It’s off to work I go

Let’s think about the way we think about work: A brief history and reflection on the concept of a career.

All animals exert physical effort in order to survive. Humans are no different. But we humans are also the ‘great abstractors’ and we give this effort a specific label: we call it ‘work.’ The stories we tell one another about the nature and meaning of our work go on to become central themes in our cultures, societies, and governments.

One of the things that seems to make humans unique is the animal world is that we tell stories. Arguably some of the most powerful stories we tell one another are narratives about the nature and value of work. The concepts of jobs, careers, and employment are like the air we breath — we barely think about them even as we spend so many of our waking hours occupied in labour of one kind or another.

In this presentation, titled How Did Work Become the Point of Life?, John Hassan and myself share some thoughts and ideas about the nature of work. (Recorded at Curious Public at Central Library on Monday, October 2, 2017.)

John Hassan (@scubaguy62) came to Canada in 1969 as a child, when his parents decided to move the family to achieve a better life than could be had in his native Scotland during the late 1960’s. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces 1979 and later worked for the Ministry of Correctional Services. John recently retired after just over 27 years of service in the London Fire Department, and held the rank of Captain of an Engine Company at Station 2.