ABOUT TEN YEARS AGO, I developed a bit of an obsession. I started asking this question of everyone I met: “Why do you work?”
I could see them trying to figure out what answer I was looking for. Because that is what we do when we are asked a question—we try to give the right answer.
So they would try to stay calm and say the expected: “I work to put my kids through college.” “I work to pay the bills.” “I work to support my mother.”
These were appropriate responses, even noble.
But the answers gradually reveal that the person doesn’t have an answer to the question.
Awkward silence. I could sense them thinking, What if there is no purpose for my work? What if work is meaningless?
So I’d change the subject … “How was ...