By Felix a. Montelara
Author: Potencial Millonario (Spanish Edition)
Today I want to talk to you about work. What is work? Why do we work? What kind of work do we value? What work are we willing to pay for? Why is work so important to us? When you think about yourself, do you define yourself by your work? Do you work for a living, do you live to work, do you have a career, or do you work just to pay the bills? Is there a difference between your job and your work? These are questions worth pondering. Believe it or not, your job probably is a big part of how you define yourself. Your job, and how you feel about your job, probably define much of your self-worth and your self-esteem. The ins and outs of your day at work probably determine whether you have a good day or a bad day. The million dollar question is: should we define ourselves in this way?
Let’s think about how work has been defined in the past. Actually, long ago work was thought of as something that really important people didn’t do. In ancient cultures such as Greece and Rome, the truly important people didn’t labor or do work. That would be beneath them. Important people had servants to do their work, from running their land to running their household. These people definitely did not define themselves by their work, so why do we?
The role of work in people’s lives has changed. After the period in history known as the Renaissance came the Reformation in the 1500s. It was then that work began to be acceptable both socially and morally. This was a turbulent time in all aspects of art, science, religion and culture. From this time period comes our modern view of work which is to say that people began to “do” things and then defined themselves by what they did.
Later on, with the advent of mechanization and industrialization, the major means of employment became paid labor. The definition of work became associated with being paid. It was then that tasks for which payment did not occur became devalued by society. For example, no one was paid to clean their own house, so cleaning the house was not considered work.
No one was paid to take care of their children, or to care for the sick or elderly of the family. So caring for family members was no longer considered work. Everyday tasks and chores, primarily the responsibility of the female caregivers of the household, became things that women were expected to do – while men went outside the home to work and get paid.
Now we need to ask ourselves a few more introspective questions about how we define work today. Let’s not just think about ourselves. No, I want you to think about how you define the work of women and mothers in particular. Soon it will be Mother’s Day. Women and their role in our homes, workplace, and society should be on our minds. Do the mothers in your life a real service on Mother’s Day this year. Not just flowers or a card, or a quick sentiment that lasts a day only. Instead, do some real soul-searching about the real, honest work that the women in your life do. How many responsibilities does she have that go unpaid and unacknowledged? How many roles does she fulfil, and do you expect her to fulfil them just because she is a woman? How many sacrifices does she make on a daily basis that go unnoticed? Let’s take some time to think about the history of work and our attitudes toward it, as I have reflected on here. Let’s take some time to think about how the roles of men and women in the home have developed and the historical background for why we view these roles the way we do today. Then, let’s take the time to examine whether we are really fair to the women in our lives, especially the mothers. Give this some real thought, and then approach the mothers that you know with some real respect. And rather than a box of chocolates, take responsibility yourself for one of those things you ‘expect’ her to do. Not for a day, but from now on. If you truly want to honor the mother’s that you know, then honor them making a lasting change to how you value the unpaid work they do every day and night. Then prove yourself worthy by doing some of this work yourself.