Is Work the New Religion?
And unemployment its new sin?
"Your dream job is out there, so never stop hustling" - the blueprint for spiritual and physical exhaustion. Long hours don’t make anybody more productive or creative; they make people stressed, tired and bitter.
And not all people have the luxury or luck of finding a fulfilling job or career.
However, for many, work has become the new religion. You go into your church every day and worship at the alter of work. Yet, can it really fill the role that religion and spirituality play in helping us develop a deep sense of values while connecting us to a greater good? Can it guide us in making important life decisions, soothe our souls in times or worry and despair? Does it care about us and our wellbeing?
Our unpredictable and overburdened schedules are taking a dire toll
When they first introduced automatic and robotic machinery many lost their shit over robots taking their jobs, even though the idea was that technology would help us work less, little did we know we'd ended up working more than ever.
People are spending more and more time at work; looking to their jobs as a source of personal worth; but you are not your job.
And people are more likely to define their identity through work instead of their hobbies, or family life. But work is broken: too many people seek validation from work, when in reality there is a lack of moral leadership in the world of work.
Workism proclaims that we must “do what we love and love what we do.”
Work has morphed into a religious identity - workism; promising transcendence and community, but failing to deliver, as it's end goal isn't unconditional love or humanity. So, instead of looking for meaning through work, maybe treat work as a mean to live.
Our relationship with work is distorted, maybe even toxic. Our desks were never meant to be our altars. No wonder people are so eager to buy into the wellness industry’s latest gadgets to eliminate their woes and erase the pain of the overidentification of work with worth. But wellness fails to address workism itself, the root cause of most of our weariness.
Though purpose at work can be important, it's not your identity nor the currency of your worth. You might not be into extended family dinners, spontaneous outings or neighborly visits. But work can easily separate us from nature, other people, meaning - while alienating us from who we are.
Meaning isn’t something to be found outside of us; meaning is something we create
Yes, some get a lot of fulfillment out of what they do for a living. Yet, not everyone is a believer; for most, work is a necessity. In my experience many only feel like themselves after they clock out; they create meaning and purpose outside of work, and often they seem like the happiest people I know.
There is nothing wrong with working hard, but there is also nothing wrong with leaving time for the pursuit of serenity and joy either.
I encourage you to challenge the norms of your work-life balance, and start investing more time in nourishing activities.