3 Principles for Reclaiming Work – A Labor Day Manifesto

3 Principles for Reclaiming Work

“Work more and better,” Woody Guthrie allegedly commanded himself on the eve of 1942. More compelling than pursuing balance, simpler than following a passion, more self-determined than any quest for a satisfying “career.”

Here are three principles for making your work your own:

Your work is your work — whether or not you ever commercialize, monetize, or professionalize it. Paradox: take your work seriously enough and it will eventually pay.

Doing something for money doesn’t make it your work. Don’t exchange the right to define your work for a paycheck.

Be ruthless and clear about how you need to be compensated. What do you need from your job? Money? Structure to hang your day on? Social contact to balance solitary work? Beware of arrangements that hijack your reward system by promising you an identity, a social position, or a mission.

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