Excerpt from “Manhood” by Steve Biddulph ~~Work~~

picture-Manhood-BiddulphPutting the heart back into work
It isn’t the fact of working that does harm. Work is good – it’s what men love to do. It’s the nature of work that is the problem. If you do a job that lacks heart, it will kill you. The strongest predictor of life expectancy in a man is whether he likes his job. Two elements – the lack of real purpose and the lack of personal control – are the main problems.
Our ancestors laughed as they worked and sang; they enjoyed the rush of the hunt, the steady teamwork of digging for yams or the discovery of a honey-filled tree. Watch any documentary or archival footage of preliterate people, you will see the same thing. Life was often hard but it was rarely without laughter. In time, though, cultures evolved away from the forest and the coast and into the village and the town. We did the work that others commanded, and it became a grind – increasingly repetitive. It was a numbing of human senses and a subjugation of ourselves beneath the need just to survive. Today, as we verge on the 21st century, work has become more comfortable but not more fulfilling. It’s still a separate compartment in life – something you tolerate in exchange for ‘real’ living in the time left over from doing your job, getting to your job and recovering from your job! Work today drives an unhealthy wedge into the very core of our life. The time has come to heal it.
Most people today, men and women, do work they do not much like – jobs that are beneath them. When I was a teenager, there was an idea being introduced in schools called ‘career guidance’. It’s aim was to help you find something you liked to do. But underneath it all we dimly sensed the real purpose. Since you had to work to purchase the good life, the aim was just to find the best paying job you could tolerate. That’s what jobs were. Why else would you do them? (At least in those days there was a choice – with unemployment rates today, to have any job is seen as a privilege and being choosy is a sin.)
We have to fight this short-selling of human potential – reject it in our own lives, and not pass it on to our kids, blighting their childhood with recessionary gloom. The purpose of adolescence is to find what you really love to do. Once you find this you must learn to do it well enough, so that it will pay as a by-product. You will either be happy, or rich and happy! The aim is to have work that your heart is in. Work that makes you jump out of bed in the morning, keen to get started. This is not so hard as you might have been led to believe.

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1 Comment

Filed under Literature, Non-Fiction

One response to “Excerpt from “Manhood” by Steve Biddulph ~~Work~~

  1. Steve Biddulph was born in Saltburn, England in 1953 and is an Australian author who has written a number of books including Manhood, Raising Boys and The Secret of Happy Children.
    ‘Manhood’ covers the key areas to a man’s life – parenting, love and sexuality, finding meaning in work and making real friends.
    He was voted Australian Father of the Year in 2000 for his work encouraging the active role of fathers.

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