The meaning of work in life

“What is the meaning of work? Why do people work?” my college lecturer asks the class. “Make money!” This answer is the loudest and the most reasonable. A female friend told me that she wanted to resign to be a full-time housewife because her husband made enough money; they become the object of envy and even “hate” by many.

Work is to make money, which is what many people understand about the meaning of work. But there are exceptions.

After my friend’s father retired, he worked as the headteacher in several secondary schools and universities and stopped at serious illness at the age of 67. When he was nearly 80, he also went to a training institution near his house to find work, not asking for pay, hoping to teach the children to learn ancient writing.

The richest among my friends, who earn hundreds of millions of dollars, is busy with his company after retirement but are ready to close the doors in the face of insurmountable difficulties.

It looks like making money is not the only meaning of working.

What work means in life is a serious question. John F. Kennedy, the founder of the Protestant Calvinist Church, said that “the world is our monastery” and that the Puritan’s way of practicing was hard work in this world.

Vocation has the meaning of calling. A profession is a vocation, a god’s arrangement. By working and starting a business in the world, the individual is proved to be a voter of God, and ascend to heaven after death to avoid falling into the eternal burning hell. This is a religious explanation of the meaning of the American Puritans working so hard.

What is the meaning of work to life for those of us who do not believe in religion? Perhaps strive for better material living conditions, create the value of life, enjoy the happiness of life, realize the eternal life, can generally answer this question.

First, work is a means of livelihood and a way to achieve decent material living conditions. Marxism believed that labor was still a means of earning a living in a long period of history. The more economically unprosperous a time, the more important it is to earn a living for a working family. One must first keep oneself alive and save one’s parents and children from hunger. 

Further, to strive for decent living conditions on a living basis, to travel freely and to enjoy quality medical and educational services for themselves and their families. If a person works hard, but still can’t solve hunger issues, in order to get a few material benefits, even if you get a wall full of awards, it is difficult to let people continue to work with enthusiasm.

In the planned economy period, people through work can not solve the problem of material difficulties, most people are not active in work will also lead to social and economic stagnation.

Today, people look at the meaning of working to make money very seriously, there is a reason. After all, today’s level of social welfare is not enough to enable everyone to live a decent life, and everyone has to rely on their own efforts to obtain the material conditions and security that they want. It should be said that the desire to make money through work is a very positive attitude.

the meaning of work


The desire to make money drives people to work actively, to start a business, to improve their lives, and to contribute objectively to socio-economic development. In fact, the desire to make money is the driving force behind reform and opening-up and economic development.

Whether work can solve the problem of food and clothing is also the most important basis for people to live with dignity. Therefore, every society should attach importance to employment, pay attention to wage levels, and regularly revise and raise the minimum wage.

Second, work makes people become real people, let people develop and perfect. Eat, drink, sleep, this is only the basis of human physiological existence, not unique to people, can not be the standard of being a human. The essential difference between man and animals is that people can work, people enrich and develop all kinds of social relations in labor, fully display and develop human potential in social relations, have an impact on others and society, and create their own unique life.

It should be admitted that domestic work is also labor, and also reflect the essence of human beings, but limited to the family scope, the scope of the object involved in labor is small, the content is monotonous, the need for a simple, long-term limited to domestic work, eyes, mind can not open, it is difficult to set foot on the rhythm of the times, easy to be abandoned by society. In particular, there is no independent income, economic dependence on people, but also easy to be rejected by the family.

Work leads individuals out of the family, into the professional field, to complete the task, to constantly deal with new situations, to deal with the boss, with colleagues, and customer relations. In this kind of activity, people’s ability to work, learning ability, interpersonal skills become stronger, views become broader, become more experienced. Through work, people become rich social existence, all-round display, development of their potential, cultivate a variety of excellent quality, and gradually achieve an ideal perfection of the person.

Third, work can make people feel the value of life and happiness in life. According to Maslow, an American psychologist, there are five levels of need, followed by survival needs, security needs, social interaction needs, respect needs, self-development needs. One can only be happy when these needs are met.

People obtain living materials through work, develop all kinds of contacts with others, serve others for the community, both by social recognition and respect, but also by self-worth recognition, work also in the form of pressure and motivation for self-development to provide a stage and opportunity.

Through the work, people meet the needs of diversity, and this satisfaction is based on their own labor and contribution, is solid, down-to-earth, non-false, profound happiness in life.

If you do not work, rely on parents or lovers, people may also get to live or even rich material living conditions, but after all, it is the wealth created by others, whether you can enjoy their wealth, is decided by others, you won’t have a solid sense of security.

As for the happiness that comes from meeting their social interaction, respect, self-development and so on, leaving their own work and contribution to society, others can not give this happiness.

Fourth, the work makes people immortal. Hard work can allow the Puritans to enter heaven after death to live forever, and for non-religious Chinese, hard work can also make a short individual life eternal.

Since we have to work to earn money to support our families, we have to work and constantly improve our human capital in order to get higher prices in the labor market. Employers who want to get high-quality employees, I’m afraid they can’t be too stingy in terms of salary.

Since the significance of work is not only to earn money to support their families but also to develop and improve themselves, create value and happiness, so that life is eternal, then we choose to work, we can not use make money as the only criterion. We want to choose what we love best, what we do best, and what we have positive social significance for.

Only if you like and are good at it, who are willing to devote themselves to their work and greatly tap their potential in their work, can they enjoy the pleasures of the work process, be creative and achieve the greatest work (often earning more money); will make your life last forever.

Now that we understand the meaning of work, we will not take a shortcut in work, we will do our best to do a good job. Because our work is not only to serve customers, not only to please the boss but also to create our own life, is responsible for ourselves, responsible for eternity.

Now that we understand the meaning of work, even if we have the ability to work, even if we are rich or our family members are rich, even if the work can not increase income, we will not give up work easily.