The Benefits Of Work

“Why would I want to work?”

I had a man ask me this question yesterday. I couldn’t tell if he was be sarcastic, flippant or genuinely asking for a couple of seconds. However I tried, the usual visual cues weren’t there for me to pick up on. He didn’t have a wry smile, wasn’t folding his arms across his chest in defiance or really give anything away; so I took him as seriously asking and found out shortly I’d been right to do so.

After I gave him some of the many benefits and reasons people work, I started to think that there had to be others like him. So, this is for the ones who really don’t understand why people would choose to work. Please add your own reasons in the comments section.

  1. Purpose. Waking up in the morning feeling you’re contributing to something, or making the lives of others better in the work that you do gives one’s life meaning. Without purpose, a person can feel aimless, lost, lacking direction. Waking up and wondering what you’ll do with your day is nice occasionally, but as a fixed routine can lose its appeal quickly.
  2. Contribution. This can be a hard sell to someone who feels that the world owes them a living. Contributing your skills, experience, knowledge, wisdom, failures and successes with others actually gives back in many ways. If you don’t like the current way things are done in some area, get involved and work to change what you see could be better. Change from within and not from a distance is very effective.
  3. Learn. When you learn you grow, when you’re ripe you rot. Learning doesn’t just happen the first few days and weeks on a job. Some of the smartest people I know realize that learning happens every day in some way. Whether it’s in some small way or a huge change in how one does their work, learning never stops. When you’re not working, this can be impossible for some to grasp.
  4. Responsibility. Being responsible isn’t a bad thing at all. In fact, this accountability can be extremely beneficial. A worker is but a part of a larger group of workers, and mutual responsibility means showing up on time with regularity and punctuality. It means being depended upon and counted on to add to an organization and in so doing lighten the load of others; bring your gifts to projects and make things better.
  5. Income. Not number one; but yes work provides income. Income alone isn’t what it’s about but rather, what income allows you to buy or invest in. Living where you choose, in accommodations that don’t just protect you from the elements but enhance your appreciation of the world around you. Money gives you the means to travel, eat better, visit those people and places that add to the richness of your life.
  6. Good mental health. Work is good for your brain; your mental stability; your intellect and what it wards off. Work and you stave off some anxiety and depression. You get more control of yourself and the world you experience. As you work, your brain cells get stimulated, you enrich your days and have things to talk about at day’s end that you’ve accomplished, struggled with, experienced and been a part of.
  7. Self-Confidence. Work and you’ll feel good about yourself. There’s that first pay cheque, the moments when the boss tells you you’re doing well, you complete something without having to be shown how, you create a product or give great service. “I can do this!” is a great feeling.
  8. Inclusion. You ward off isolation when you work because you’re part of a company, you work on a team, you interact better with those around you; feel like you’re a part of a group and yes, you are needed and appreciated. Whether a second family or not, your co-workers can become people you actually care about, and yes, they’ll care about you too.
  9. Self-control. When you work, you decide how much to spend and how much to save. You decide what to buy and what to save up for too. When someone far away is ill or you just want to see your family who live far away you have the means to get there. Save some each pay and you’ll have the money to get by if there’s a downturn in the economy, you get laid off, or you want to change jobs.
  10. Physical health. Work means physical exertion and movement. Not only is that good, but if you get ill, you’ll either have a health plan through an employer or have the money to invest privately in health care if you choose. Now you have the money to eat healthier foods, eat regularly and eat guilt-free.

There are many reasons to work and these 10 aren’t the entire list. Yes, there are people who don’t work and depend entirely on the generosity of others to live. They work in a very real sense too of course; some begging for handouts, others collecting beer cans and bottles to exchange. Some live on social assistance, dependent entirely on governments and taxpayers to decide their income. It is possible to go through one’s life and not ‘work’ in the traditional sense.

Work doesn’t mean you’re miserable for 7 or more hours a day. It is for many a rich, rewarding use of their time they appreciate.

Why Get Your First Job?

Okay so you’re fairly new to this idea of work. It doesn’t sound very appealing; giving up your free time doing exactly what you want just for a pay cheque. But is that all work is about? If you think that’s it, you’re not looking at all the other benefits of having a job.

Here’s a list of just some of the goodies that having a job will give you. Whether they look cool or not right now, you’ll appreciate them down the road.

Responsible Your co-workers and employer are counting on you to be present, to complete your work.

Interpersonal Interacting with other people outside of your family and friends teaches you how to interact with others.

Teamwork Those group projects in school where you had to work with others is about to pay off. You’ll learn what it’s like to be inter-dependent on others and them on you, to get work done.

Direction Just about everybody has someone telling them what to do. If the world up to now has revolved around you, you’re going to get a quick education. You’ll also learn taking direction from others is a good thing; a normal thing.

Punctual Being late doesn’t cut it in the real world. You’re expected to be ready to work when your shift starts; every day.

Dependable You learn to depend on others and have them depend on you; maybe for the first time.

Problem Solving Mom and Dad don’t come to work with you so you’ll learn to solve your own problems. Don’t be surprised if your problem-solving skills are poor at first. You’ll learn by trial and error; maybe even by observation.

Decision-making At work you’ll have to make your own decisions and be accountable for your choices; this is good.

Independence This is your job, your workplace. You’re positioning yourself to eventually stand on your own. Moving out takes money and your job just might cover the rent, food, transportation, entertainment etc. you want.

Accomplishment As you work, you’ll achieve success; accomplish things that will surprise you. You’ll feel good about these things and maybe want to achieve more; be more successful.

Financial Management Your first pay; hopefully of many to come. Now you have to manage your funds, save for things you want, sock some away and/or invest it so it can grow. Spend it quickly and you’ll learn its value.

Likes vs. Dislikes What do you like or dislike about the job you have? As you learn about yourself, research jobs that have more of the things you like; all jobs have some elements you’ll dislike.

Co-existing You’ll have to work with some people you’d rather not. Tough; you may not be their idea of a great co-worker either. Get over yourself and learn to get along; it’s a skill and the faster you learn it the better you’ll be.

Grading Just like in school, your performance is going to be evaluated; you’re going to be evaluated. You’re going to lean how others perceive your work, your effort, your attitude, and how you deal with challenges.

Customer Service The shoe is now on the other foot; you’re the one serving others. Do it well; you need it in all jobs.

Attitude It’s not enough to just show up in whatever mood you choose. Try it and see. You’ll learn that to surround yourself with people who have a good attitude, you must have one yourself.

Fashion Goodbye stilettos, flip-flops, exposed belly buttons, cleavage, boxers; hello overalls, safety shoes, uniforms, shirt and tie. There’s a dress code in your workplace for a reason. Don’t fight it – understand and adhere to it.

Multi-tasking Whether one person gives you several things to do or a few people give each give something to do, you’ll be expected to get several things done and done well by the way.

Work It’s called work for a reason; it’s…ah…work. It may not come easy and you have to put in the effort to get things done. This would be why they actually pay you for your time.

Socialization Yes you’ll meet new people, maybe find some who share your interests and interest you. Instead of texting, you’ll be having face-to-face conversations; you’ll actually enjoy some of them.

Integration Being a part of a business, part of an organization with many other people gives you a sense of community; belonging to a group. That inclusiveness is a good thing, because you’ll spend a lot of time with your co-workers.

Exposure As you work, you’re going to see people in other jobs, requiring some of the skills you’ll have and some you’ll want to acquire. By being exposed to these other people, you’ll potentially learn about new opportunities.

Recognition Everyone likes a pat on the back or a, ‘job well done’. Not only will you get this kind of recognition, work hard and you’ll make a name for yourself so when you do apply for other jobs, you’re memorable.

Buying Stuff Eventually mom and dad are going to stop giving you everything you ask for. That’s not how the real world works anyhow. Yep, you’re going to want stuff and eventually be told, “Get a job and buy it yourself.” Not only does a job give you the money to make it happen, you might get discounts on the stuff your organization produces.

Fun Work can still be a fun place you actually want to go to.