Are we attaching too much importance to our careers?

For some individuals the prospect of retirement, or the loss of a job, is the psychological equivalent of death.

This strikes me as odd.  In this world, we work in order to live.  We do not live for work. We work to provide for our families, to meet their basic needs.  We humans are not beasts of burden.

Now I know for those millions of adults in the US that do not currently have jobs this does not sound meaningful.  When you are unemployed and struggling each month to get by and pay your bills and not lose your home, your main focus – and your largest, pressing worry – is to get a job.  I have been there.  I know what you are going through.  Sadly, the failed economic (fiscal and monetary) policies and endless regulations coming from Washington are largely responsible for your trouble finding a good job that pays a decent salary or livable wage.

To return to our main point:  Are we attaching too much importance to our careers?  Are we defining ourselves by what we do each workday at the place of employment – and, thus ending up with a rather narrow and limiting view of ourselves?  (We certainly stereotype people we meet in our thoughts when we find out what their occupation is.)  Yes, one has to work hard and work smart to keep one’s job today or to keep one’s small business in business. But, that is not my question.  Are we valuing our jobs or careers more than we value our loved ones?  Are we so narrow in our focus and in our interests that we are missing so much of life that is out there around us?  (Do we suffer from tunnel vision?)  Are we, in a sense, de-humanizing ourselves by effectively making our work a false god?

One cannot ignore the current “values” prevalent in our society (that is suffering from serious social decay).  The person who earns a large salary and lives in a large expensive home is viewed more favorably and looked up to more than the modest wage earner who has less material possessions.  Career has its place, yes, but it ought not take or occupy the primary place in a person’s life – and it does not need to.

If you are a one dimensional person for whom your career is your identity, the phrase “get a life” is apropos for you.  A job, a career cannot meet all your needs.  The job cannot love you back even if you love it.

Just food for thought.  From time to time, it may help to take a step back and question your priorities in life.  There is always the opportunity cost of how you choose to live your life.  (Time is the scarcest resource as you only have a limited amount of it before you leave this world.)  If you commit much of your time and energy to a career, working 60 or 70 hours a week, you do not have much quality time with your spouse and with your children, or for other meaningful interests and pursuits.

other related thoughts

I have worked for several companies over the years.  There were fellow employees who liked me and there were some who hated my guts.  What of it? My priority was providing for my family.  Away from the job, I had a full life. I worked in order to live and did not become overly attached to any job.  (And, I left jobs, too, when what the employer demanded was far in excess of what they were offering in return – both in pay and in quality of work environment.)

We in the US have it backwards.  We really do.  Finance was supposed to facilitate economic growth and foster commerce.  (Finance was in a support or ancillary role to the economy.)  With economic growth, the needs of families are met.  Thus, finance is to serve the economy and the economy serves the nation’s families.  Today, individuals toil in the wage economy and the profits, the fruits of their labors, are mainly enjoyed by the financiers.  This is not free market capitalism.  It is corporatism controlled by the mega sized banks and trans national corporations.  A corrupt government goes along with this, and the middle class and the small business person are being crushed.


We have shared this essay on this link party:


The below image was taken in the northern hemisphere summer of 2013 and shows our photographer in her nephew’s sports car.


bright colored car 2


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