Do young people increasingly believe that work -- or at least work for pay -- is not a source of meaning in their lives?
Phil and Pam/Flickr
Some further reflection brought to mind a piece that had baffled me in a course on nineteenth-century British Literature: the chapter entitled "Labour" from Thomas Carlyle's "Past and Present". I wanted to like Carlyle...(but) his declaration that "The latest Gospel in this world is, Know thy work and do it" disturbed me. I struggled to understand why an idealist, influenced by the thinkers of both the European and American Enlightenments, would stress the value of labor beyond its simple purpose as a means of making a living, such that it would become, as he writes, "a life-purpose."
Maureen's comment seemed to echo those of several other young respondents who confessed that they did not expect to rely on work -- at least work for pay -- as a steady source of meaning in their lives. Many of the middle-aged respondents said they wished they'd learned that lesson long ago. What are your thoughts?
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.