The pleasures of work
The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, by Alain de Botton is a beautiful little book exploring this facet of life, that in many ways, dominates our time, social interactions and even who we are. de Botton considers the love-hate relationship that many people have with work, and points out that the jobs that a majority of people have were chosen years before by their much younger and inexperienced 16 year old selves.
The Book of Life, an online ‘book’ published by The School of Life, de Botton’s brain child, has an entire chapter on work – finding it, losing it, ‘misemployment’, unemployment, why work is easier than love, and the pleasures and sorrows associated with it.
On the pleasures of work, The Book of Life explores the deeper, more meaningful Good Sides of Work:
“We’re used to thinking about the good sides of work purely in terms of money and status, and tend to forget a raft of other benefits that work – however modest it might be – can bring us. We went around the world to interview a diverse range of people at their jobs, in order to tease out some benefits of work independent of purely material gain.”
The Book of Life suggests there are at least eight of these benefits, including:
1. Helping Humanity – even in just small ways, making the lives of fellow humans better
2. Identity – finding a route to who we are
3. Sociability – connecting with others
4. Control – feeling like the master of our domain
5. A better self – putting the best of ourselves into what we do or make
6. Meaning – increasing the pleasure or decreasing the pain of another human
7. Dignity – finding respect, contributing to others and having a role in a community
8. Growth – engaging our intelligence and exercising our cognitive faculties
Each of these benefits are illustrated by wonderfully produced short clips like the one above; glimpses into ‘a day in the working life’ of a diverse range of people – from the hairdresser in Seoul, a newsagent in Birmingham, and a brain surgeon in Texas, to a baker in Mali, a cattle herder in Cameroon, and a taxi driver in Istanbul.
A buffet of SIMs
Watching these clips, it struck me that the good side of work provides SIMs in every category – the things we hear, see, smell, taste and touch, the things we do, the things we say, the things we think and believe, the places we go, the people in our life and the things happening in our body.
The eight (but there are so many more) benefits listed by The Book of Life are compelling reminders for clinicians and therapists that there is a potent, therapeutic buffet of powerful, context rich SIMs available through work.
Get a blast of the latest and greatest neuroimmune science, DIMs, SIMs and The Protectometer at a NOI course in 2016 – Combined Explain Pain and GMI courses in Townsville April 29 – May 1, and Noosa June 17-19, and Pain, Plasticity and Rehabilitation in Adelaide 14-15May.