Society Hits the Pause Button–Is it Time to Redefine the Meaning of Work?

Marie Trout
4 min readApr 1, 2020

Unemployment numbers are rising. This trend will continue for the foreseeable future. It is painful and stressful. It is scary. Many of us wake up in the middle of the night with our minds racing about how we will be able to meet our financial responsibilities.

For many of us, this is not a new experience.

We routinely wonder how we will be able to take care of those we love.

We routinely wonder how we will be able to take care of ourselves.

Added to it now, is societal uncertainty with the virus spreading and leaders waffling in response.

Government intervention is heralded as the solution or mocked as the problem.

The truth is, most stimulus efforts are band aids that will help, but not fix the underlying, systemic problems we are facing.

Fundamental, philosophical, and deeply-rooted changes are needed.

Our thoughts about who we are as a society are based on stories we tell ourselves and each other. Stories based on our values and sets of morals that we codify into laws, regulations, and modes of conduct.

For too long, we have bought into some tale about work ethic that promises that hard work pays off; that the wealthy are blessed by God, and that the poor are lazy.

This story falls apart a little more each day. Work is not compensated proportional to effort. People with vile sets of morals are wealthy, and many poor people work sixty-hour weeks.

What are examples of work in the second decade of the twenty-first century? It could be:

· A janitor fixing leaky faucets and fixing the heating at an elderly care facility

· A parent spending the day exploring with their child

· A caregiver holding life together for someone who is sick or disabled

· A Wall Street trader trading

· A high school teacher preparing and correcting assignments

· A surrogate mother giving hope to a couple who cannot conceive

Marie Trout

Author “The Blues — Why it Still Hurts so Good,” artist manager. PhD Wisdom Studies. Contributor: The Daily Beast, The Bern Report, Classic Rock Blues Magazine.