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Old 06-04-2003, 06:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Would you say that the only purpose in life is to work?

Kind of answers itself I know but I don't feel that working for 8 hours a day sometimes going 6 to 7 days a week is what humanity was meant for. In America, the people who work or have worked know the toil and hardship that come along with a job no matter how insignificant it may seem. I don't know too many people who are happy with the current job they have; of course in the beginning they may be but certainly after a while they are not. I don't really see people enthusiastically wake up every morning and say "I can't wait to get to work today". But then again who does? Pornstars? Then logic steps in for a moment. What would you have us do, quit all our jobs and sit at home? The economy would fail and would literally collapse on itself. But work is demanding and I do not see it getting any less frustrating. I need more insight on this but its an endless topic. How do others perceive the work life in America? I'm all ears.
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Old 06-04-2003, 08:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Location: Illinois
Good topic. The way i see it, it's all about attitude. You can do what you need to do in this society we live in and "blend in" or be rejected (aka homeless people, beggars, cons etc) Are the homeless types just worthless idiots? Or do they actually have some insight on life? Or are they all just drunks?

I can tell you this. I had a great friend. Worked a legit job maybe 200days of his 31years on this planet. However, everyone that met him loved his company. He played guitar very well, and devoted most of his time to that. I'm rambling now.....but the point is that all you can do is try to have fun during our short time here.....worrying about "work" is futile in the end.
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Old 06-04-2003, 09:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: Perpetual wind and sorrow
It's sad but its our reality. Work was made for man, man wasn't made for work... we seem to have forgotten that.
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Old 06-04-2003, 10:23 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Tigerland
Anybody familiar with a little thing called the Protestant work ethic? I don't know much about how it functions in theory/theological terms, but it was the dominant idea back in the days of the industrial revolution. I have the feeling that it is behind the idea that the purpose of living is to do your job as well as possible.
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Old 06-05-2003, 03:36 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Sydney, Australia
I think the problem is, in a less complicated or smaller society you were able to understand the role you played and the importance of your work. If you were a farmer who didn't work, everyone starved to death.

An artisan was able to build a machine or piece of furniture and appreciate the finished product as something that they had made with their own hands - this may be who diy TV programs are so popular.

Then the assemby line came along and the sense of pride disappeared - was it really possible to take off that hairnet at the end of the day and be proud of you work on part P3245#IO007?

In the white collar workplace, you don't even have a physical object that represents the consequences of your work. In a complicated office bureaucracy you will always have the suspicion you're doing pointless busy work - if the boss is an idiot you may actually BE doing pointless busy work.

I call it the TPS report syndrome.(from Office Space)

If we lived in a society where machines could take care of ALL our basic needs - would we force people who weren't highly educated to continue working in dead end robot jobs? What does that say about us? What does that say about (dare I say it) capitalism?

My favourite part time job was assistant cellarman at a really busy Bar - every Friday night I had to keep massive amounts of beer flowing by keeping dozens of kegs going at once. The knowledge that the whole operation would fall apart without me there is REALLY satisfying.

I'm terrified that one day my job will define me completely - that without it I may as well commit suicide. I've seen this happen to too many professionals. Their soul withers up and dies.
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Old 06-05-2003, 04:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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work has different meanings to different people.
After 2 weeks holiday it is almost 'nice' to get back to work. maybe people need the routine . . . . . having to think about what to do every day is actually quite tiring and becomes a chore (ie ork!) . . . . . . . . . . if you have small children it is often an easier life being at work!
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Old 06-05-2003, 07:13 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: Never Never Land
Your saying that the meaning of life is WORK?!?!? OH GOD!!!!! Say it isn't so. And here I have been thinking all along that it was 42. LOL ok but seriously, I think that work is an important part of life, but it sure isnt the meaning of life. When I'm on my death bed looking back over my life I dont think that I am going to be saying to myself, 'Damn. I wished I worked more hours at my job." No I think I will be saying, 'Damn, I wish I had spent more time with my family, with my friends, doing those things that I enjoy doing, and being a better spouse, parent, child, friend, to everyone.'
Now on a very basic level though I think that there are only two different meanings of life. If you are a religious sort, then the meaning of life is salvation/enlightenment. On the other hand if you are an athiest/agnostic, then the meaning of life is simply survival of the species. (I would say procreation but we seem to be very good at that, and not so good at keeping ourselves alive.)
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Old 06-05-2003, 10:31 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Location: The Local Group
I whine and complain about my having to work 8 hours a day in a a/c office, yet fully knowing what my parents have gone through, is truly pathetic. I know people much older and wiser than I and yet still they have to work twice as much in less than ideal work environment to make less than what I make.... Granted "experience" and "knowledge" are what counts, but that answer does not satisfy my mind.

Working really does nothing for us except provide a path through the maze that we as a society have put in place. To quote something I heard in an art picture, "Society is a fraud so complete and venal that it demands to be destroyed beyond the power of memory to recall its existence."

Anyway, I consider work in the same definition as the Matrix pictures do: work is a means of control. We are put in a rat race with the illusion that something meaningful depends on our actions.
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Old 06-05-2003, 10:34 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Tell me, Could the world survive if no one worked? It is indeed the essence of life. There is no denying that, though it does not have to ride your back as it does mine. In this day and age, the only important factor (not for me, not for you, but for the whole) is to work non-stop. There was a day and age when you only had to work to support yourself, your family or people you loved. Now it has domesticated itself into production for the mass. That is why I am unhappy. I don't see enough people speak out and contribute their ideas about what could be changed to improve their job wherever they work. Instead, they say "I will go with the flow". Fathers work well into their 40's and 50's trying to still be of some use to this world. Has it really come down to that? If you are 51 and still trying to find a job you are classified as somone dominated by "work". Being the most prosperous country is overrated, our children are enjoying our benefits we provided for them but at too early an age without learning the value of work. So they now (at 13, 14, and 15) carry cell phones, have permits to drive and so on. If not in five years, then ten, I will see a revolution in work because those children of the 90's were raised to accept our way of life to quickly. When that time comes, wheelchair or walker, I will let out a laugh and mutter, "They had to snap sometime."
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Slowly but surely getting over the loss of TFP v. 3.0.
Where the hell am I?....
Showering once a month does not make you a better person.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Old 06-05-2003, 12:24 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Location: Republic of Panama
Wow good thread.

I had this convrsation a little while ago with a very good friend, we came to a conclusion that a lot of the disatisfaction with the modern work enviroment is due to a feeling of the "worthlessness" of the tasks involved. What I mean by that is that there is something deep in our soul that takes great pleasure from constructing something, actually physically making something. As a person who has worked in both physical and white collar jobs, I can attest to that. I have never felt as good in an office enviroment as when I had spent a hard day actually creating something (I used to work for a builder/landscape gardener).

I once met this guy who had a small one man building firm, just basically doing the odd little job here and there. He told me that 5 years before, he had been the national sales manager for a *big* company, but he just gave it all up becuase he was never happy, he never saw his family, and he never actually felt he CREATED anything worthwhile.... at the time I thought he was crazy, but he may have been the smartest guy I have met up to now....
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Old 06-05-2003, 12:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Location: 4th has left the building - goodbye folks
There are quite a few good academic theories that say we work far far more hours/days than we need to to have a happy society and a good life.

My personal feeling is that ever more people were being paid a flat annual salary. Then bosses caught on and thought "wait a minute, I'm paying Fred $30k a year and he works 40 hours a week. If I got him to work 50 hours a week it would cost me no more and my per unit costs would drop."... some time later.... "Hmmm he seems to accepted that 50 hour a week thing without too much of a fuss, lets try 55...."

I was offered a job with 75-80 hour weeks. Decided that noone in their right mind could do that and went for a 45-er instead. Still think thats too much, but there's not much you can do about it if you want to get ahead in the world of work.
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Last edited by 4thTimeLucky; 06-06-2003 at 04:18 AM..
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Old 06-05-2003, 01:25 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Location: Republic of Panama
Damn good point to 4th time, salaries have to the number best invention in the world from the corporate CEO view - get all your employees on a fixed payroll, and then breed a company culuture around staying in the office until 8.00 pm everynight!

When I was working in London I was on a salary plus bonus, I thought the bonuses were great until I actually did the math - for the hours I was putting in, I would have been slightly better off if I had just earned my standard hourly rate for all the hours I worked!
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Old 06-06-2003, 12:54 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Illinois
I'm sitting here in my office at home...on my computer...with UPS, CD player, a mountain dew, cordless phone, computer games everywhere, a baby monitor, etc....

So many things that people don't need, but WANT. Or, shall i say, made to want. This might be a different topic, but it is related. What if everyone only worked enough to provide their families with food, shelter, and simple entertainment ? Do i really need a mountain dew? What good does a computer game do me? Lots of people have jobs making all of these luxuries...but if all the time/R&D/resources for these non-essential items were focused on life's basic needs we might all work 10hours a week, and be cancer/aids/sars free. Medicine sells though...(another topic)

It's a vicious circle. What would we do with all the free time? Some old cliche hits on this...idle time is the devil's workshop or something

Ironic though, i was a travelling technical consultant for Sirius computer solutions. Had no personal life, but made good $$. Great right? Not really. I dropped it all and now work as a mechanic. It is more gratuitious (spelling). Yet now i crave the extra $$ again....

What to do......sigh.
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Old 06-06-2003, 12:56 PM   #14 (permalink)
Insane
 
Location: In front of my keyboard.
it sure seems that way...
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Old 06-06-2003, 09:50 PM   #15 (permalink)
Tilted
 
Location: ottawa, canada
a vicious circle perhaps?i work to live , i don`t live to work.i work enough to supply the things my family needs , now the family wants is a different subject.keeping up with the jones?not me .i have a wife i love , 2 great boys , a big screen ,2 pc`s , a place to lay my head , and food in the cupboard . i`m happy .life in my little world is good.count your blessings and be happy , after all , we could all be dead!
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Old 06-07-2003, 08:50 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Location: lost
I'm only in college now, so I work to contribute a bit to my tuition, and for living expenses for the school year. I have somewhere between 2-3 jobs right now (I've had a few that were short-term), and I work about 30 hours a week. I realized the other day that, because of my parent's lives, even if I was working less, I still wouldn't be able to do many of the things that I'd rather be doing with my time. So in a sense, although I don't particularly like some of my jobs, I'm glad I have them because they give me something to do. I don't want this to be the story of my life, though.

I'm going to school with a music major in mind. However, I've been thinking that it might not be such a bad idea to go to a trade school-type place after I graduate and become an electrician. They make good money, and I like the feeling when I've completed something tangible, instead of finishing a report or something. An interesting note... my mom works for a university, running the Health Promotion Center in Bridgeport, CT. She discovered the other day that the janitors she has to pay when she uses space in public schools make more money overtime than she does normally. I've talked to some of the janitors, and they said they don't really mind their job. It just strikes me that everyone seems to think that you need to go to college, then grad school, then you get your 'good full-time job', yet there are these janitors who enjoy their work to some extent, get paid pretty well, and have easier hours than most people. People in general don't give trade jobs enough of a chance, it seems.
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Old 06-21-2003, 09:22 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I believe that Western society has adopted the work to live philosophy whereas Eastern and 3rd world societies have the work to live philosophy. Now I'm not saying that the latter is bad, it is a means to an end whereas the former is a way of life or goal which has to be achieved. You are almost less of a person if you do not succeed in a career.

I would also suggest that post secondary education has moved away from education and more towards preparation for the career which will define you as a person.
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Old 06-21-2003, 11:03 PM   #18 (permalink)
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To say that our world would not need for its inhabitants to work, you would first need to go back to the beginning of the world, where work had never been done, and also define "work". Im getting from your post that work is that 8-8 job that you do during the week, and sometimes on the weekend. But if in the beginning man had failed to strive or to gain anything, anything being only attained through work, our society would still live in caves or similar dwellings.
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Old 06-22-2003, 10:48 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I do not object to caves. I certainly didn't ask for a 51' inch plasma TV that costs in the upwards of thousands or for a kidnapper to break into my home and steal one of my children. Money. It disgusts me, I hate it and yet we have to WORK to get it. Money is the cause of almost every bad action dare I say all. Putting the psycho people aside, what would cause someone to steal a child 95% percent of the time? A mother trying to unite herself with her daughter whom she gave up for adoption 10 years ago? No. It's more sinister. "Give me 5 million dollars or you'll never see your precious little Emily again!" If you think hard enough money is the center of all things, actions, and causes. Money creates the need for work so that is also another reason you could say I hate it. This piece of paper has got to be destroyed and a new form of payment needs to be made.
__________________
Slowly but surely getting over the loss of TFP v. 3.0.
Where the hell am I?....
Showering once a month does not make you a better person.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Last edited by oldtimer; 06-25-2003 at 11:54 AM..
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Old 06-22-2003, 12:37 PM   #20 (permalink)
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work is only a survival aspect to life.
to experience to the other essential aspect.

everything else is symantics.
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Old 06-22-2003, 09:14 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Location: Teegeeack.
I'd say that the fundamental instinct that still affects us is the "provide for the tribe"-instinct.

I don't know about you guys, but the times I've been depending on other people I've felt like shit.
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Old 06-24-2003, 08:01 PM   #22 (permalink)
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unforunately in this time and place thats all we do, if its our purpose or not i say no, but thats what we do.

wondering what our purpose is, might actually be our purpose.
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