If you are wondering if working is a waste of life I might be able to offer you some perspective and maybe even a longterm plan that helps you change your views about working.
The changes are that you aren’t very content with your career choice or current job or position if you are thinking working is a waste of life. And you are not alone like you will find out from this video by Rob Dial:
I’m not blaming you, on the contrary, I understand where you’re coming from. To be honest, I’ve wondered it myself sometimes.
But in recent years I’ve realized I’ve learned a lot during my career. I’ve grown a lot as a person because of working.
I’ve also realized what it is exactly that makes me feel like I’m wasting my time working. And I’ve found a solution I want to share with you today.
Money For Nothing?
To understand why working might not be a complete waste of your life we need to talk about why exactly we work. I’m sorry if some of this stuff is obvious to you but I’m constantly surprised how many people don’t understand why you are required or at least expected to work by others.
Well, the obvious reason to work is to get enough money to finance your life. You know, buy food, buy accommodation, pay for health care, have hobbies, feed a family etc.
But when you think about what money is it becomes a bit more abstract. You see, money itself has no value. A piece of colored paper or the bits of data that form your bank account can’t feed you or provide shelter.
To understand why we need money you need to understand the basics of our modern economic system. In very simple terms money is nothing more than a contract of trust between individuals.
Before money was invented people used to barter goods. You could barter a basket for fruit for some cloth to make clothes for example. Or some animal hides to nails or whatever you needed.
The problem with bartering was that it was very limiting. There were limits to transportation, storage, and availability of goods. As towns grew, the need for money was soon established.
Money was nothing but a trusted means of exchange. An apple farmer could for example trust that his/her apples were worth a certain amount of money that would buy a certain amount of cloth.
If there was no cloth available when needed, they could just get the money that everyone trusted would be tradable to anything you need on a later occasion.
The reason I’m telling you this is because people have forgotten what money actually symbolizes. We have become both dependent on it and consumed by it. Money symbolizes trust between individuals.
Why You Are Expected To Work
Some people have also forgotten that everything in the society costs money, i.e. the cumulated trust of the people of said society.
Modern society expects you to work and earn money so that you “earn your keep”. I.e. you need to be a productive part of society to keep the wheels turning.
Of course in the modern civilized world, we are fortunate enough that those who don’t have the physical, mental or intellectual means to do productive work are also seen as valuable individuals who have the right for a humane life.
Their livelihood is paid from the accumulated wealth of society. And this is exactly how it needs to be. After all “The greatness of a nation can be judged by how it treats its weakest member”.
In modern society the wealth of society is of course cumulated in the form of taxes. Taxes allow you to work for anyone anywhere as long as you pay a share of your income to the community you live in.
But problems arise when people that are capable of work start questioning their need to work. The trouble of work starts to seem like a bad deal if society pays for your life even if you don’t work.
The fact is that work usually isn’t comfortable, at least not all the time. That’s why it’s called work. If an individual has a choice they would usually at least skip the uncomfortable parts of their job description if not work altogether.
But if you are capable of work and choose not to participate in it, it essentially sends a signal to the society that you are not trustworthy.
And once again, I’m not blaming anyone for thinking like this, I’ve been there and there’s a good reason for it we will talk about next.
Why Working Feels Like A Waste Of Time
So why does the modern working life often feel like a waste of time? Well, there are multiple reasons but one of the main ones, in my opinion, is that work has become either very abstract or very mundane.
To make things worse, work has lost its dignity in many ways. When earlier people worked so that they had something to trade, money being just a tool for that, every occupation was respected and needed. The people were proud of their professions.
There used to be incredibly gifted blacksmiths, farmers, shoemakers, etc. that had absolutely mastered their profession. They were in demand and very proud of their professions.
But the invention of money created an unexpected event. It created economy. A system where people with accumulated money can invest that money to other peoples businesses.
While this did allow to fast track our development and allowed the development of modern societies, it also created a system where money became the end goal.
Money became a god. A religion. A goal for happiness. Somewhere along the way, we lost track that it’s just a means to establish trust within the market place and actually creating something valuable for the community to trade was the goal.
These days there are professions that are all about making money, controlling money, investing money. And the sad part is that they are much more sought after than the professions that actually produce valuable commodities for communities.
Just think about what are the most prestigious occupations today. Are they blacksmiths, shoemakers, and farmers? Or are they investment bankers, lawyers, and business sharks?
For an average worker, this creates a situation where you have to compete for the best position you could possibly perform in to get a better wage.
You compete to get as much money as possible. Many people don’t care how that money is made either. Even if it’s produced by child labor in Africa.
Working just for money doesn’t create a sense of purpose and bride. At least not for most workers these days.
On the other hand, if you are on one of the “prestigious” occupations that involve around money, you probably feel a lack of purpose as well. Like your work isn’t really creating anything useful or valuable. Anything concrete.
Since most people work for the highest bidder to earn a paycheck, the fact that you can lose your job because of a plethora of reasons including a boss that doesn’t like you and company budget cuts can really make you cynical.
And believe me, you are cynical if you think working might be a waste of time. Working should be something that makes you feel proud and like you are a part of something bigger. Many people don’t experience that these days.
And that’s what probably causes you to think working is a waste of life. Your work probably has no sense of purpose or you don’t feel like it’s valued by others.
Pros Of Working (In A Job)
But there are undeniable pros to working if you don’t like your job:
Working gives you purpose. It makes you feel like you are a part of society. If you are unemployed, you probably feel ashamed to admit it to strangers or acquaintances because you fear they might judge you. It’s better to have a bad job than to not have a job at all in these situations.
Naturally working will get you money to pay the bills. While I personally think any full-time work should be worth enough to earn enough money to feed a family, that’s unfortunately not the case in most parts of the world.
Working helps you grow as a person. Look, absolutely no-one loves getting up early in the morning to head to the workplace every single workday. But they do it anyway.
Working and holding a job for extended periods of time builds perseverance. It will teach you to endure uncomfortable physical, mental and intellectual challenges. This is the stuff that confidence is made out of.
Most workplaces allow you to create meaningful relationships with your colleagues. Nothing builds a sense of brotherhood like enduring years of arduous labor together. Be it physically or intellectually demanding.
So in short, working helps you grow a tougher skin and improve your confidence. Even though it might not feel like it at the time. That what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger the saying goes.
Cons Of Working (In A Job)
But then there are the cons. I will share the ones that are closest to myself, feel free to share yours at the comments section below.
Work takes up your time and energy. Working full-time leaves little time and energy for other endeavors like education, business, free thinking and hobbies. Especially if you have a family and a house to take care of.
Work stress can really affect your health negatively. Extended periods of work stress can cause mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and insomnia. This can over the long term leads to the deterioration of physical health as well.
You might found out your employer is working against your core values. They might not care about human rights, animal rights, workers’ rights or any rights as long as the profit margin keeps high.
While doing things you don’t like is a necessity in life, there’s a limit for everything. You should strive to do stuff you actually enjoy most of your wakeful time.
That means you either need to find a way to like your job or to find a different way of working.
So what has been my solution to feeling like my work has a purpose?
Well, I’ve realized that I’ve learned a lot in my career. It has made me proficient in many things I was awkward with before starting my career.
I’ve also realized people actually appreciate and value my input, both professionally and in personal life partly because they value my profession.
I’ve also realized that I’m privileged to work in a whitecollar position in a western country. My pay is enough to live a comfortable life.
I’m also fortunate that I don’t work for some huge conglomerate that pushes out plastic crap for the masses to buy.
I’ve also made great connections and friends.
But the whole of my career I’ve felt a certain lack of purpose, like my career isn’t really that meaningful even though the work I do is necessary. I feel like it’s bureaucratic and more about controlling than actually creating something valuable for the community.
That’s why I’ve started an online business on the side. This site is part of that online business. It is a creative outlet where I strive to help as many people as possible to work on their own terms.
I also have another website about strength training for seniors that gives me a real sense of purpose. If I can help even one senior avoid getting hospitalized because of a fractured hip I’m happy.
The same goes if I can help even one person to earn an income online so that they can have a brighter future.
In case you might want to follow my footsteps, this online business stuff basically involves creating a website (or several) over things that interest you.
But it’s not just creating a senseless blog. There’s a very elaborate strategy people use to turn the things they love to write about into income.
It involves looking for keywords people are looking for. Just think about how you wound up here. Perhaps you wrote is a working waste of life in Google?
Anyone can do this, but I’m not going to lie to you, it involves real work and takes time. But for myself, it has given a sense of purpose and a creative outlet.
It also allows you to achieve financial freedom in the long run if you keep at it long enough. Thousands of people have done it all around the world.
You can learn these skills in a very simple step-by-step fashion by joining my free 7-day course where I will walk you through the ropes. You can contact me anytime for help by replying to one of my emails.
The course is based on a service where I learned all these skills called Wealthy Affiliate, which is completely free to join, no credit card needed.
They are the most cost-effective place to learn these skills, believe me, I’ve done my research.
I hope this post helped you in some way to see a brighter future for your work. Remember that most work is valuable. If not in any other way it helps you to grow as a person and helps to pay the bills.
But it’s only wise to start building a better future by creating an online business of your own.
Thanks for reading and if you found this post useful, consider sharing it in social media!