Watch any of the popular quiz shows on television, and as the contestants introduce themselves it follows a set pattern: what’s your name, where do you live, what do you do? That paints a snapshot of who they are.
The majority of people will refer to their job as the thing they do, but I prefer to consider “work” as another answer to the “what do you do” – and this is more than an occupation. The Oxford dictionary defines work as an “activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.”
I believe that we should value work just as much as employment. It’s good for your physical and mental wellbeing, builds and maintains relationships, gives you purpose, builds confidence and motivation, and offers a sense of achievement. The only difference, in my opinion, between work and employment is that the latter has an additional reward: money.
No doubt earning money for your efforts is beneficial, but work is there to be valued, even if it doesn’t attract a wage.
Try telling a housewife that housework isn’t important. Or a student they shouldn’t waste their time on homework. Or a football side they don’t need to improve their teamwork.
There are a host of other things that are work: volunteering, caring for a family member, DIY around the house, completing a sodoku puzzle….
I work hard at being a husband, dad, uncle, friend, colleague, dog walker and die-hard Carrick Rangers’ supporter (that last on is very hard work at times!). All of these come with non-commercial rewards. Actually, they are rewards you can’t buy.
So, when you encounter someone who is unemployed, retired, or too ill to consider employment at the minute, don’t think they aren’t working. They may be working harder than you think.