What Is Work, Anyway?


Don Bartolo Quiacaín González

He started out as a kid with 10 Quetzales, about $1.25.  With that he bought a few onions to resell in the market.  Gradually he built his business, adding avocados to his wares along the way.  Eventually, he was growing his own to sell.  Then he bought a few boats.  Long story short, he now owns two fleets of repurposed US school buses which run to Guatemala City and to Xela.  He still goes every morning to tend to his onion field.

I have a friend who says “Work is when you’d rather be doing something else.”  It’s a clever turn of phrase, and I have repeated it often.  Recently, however, I have taken a second look.  I think maybe work is living.  It is everything which is difficult, even those things we love doing.  Many people who retire are miserable afterwards, even if they had a job they hated.  This is because their job, with all its challenges, was their life.  Without it, they are lost.  If all you do is go to your job every day and come home and vegetate in front of a TV with a beer, that is what your retirement will be; vegetating in front of a TV only with more beers.  So, you either keep tending the onion field, or you develop other interests which require work, keeping brain and body active.