What Is Work?

Exercise from the book, Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans:

Write a short reflection about your Workview. [ . . . ] A Workview should address the critical issues related to what work is and what it means to you. It is not just a list of what you want from or out of work, but a general statement of your view of work. It’s your definition for what good work deserves to be.

For the purpose of this exercise, I define work as the activities I do that yield monetary rewards. It falls into two categories: my job, and my investment. “Job” is what I would like to focus on discussing here.

What’s work for?
Life is the time I have in this world between birth and death to create an existence called me. The creation of my very own existence as a human being, therefore, becomes the sole purpose of my life, and work is nothing more or less than an activity, amongst the many others, I can choose to or not to do, to fulfill such purpose.

If work is a mean to nurture my becoming, the next question I need to ask myself (in order to answer what’s work for) is: What do I exist for? My answer is twofold:

  • I exist to care for my love ones; and
  • I exist to create aesthetics.

I work so that I can take care of my family and those I desire to help, such as the children who need help actualize their potentials. I also work to create things that touch people’s heart by exploring the aesthetics in life.

What does work mean?
Work means efforts that yield returns. Money, growth, and fulfillment are the three returns I specifically seek from work.

How does work relate to the individual, others, and the society?
Work (that yields monetary return) requires social interactions by nature and thus connects an individual with his surroundings. Even an artist who does his arts in solicitude at some point needs a patron or a buyer. Furthermore, the meaning of work is defined by its impact to the receiving ends, may it be a customer, a society, or a living thing on Earth.

What defines good or worthwhile work?
Good work yields positive returns to all parties involved, materially or immaterially. This includes the individual who does the work, all parties involved in the process, and the society impacted by the results.

What does money have to do with it?
Monetary return is one way to measure the success of work. Immaterial rewards such as the growth and fulfillment attained from work are equally important.

What do experience, growth, and fulfillment have to do with it?
Money by definition is a required outcome of work. Growth and fulfillment, however, are equally important as the purpose of work is to nurture one’s becoming. The ability to work and produce meaningful yield is what makes one alive.

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