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Why People Work: Discussion

Individuals have different notions regarding work or employment. For many, it is a means to life and survival in society whereas others view it as an excuse to unleash one’s creativity and talent. From firefighters to urologists, from ushers to designers, each has their own views and opinions regarding their respective jobs.

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Some work just to make enough money for survival whereas some work because of desire and ambition. This, however, has a direct link to job satisfaction i.e. the more suited the job is to an employee’s interests; the more satisfied the employee would be (Louisa May Alcott, 2007).

Experiencing Work

Intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors determine how an individual regards his/her job; however, research suggests that most individuals are working merely to make ends meet i.e. to enjoy other things in life. These people are usually complacent with whatever job they do as long as it provides them with the basic necessities of life. These individuals are usually dissatisfied with their jobs merely because their job description does not match their interests. They are only working for the monetary rewards attached to the job.

How often do we hear people complaining about their bosses or jobs? People believe that work is the only solution, it’s something which has to be done, and there is no way out of it which is why it is called ‘work’. Such people consider their jobs as the reason for the respect they earn through it, even though they may not like their jobs. A person may have dreamed of becoming a professional dancer but because of the lack of respect for this profession in society, he may have resorted to a boring job as an accountant. This eventually results in stress, depression, dissatisfaction, and lack of motivation (Jennifer M Goergel, Gareth R Jones, 1997). For e.g. my father works for the merchant navy i.e. he is a captain in a shipping company. The job keeps him away from family for months, years pass by before he gets to celebrate his birthday with family and he is usually distressed with the workload. The only reason why he is still working is that it is good steady money and that all family wants and needs are met on time even if it calls for the murder of personal satisfaction.

Conversely, there are individuals who are thrilled to be at work, they enjoy what they are doing and are content with their work environment and job description. For these people, the pay does not matter, as long as a positive work environment, challenging work, and employee interests match. For e.g. my mother, who is a teacher, has had a passion for teaching. It gives her inner satisfaction and enables her to do what she does best. Such people believe that one should always pursue a career within one’s interests else life would become dull and boring. Why do scientists spend years in laboratories? It’s because they view their job as a challenge and not as a means to survival. They regard their jobs as an excuse to unleash their creativity and talent and work for the benefit of society (Yoav Ganzach, 2004). An uncle of mine is a nutritionist, a job unknown to many people, however, he has a lot of knowledge regarding health sciences and nutrition and he loves his job because it helps him improve the lives of others. Similarly, another relative is an ambulance driver; Why? Because he/she thinks what’s a better job than saving people’s lives. Thus, interests, ambitions, and talents all support the saying “Do what you are built to do”.

I would like to conclude that it makes sense for an individual to work according to his/her interests as that would result in increased job satisfaction, motivation, and eventually increased productivity and quality.


Louisa May Alcott. (2007). Work: A story of experience. Large Print. Published by: Biblio Bazaar.

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Jennifer M Goergel, Gareth R Jones. (1997). Experiencing Work: Values, Attitudes, and Moods. Human Relations, Vol 50, 393-416.

Yoav Ganzach. (2004). Intelligence, Education, And Facets of Job Satisfaction. Work and Occupations, Vol 34, 97-122.

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