Why do we work?

Why do we work? Seriously. Think about it. We all wake up each morning, slap the snooze button a few times, and mumble over breakfast. And then we go to work. Every day, Monday through Friday, 40 hours a week—if we’re lucky. But have you stopped lately and asked yourself “Why do we work?” It’s an interesting question, something we don’t give much thought to. But as Labor Day approaches, let’s take a step back and revisit the question. Why do we work?

Reasons for Working

There are many reasons we go to work every day. Of course, the most obvious reason is about making the money that we need to support our livelihood, to pay for our food and shelter while providing for our families. But there are other answers to the question “Why do we work?” Here are a few other common reasons that people work:

To be part of a team
The workplace is a group of individuals who come together to form a team and work toward common goals.

To achieve results and a sense of productivity
Do you feel bored and restless on rainy days or on other days that you don’t accomplish much? You might be the type of person who really needs to feel productive, and working is a great way to do that. For many of us, our jobs allow us to “see results” and problem solve, and this can be the source of fulfillment.

To be a leader
Some people are “natural born leaders.” These ambitious and skilled workers find satisfaction in leading others toward a common goal.

To grow
For many people, their jobs allow them to break out of their comfort zone and explore new challenges and experiences. Their work allows them to develop new likes, interests, and skills through professional development opportunities, and they can achieve personal development as well.

To make a difference
Many people want their jobs to make a difference. They really want to feel like they are contributing to the greater good of society. For some, this means working at a non-profit or charitable organization, for others it means getting their company involved in the community or volunteer activities.

To expand a social circle
Yes, the technical term is “co-workers” or “colleagues,” but let’s face it, we make “friends” at work too. Although the workplace is about hard work and efficiency, it’s also a social environment. Many people enjoy their co-workers, and in some cases enjoy spending time together outside of work as well.

To gain recognition
It feels good to get recognized, and most people want to “do a good job.” No one wants their hard work to go unnoticed, and many people seek praises and raises to keep motivated on the job.
But what about financial goals?

The Financial Answers to “Why do we work?”

Yep, let’s face it. The number one reason we work is to make money. But it’s not quite that simple. What should we be doing with the money we make? How can we use this money in a smart and sustainable way?

Most people have financial goals and work is the first step to achieving them. For many of us, the financial answers to “Why do we work?” can be summarized as follows:

  • To live a financially comfortable life, not paycheck to paycheck
  • To save for retirement
  • To save for college
  • To give money to friends or family in need

For people in debt, these goals are extra challenging. Credit card payments, and expensive interest can make getting our paycheck less exciting, because we already know we are going to give that money to creditors.

Even people without debt may struggle to make progress toward these goals, because they don’t have the right information or don’t feel confident in their financial decision-making.

Thankfully, you don’t have to make these decisions alone. Whether you need a debt management plan or just some personalized budget advice, we can help. Contact us today to get started with a free budget review with a credit counselor who can help make an action plan just for you.

Also, be sure to look for a Setting Financial Goals: What Are You Working For? presentation near you!

Thomas Bright is a longstanding Clearpoint blogger and student loan repayment aficionado who hopes that his writing can simplify complex subjects. When he’s not writing, you’ll find him hiking, running or reading philosophy. You can follow him on Twitter.

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