? It seems to be more than just about money. Apparently, the real issue is that unemployment is tantamount to being a failure.

The significance of our work to enhance our self-esteem, and to obtain the appreciation society and family can offer us, are making unemployment a destructive phenomenon. When one becomes unemployed, one loses not only one’s job, but one’s self-esteem and social status.

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