However powerful our technology and complicated our corporations, the most remarkable feature of the modern working world is in the end internal, it consists in an aspect of our mentalities: in the beautiful and noble belief that the work we do should make us happy and contribute to the meaning of our lives.
All societies have had work at their center; ours is the first to suggest that work must be something much more than a punishment or a drag. Ours is the first to imply that we should seek to work even in the absence of a pressing financial imperative: that we should work to be fully human.
Nowadays, our choice of occupation defines our identity to the extent that the most obvious question we ask of new acquaintances is not where they come from or who their parents were but what they do, the assumption being that the route to a meaningful life is deeply connected to the job we pick for ourselves.
As we enter the job market, the question is to know not only what is available out there, but also – and just as importantly – what our hearts really desire.
Of course, to find our way to the right job is a huge challenge. As we enter the job market, the question is to know not only what is available out there, but also—and just as importantly—what our hearts really desire. Nowadays, most jobs cannot be done properly without passion. Then again, it isn’t normal to know what we want. It is a rare and difficult psychological achievement. We need to give ourselves time: finding a job we are competent at and enjoy doing is as difficult and as rare as a good marriage.
Not all of us are going to have the sort of outstanding careers often celebrated in the media, but to hold down any job means being given a chance to help out in the great and important task of bettering some corner of the human beehive. Work should be honored for allowing us to focus our otherwise scattered energies on some achievable goals, for giving us a sense of mastery, for making us respectably tired and for allowing us to create something that is just a little bit more ordered, beautiful, logical, or helpful than we manage to be day to day in the rest of our lives.