Identity and Work


Work is Love Made Visible – Kahlil Gibran. 

Our self-identity, over time, has become so fragmented and pigeonholed that we no longer know the essence of who we are. It seems the human race is going through a severe crisis of identity, without even being aware of it. Whereas, during the agrarian age, work was not separate from life and living, was deeply and inextricably intertwined with nature, and followed nature’s order, the industrial age disconnected humans from nature, and, created an artificial, closed environment with loss of autonomy for the mass of people.

The factories were designed to make workers ‘fit’ into production lines, and other functions, which began to emerge as the industrial age progressed into the 20th century. For the first time, work, became ‘separated’ from life and living, and terms like ‘career’, ‘career ladder’, and ‘career planning’ emerged.

The conventional approach to career planning is centered on a mechanistic worldview that tends to view people as static, interchangeable parts in a grand machine, and reduce human beings to collections of personality traits, aptitudes, or skills that could be matched with preexisting job slots.

The result is staring us right in front of our eyes. Work, which should essentially be a deep expression of the self, has insidiously transformed into something we have to do ‘to make a living’. Devoid of connection with nature and unable to be oneself, the entire human race has willy-nilly become a mass of extremely fragmented and split personalities leading to dangerous consequences, seeking escape through artificial forms of entertainment and other means, in the quest for the elusive ‘work-life balance’.

Is your work a deep expression of yourself, or, is it just another ‘job’ for you ‘to make a living’?  Is your work, your life’s work, to which you are committed till you are alive? Is your work separated from your life? Are you questing for the elusive ‘work-life balance’? Does your work environment make you feel like you are a living, growing, conscious and spiritual being? Or, does your work environment view you as a static, interchangeable part in a grand machine, and reduces you to a collection of personality traits, aptitudes, or skills that could be matched with preexisting job slots? Do you bring your whole self to work, or, bring only a tiny part, and leave the rest behind?

Is your work, your love made visible?

What is work doing to you?