I heard a news report on the radio this morning that verified a belief I have held for years. A study was done on the opioid crisis and who has been most affected by it.
The study found that the folks who fall victim the most to opioid addiction live in states where manufacturing, particularly the auto industry, are the main forms of employment.
What the study revealed is when manufacturing jobs left, the people employed by those industries were not only unemployed but were also exposed to a sickness that overwhelms minds and results in physical ailments.
When the jobs left the disease of despair stepped in and infected whole communities.
Despair eradicates hope. Despair crushes the human spirit. Despair drives people to live a life filled with a sense of emptiness.
The lack of daily purpose and seemingly pointless existence is not merely harmful but deadly. A job means so much more than a paycheck or place to go. A job gives us a reason to be. It makes our lives productive and even interesting.
When we lead lives that are interesting and productive the dual poisons of jealousy and resentment don’t have space to take root and grow in our minds. When despair grows out of control we look for a way out. Temporary relief can come in a pill or a bottle of booze, both of which create their own forms of sickness and addicition which can eventually lead to crime, hospitals and even death.
All of that from the lack of a job? Yes. Work not only occupies time. Meaningful work gives meaning to our lives. Work gives us freedom to live. Despair enslaves us. Drugs and alcohol provide a temporary reprieve. But eventually despair wins.
I don’t know about you but I don’t see myself ever not working in some capacity. I’m fortunate enough to be someone who is curious about how things work and how to use the information I gather.
For me, work means more than life. It means living.