What’s the Purpose of a Job?

Why do we go to work? Why do we stress about writing the perfect resume, practice our interviews, celebrate when we get hired, and then dedicate a third of our lives (or more) to work?

People have a lot of answers. They throw out phrases like following their passions, making a difference, and doing what they love, but we all know the truth. 

People work because jobs give them money, and they need money to survive. 

The Purpose of a Job

A Gen Z’er brought up this important point on a now-viral video shared across numerous social media websites. 

“The purpose of a job is to pay a living wage,” she states, explaining that her generation doesn’t want to work because jobs don’t pay enough to live. 

See the video:

 

Her comments created a social media frenzy. While some agreed that jobs should pay a living wage, others derided her for daring to suggest anyone owes her anything. 

The Purpose of a Job is To Add Value

One respondent said the purpose of a job is to offer value to your employer. He said employers will pay you a living wage if, and only if, you bring them enough value. 

 

 The poster didn’t clarify how much “value” is worth a living wage or why he thought employees who worked forty hours per week might not bring a company value, but he did say it’s up to each person to develop skills an employer would value. 

A Hot Take a Lot of People Disagreed With

A lot of people disagreed with this poster, and for good reason. The idea that people only exist to add value to their employers harkens back to a dark time in our nation’s history. That you’re existence and humanity are up for debate based on how much subjective value you add to a company is a route no one really wants to go down. 

Here are some of the best responses on X to this outrageous claim:

 

Reddit Users Also Furious

The post made its way over to Reddit, where users of the popular forum also hotly disagreed with the idea that you only deserve to live if you give value to your company. 

These are the same people that would have defended slavery,” said one user. 

“Oh on the contrary, no one owes employers cheap labor,” added another. 

“That’s a long way of saying poor people don’t deserve to live,” responded a third. 

Jobs Should Be Mutually Beneficial

In a perfect world, jobs would be mutually beneficial. Companies would pay employees enough for them to thrive so they’d be happy and productive while at work. In return, workers would do their best for the company. 

Our social contract isn’t like that. Companies view labor as just another line and will do everything possible to lower costs in the never-ending quest for more profits. The government should work for the people by setting a living wage as a minimum wage, but since most government officials are in the pockets of their corporate donors, that doesn’t happen. 

The contract is broken, and that’s why no one wants to work.