Work used to be something about you, not something that defines you.
Now, we ask someone what they do as soon as we learn their name. When we ask each other how we’re doing, the answer is almost always, “Busy!”
We seek jobs with lots of vacation, but most of it goes unused. When we do take vacations, we bring work with us. We put in 50 or more hours a week, and sometimes add a side-hustle or two.
This is the ceaseless American work ethic, or what some are calling workism: “the belief that work is not only necessary to economic production, but also the centerpiece of one’s identity and life’s purpose; and the belief that any policy to promote human welfare must always encourage more work.”
How did we get here?