Quote of the Day: The Importance of Work

 

“Leisure time is only leisure time when it is earned; otherwise, leisure time devolves into soul-killing lassitude. There’s a reason so many new retirees, freed from the treadmill of work, promptly keel over on the golf course: Work fulfills us. It keeps us going.” – Ben Shapiro

Shapiro hits on one of the main reason the loss of jobs is so devastating. Even if the government were able to reimburse the wages of all of those thrown out of work, life would still be unsatisfying for many. They have not earned that leisure time. It feels wrong, and they feel marginalized. They feel unfulfilled.

While  my writing does not bring in nearly as much money as the day job, it brings in enough for survival. Not just financial survival, but psychological survival. I may be locked up at home, but I am still productive enough to earn my keep.

Life without a job often feels like life under siege. Those with adequate reserves wait out the besiegers. Those without watch their stores dwindle away until surrender is inevitable. In my case (and in the case of many retirees) the siege is not a close one. Resources slip in. Sometimes more than is consumed.

Yet having resources for survival is not enough. People have a need to be useful and productive. I look forward to returning to a day job. Even when I reach the age I can retire, I will celebrate that not because I can cease working, but rather because that gives me to freedom to choose what work I undertake.

The angels of heaven are not idle. They labor at what they love, knowing their work is fruitful. The inmates of hell endure an existence of enforced idleness.

Shapiro is right. Work fulfills us.

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  1. OldDanRhody, comfortably seque… Member
    OldDanRhody, comfortably seque…
    @OldDanRhody

    Seawriter: when I reach the age I can retire, I will celebrate that not because I can cease working, but rather because that gives me to freedom to choose what work I undertake.

    When I was a young man I became aware of the phenomenon of some military retirees, retired after 30 years of service, dying within a few years of their retirement.  It seemed to me that they didn’t have a reason to keep on living, so they died.  This can be seen across all occupations, it just stood out to me because of their relative youth and good health.

    • #1
  2. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    OldDanRhody, comfortably seque… (View Comment):
    When I was a young man I became aware of the phenomenon of some military retirees, retired after 30 years of service, dying within a few years of their retirement. It seemed to me that they didn’t have a reason to keep on living, so they died. This can be seen across all occupations, it just stood out to me because of their relative youth and good health.

    The smart ones started second careers. A friend of my father’s (they were in ROTC together) who went career, began a second career as a teacher in his 50s after 30 years in the Army. He was a few years younger than teachers taking early retirement when he started. He could have done something else, but he always wanted to be a teacher. I think he retired from that when he hit 70.

    • #2
  3. Fenmir Member
    Fenmir
    @CaitlinCameron

    What’s work? What’s leisure? How is it earned? I spent a whopping two years in a full-time career before quitting to stay home with my first baby. That turned into homeschooling, which involved lots of volunteer work in the community as well (leader in Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, 4-H, church Sunday school/VBS/youth group, sports, etc.) Eventually as my youngest aged out, I went back to work part time, but even then my volunteer work (through church and hospitals) was infinitely more rewarding than my paid clerical position. Thanks to Covid, I’m involuntarily retired from job and volunteering, but I fill my “leisure time”: reading/study, knitting/sewing/embroidery, calling those who live alone, cooking, and above all walking the dog. I agree that work fulfills us and keeps us going, but I don’t think the paycheck is what makes it work. Of course, my perspective perhaps just shows the privilege of a traditional woman whose “work” is to care for others rather than to provide for others.

    • #3
  4. Charlotte Member
    Charlotte
    @Charlotte

    Fenmir (View Comment):

    What’s work? What’s leisure? How is it earned? I spent a whopping two years in a full-time career before quitting to stay home with my first baby. That turned into homeschooling, which involved lots of volunteer work in the community as well (leader in Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, 4-H, church Sunday school/VBS/youth group, sports, etc.) Eventually as my youngest aged out, I went back to work part time, but even then my volunteer work (through church and hospitals) was infinitely more rewarding than my paid clerical position. Thanks to Covid, I’m involuntarily retired from job and volunteering, but I fill my “leisure time”: reading/study, knitting/sewing/embroidery, calling those who live alone, cooking, and above all walking the dog. I agree that work fulfills us and keeps us going, but I don’t think the paycheck is what makes it work. Of course, my perspective perhaps just shows the privilege of a traditional woman whose “work” is to care for others rather than to provide for others.

     I think it all counts, and then some.

    • #4
  5. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Also one of the reasons the “universal basic income” is a bad idea, and with it the future proposed by some that we need employ only the most creative individuals (proposed to be about 20% of the population) who will become fabulously wealthy and whose wealth will support everyone else whose work will be done by robots. 

    • #5
  6. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    With @caitlincameron “work” is not just paid labor. 

    Mrs. Tabby’s work was mostly keeping our household running so that I could be successful in the paid labor force and then come back and be refreshed, and doing most of the labor of raising our children. Also various volunteer activities.

    I was involuntarily retired about two years ago, and decided not to seek new paid employment. I am still trying to figure out other ways to use the skills that God gave me in useful ways. This shutdown of society has interfered with my exploration.

    • #6
  7. Vectorman Inactive
    Vectorman
    @Vectorman

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    nd with it the future proposed by some that we need employ only the most creative individuals (proposed to be about 20% of the population) who will become fabulously wealthy and whose wealth will support everyone else whose work will be done by robots. 

    The concept of “creative individuals” was pushed by Richard Florida:

    Florida’s theory asserts that metropolitan regions with high concentrations of technology workers, artists, musicians, lesbians and gay men, and a group he describes as “high bohemians”, exhibit a higher level of economic development.

    Except for (some) technology workers, utter nonsense. Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs is much closer to reality.


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    • #7
  8. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Fenmir (View Comment):
    What’s work? What’s leisure? How is it earned?

    What is it that fulfills us about work? Part seems to be feeling needed for something. Would someone miss something or otherwise notice if I didn’t do my work? 

    I keep hearing in my head a story told by some author about a recovering drug addict whose proudest “possession” was a voice mail message from his new boss at a job he got as part of the recovery process. The message instructed him to go to a particular location because the boss needed him to do a particular task. The recovering drug addict valued that message because it was the first time anyone said that he was needed. Being needed spurred him on to do more.

    • #8
  9. Randy Weivoda Moderator
    Randy Weivoda
    @RandyWeivoda

    There are retirees I have known who were busier in their retired life than when they were working.  The may be volunteering at their church, volunteering at a veterans organization, teaching adult education classes, whatever.  These people all seem to be happy.  Then there are the men who retired and spend their days watching sports all day long on TV.  Happy Hour starts a little earlier each day.  These guys seem to be far less happy than the ones who have a reason to get out of bed in the morning.

    • #9
  10. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Seawriter, what do you write that earns you money?

    • #10
  11. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Seawriter, what do you write that earns you money?

    This, mainly. Some magazine articles, although few recently.

    • #11
  12. KentForrester Coolidge
    KentForrester
    @KentForrester

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Seawriter, what do you write that earns you money?

    This, mainly. Some magazine articles, although few recently.

    Wow!  Very impressive.  You’re one hard-working writer. I stand in awe, Seawriter.  We’re lucky to have you on Ricochet. 

    • #12
  13. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    Yes!!!!  This is why I have not been interested in retiring, even though I am turning 71 next week. I prefer to remain a productive member of society as long as possible. I hope to be able to negotiate a summer retirement date rather than take the flimsy voluntary separation offered. After which I will become a Hillsdale Associate and promote the College. 

    • #13
  14. Jon1979 Inactive
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    This is why Andrew Yang’s guaranteed income plan in the end would be as dystopian as anything Bernie Sanders wanted to do. It’s based on a give-up assumption that in the future, machines will take more and more jobs, to the point we’ll have too many people with nothing to do. So just give then money and let them live their lives. The problem, of course, is that people with nothing to do will find something to do, and with no daily purpose in life, odds are good a lot of them are are going to end up using Yang’s money to do self-destructive things. Better to have a president trying to figure out how to keep people in jobs than what to do to keep the excess humans sedate until they’re out of the system.

    • #14
  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    This is why Andrew Yang’s guaranteed income plan in the end would be as dystopian as anything Bernie Sanders wanted to do. It’s based on a give-up assumption that in the future, machines will take more and more jobs, to the point we’ll have too many people with nothing to do. So just give then money and let them live their lives. The problem, of course, is that people with nothing to do will find something to do, and with no daily purpose in life, odds are good a lot of them are are going to end up using Yang’s money to do self-destructive things. Better to have a president trying to figure out how to keep people in jobs than what to do to keep the excess humans sedate until they’re out of the system.

    Right now people living off the government are kept alive because their votes are needed. But once the left consolidates its power to the point where Republicans can no longer annoy them or make them feel unloved, those people will have to live with the knowledge that 1) the government is better off with them dead, and 2) the government has no scruples.

    • #15
  16. Jon1979 Inactive
    Jon1979
    @Jon1979

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    This is why Andrew Yang’s guaranteed income plan in the end would be as dystopian as anything Bernie Sanders wanted to do. It’s based on a give-up assumption that in the future, machines will take more and more jobs, to the point we’ll have too many people with nothing to do. So just give then money and let them live their lives. The problem, of course, is that people with nothing to do will find something to do, and with no daily purpose in life, odds are good a lot of them are are going to end up using Yang’s money to do self-destructive things. Better to have a president trying to figure out how to keep people in jobs than what to do to keep the excess humans sedate until they’re out of the system.

    Right now people living off the government are kept alive because their votes are needed. But once the left consolidates its power to the point where Republicans can no longer annoy them or make them feel unloved, those people will have to live with the knowledge that 1) the government is better off with them dead, and 2) the government has no scruples.

    Because the Democrats after Obama’s 2012 re-election thought they had figured out the Rosetta Stone for perpetual control of the White House, via a coalition of special interest groups and upper-income bi-coastal elites (who would govern, of course), the Hillary 2016 campaign really gave the voters a taste of what’s to come for most of Flyover Country if that formula ever works.

    It didn’t because Team Clinton foolishly thought they could tell those areas to pound sand and the Midwest blue collar union types would still robotically vote Democrat on Nov. 8. That’s the main reason Biden’s the nominee — he may wake up at night and not remember where the bathroom is, but the Dems think he’ll woo back the Midwest blue collar union types from Trump.

    • #16
  17. Kephalithos Member
    Kephalithos
    @Kephalithos

    Passive consumption does not constitute a happy life. Work is essential, but I do think the kind of work matters.

    Some people need just a task — any task — to keep them away from apathy. Other people (like me) have a natural ability to give themselves an infinite number of things to do, and they tend to be more selective in their choice of work. Are they wrong to be selective? I hope not.

    • #17
  18. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Nailed it.  Thank you, Seawriter.

    • #18
  19. Jeff Petraska Member
    Jeff Petraska
    @JeffPetraska

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Seawriter, what do you write that earns you money?

    This, mainly. Some magazine articles, although few recently.

    Congratulations on writing a book that is currently selling for $973.90 on Amazon!

     

    • #19
  20. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Jeff Petraska (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    Seawriter, what do you write that earns you money?

    This, mainly. Some magazine articles, although few recently.

    Congratulations on writing a book that is currently selling for $973.90 on Amazon!

    I am impressed. (Is there anyone stupid enough to bite on that? I guess P.T. Barnum must be right. )

    • #20
  21. Pete EE Member
    Pete EE
    @PeteEE

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    After which I will become a Hillsdale Associate and promote the College. 

    That, too, seems pretty productive.

    • #21
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