Over the last couple of weeks our class has been discussing the different definitions of work we have to day in our society. Since working is one of few necessities to survival it is a common thing and has been the main point of many lives for many generations. We are so familiar with the term, however when one is asked to define the word it becomes such a struggle. One can say work is laboring on a farm all day, but it can also be just sitting at a desk and using your brain or not using your brain at all. This term can be very broad and cover so many categories. Although if one was to look up the word work in Oxford American College Dictionary it states that work is, "an activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result". My definition is somewhat similar. I believe that work is an act that a person has performed to gain or not to gain a reward or incentive.
When people speak of work, it is usually about the occupation or job they do to make money and provide for themselves or their family. When choosing a job some strive to find the one that will make them the happiest; something that they can wake up in the morning and be excited to go to. Then there are those who just need a job to make quick money whether they like it or not. In reality people are now strung out on living out what is known as the "American Dream". The American Dream is a dangerous deception that the American society all needs to wake up from. Movies always depict the American Dream as having a big house surrounded by a white picket fence, a dog, and two kids. Although many people own a house, it turns out that they are less happy than when they lived in an apartment. Many people work all their lives to obtain the goal of living the American dream. In Richard Sennett's passage "No Long Term: New Work and the Corrosion of Character", he speaks of a man who was a janitor for 20 years; "His work had one single purpose, the service of his family" (165). He did whatever he could to make sure his family was happy and so they could live the life that was only a dream to some people. "It had taken him fifteen years to save the money for a house, which he purchased in a suburb" (Sennett 165). Happiness is based on living within your means and developing relationships with people you love and respect.
There are many instances where work does not even involve the receiving of money. Mothers have been working since the beginning of time. Moms have taken over the jobs of cooking, cleaning, babysitting, and punishing. The definition here is basically putting for the physical or mental effort to accomplish a task. This type of work is also done in sports. Athletes must physically work there bodies by exercising to the point where they almost pass out to accomplish the goal of getting stronger. As for the mental aspect, students are a great example. School students are learning new things every day to work to gaining the maximum knowledge they need to graduate.