“All work is noble; the only ignoble thing is to live without working”.

                                                                                                Maria Montessori.

Recently, a friend of mine resigned from her company due to personal reasons. She was getting a good salary. After resigning, she did not sit idle. She could if she wanted to because she comes from a wealthy family. Instead, she decided to get a job at the local restaurant as a helper in the kitchen. I was very impressed with her decision. Most people would look down on such jobs. But, she did not care about what people might think. I have heard of other family friends as well who quit their job because they did not enjoy it. In order to make some money, they did whatever job they found. These included helping out at the local bakery and helping a businessman to sort and organize his files.

Life is a great teacher. You have to be receptive to what it is trying to teach you. I know of two elderly couples. B.t.w., what I am sharing are true events. Let us call the first couple A and the other couple B. Both A and B are past their retirement ages. I often see A doing odd jobs to keep themselves busy. Couple B, on the other hand, has not worked for the past twenty years. If you mention the word work, they react as though you have burnt their finger. Needless to say, A has more money, more social support, and more happiness around them compared to B.

I often used to think that when I am 60 years old, I will definitely retire. I used to get unnerved by insinuations that the retirement age might increase in a few years. But, based on my observations, I have changed my mind. I don’t have to work full-time or even for money but I should continue to do some hours of work each month, if not every week for as long as my body allows. If you stop working, you acquire the fear of working. If misfortune strikes and you are forced to take up a job after not having worked for several years, you are not only out-of-date with labour market skills but also with soft skills like dealing with mean people. We all have to deal with some mean people at our workplace and we develop some immunity against their unkind words and actions. This also helps us in our non-work transactions such as those at shopping malls, ticket counters, banks, and so on. When you stop working for a prolonged period of time without a valid reason, you are no longer insured against misfortune. Over time, you become a lazy and wicked human being.

If all work is equal, then all human beings are equal as well. They deserve respect for doing whichever hard-work that they have chosen to make a living. When you stop working, however, you resort to swindling and cheating to maintain your standard of living. After that, you lose the respect of people. Therefore, don’t fear any kind of work, fear indolence.

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Susmita Das

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