Why do you work? Are you happy in your job?

Worthiness of employment (job) and work “Que gagne-t-on en travaillant?” was one of the philosophy questions in last Monday’s Baccalaureate (high school diploma) French exam.

When I was in Australia, I often heard people whinging about neighbours and acquaintances who received unemployment benefits from the government but were too lazy to work (known as dole bludgers). Some people enjoy working but dislike their job. Working is not synonymous with employment (job). Work is any activity involving the use of effort to achieve a goal, such as to repaint the house or to earn money. A work may not be a job but a job requires working.

Job, e.g. teaching or bus driving, is specific referring to a particular employment. Repainting your house during your free time is work but not your job (employment), which can give you satisfaction and joy. Work can sometimes be un-enjoyable also that’s why we often describe it as the opposite of play, e.g. cleaning toilets at home.

Back to the French philosophy question: what do you gain by working? by having a job? I hope that our French high school graduating students, after 4 hours of writing about this topic under the watchful eyes of Education Departmental staff and detectors, acquired a more positive attitude and behavior towards work and employment in the midst of a bleak economic reality. What happened to our ‘Right to Work’ philosophy, “Just Wage for Fair Work” ethics and socially-responsible business model?

Why should young adults work for the retirement of the very people who spoiled the global economy? Why work when governments take some of your earnings in the form of fines and taxes (e.g. French Government has imposed a tax of 75% to those who have an annual income of more than 1M Euros)? We need governments to ensure public services (hospitals, schools, security, etc) and stability but… is it possible not to borrow money externally to pay for these? Are these borrowings wisely spent? Should governments bail out banks and ailing companies to avoid making individuals unemployed?

Are people in places with low unemployment rate generally happier than those in countries with high unemployment rate? Let’s have a quick and selective scan of the unemployment statistics: Japan – 4.6%, Australia – 5.1%, Luxembourg – 6.1%, Germany – 7.4%, UK – 8.2%, France – 9.8%, Egypt – 12.4%, Greece – 23.0%, Spain – 24.4%, Rwanda – 30.0% (www.tradingeconomics.com seen on 19/06/12). Who are the jolly lot? Who stay out of their jobs longer than 4 weeks each year to be on the beach or staycation? Who waste no time to strike or demonstrate for any opportunity that arises? Who pay the least minimum wage?

Selected paragraphs from my website Being Intelligent Gifted.

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