If work is not life, what the hell is it?

“Jobs that exist today were invented to fulfil particular industrial and commercial purposes. Employers want recruits who will fit into existing organisations and systems whereas the young are now being educated to develop and express their individual personalities and no longer just to obey and conform….


Work has not yet been reconceived as a social and cultural activity, as having as its primary objective, from the individual’s viewpoint, the aim of enhancing intellects, imaginations and sensitivities, bringing strangers together and stimulating them to learn from one another, rather than being a system to produce goods and services judged in monetary and quantitative terms….


Earning a living is no longer a sufficient ideal, because it implies that work and living are separate activities. You spend most of your life doing work. If work is not life, what the hell is it?”

Theodore Zeldin, Historian and Co-founder of The Oxford Muse Foundation


Exam question: Is today’s work fit for purpose? If not, what practical changes do we need to make it so?


In my quest to help individuals understand meaningful work, I would love to hear your responses at pam@chiswickconsulting.com.