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Why People Work 人为什么劳动 (Leonard R. Sayles 莱昂纳多·塞勒斯)

2014-09-02 10:05 | 来源:未知 | 编辑:英语之家

Do you view work as a burden or an opportunity? Are you the kind of person who looks for ways to save your energy or the kind that finds spending your energy satisfying? Why do people like to complain about work? Find the answers to question like these in the following essay.
【Everyone needs to work but what does work mean to him? In the following essay Leonard R. Sayles explores the relationship between work and human beings' well-being. 
每个人都必须劳动,可是劳动意味着什么?在下面这篇文章里,莱昂纳多·塞勒斯研究了 劳动和人类幸福之间的关系。】
Jobs and work do much more than most of us realize to provide happiness and contentment. We're all used to thinking that work provides the material things of life - the goods and services that make possible our version of modern civilization. But we are much less conscious of the extent to which work provides the more intangible, but more crucial, psychological well-being that can make the difference between a full and an empty life. 
Why is it that most of us don't put work and human satisfaction together, except when it comes to the end product of work: automobiles and houses and good food? 
It's always useful to blame someone else and the Greeks of the ancient world deserve some blame here. At that time work was restricted to slaves and to those few free citizens who had not yet accumulated adequate independent resources. The "real" citizens of Greece - whom Plato and others talked about - expected to spend their time in free discussion and contemplation. 
The Middle Ages didn't help the reputation of work. It became more acceptable to engage in work. In fact, it was asserted that man had a religious duty to fulfill his "calling". To fail to work was immoral - worse, work was thought of as a punishment for the sins of man.
It's not difficult to understand the tarnished reputation. Historically, work has been associated with slavery and sin, compulsion and punishment. And in our own day we are used to hearing the traditional complaints: "I can't wait for my vacation." "I wish I could stay home today." "My boss treats me poorly." "I've got too much work to do and not enough time to do it." Against this backdrop, it may well come as a surprise to learn that not only psychologists but other behavioral scientists have come to accept the positive contribution of work to the individual's happiness and sense of personal achievement. Work is more than a necessity for most human beings; it is the focus of their lives, the source of their identity and creativity. 
因此,不难理解劳动声名狼藉。历史上,劳动一直同奴役、罪孽、强制和惩罚联系在一起。在我们的时代,我们习惯于听到这些传统的抱怨:“我简直等不及要放假。”“我真想今天能呆在家里。”“老板对我很苛刻。”“我要干的活儿这么多,却没有足够的时间干这些活。”在这种环境中,如果我们了解到,不仅心理学家,其它的行为科学家也都承认劳动对个人幸福和成就感的积极贡献,也许就会很吃惊。对大多数人来说, 劳动不仅仅是一种必须,而是生命的焦点,是自我身份和创造力的源泉。
Rather than a punishment or a burden, work is the opportunity to realize one's potential. Many psychiatrists heading mental health clinics have observed its therapeutic effect. A good many patients who languish in clinics, depressed or obsessed, gain renewed self-confidence when gainfully employed and lose some, if not all, of their most acute symptoms. Increasingly, institutions dealing with mental health problems are establishing worships wherein those too sick to get a job in "outside" industry can work, while every effort is exerted to arrange "real" jobs for those well enough to work outside. 
劳动不是惩罚或负担,而是实现个人潜力的机会。很多主持心理健康诊疗所的精神病学家,都观察过劳动的治疗效果。很多病人在医院里郁闷憔悴、心情沮丧或 被思绪困扰,当他们获得有益的工作时,就会找回自信,原来严重的症状也大都——如果不是全部的话——消失。越来越多的心理健康问题研究机构正在建立劳动场所,那些病情太重无法在“外部”产业中找到一份工作的人可以在其中工作,同时,他们也尽一切可能为那些可以在外面工作的人安排“真正的”工作。
And the reverse is true, too. For large numbers of people, the absence of work is debilitating. Retirement often brings many problems surrounding the “What do I do with myself?” question, even though there may be no financial cares. Large numbers of people regularly get headaches and other psychosomatic illnesses on weekends when they don't have their jobs to go to, and must fend for themselves. It has been observed that unemployment, quite aside from exerting financial pressures, brings enormous psychological malaise and that many individuals deteriorate rapidly when jobless. 
But why? Why should work be such a significant source of human satisfaction? A good share of the answer rests in the kind of pride that is stimulated by the job, by the activity of accomplishing. After all, large numbers of people continue working when there is no financial or other compulsion. They are independently wealthy; no one would be surprised if they spent their time at leisure. But something inside drives them to work: the unique satisfactions they derive from it. 
可是为什么呢?为什么劳动会成为人类满足感如此重要的源泉?答案的一部分在于这份工作和完成的活动能引发骄傲感。毕竟,很多人在没有经济或其它压力的情况下仍然劳动。他们能够自立 、富有,就是整日休闲也没有人会奇怪。但某些内在的东西驱使他们去劳动——一种从劳动中获得的独特满足感。
Pride in Accomplishment 成功的骄傲
The human being craves a sense of being accomplished, of being able to do things, with his hand, with his mind, with his will. Each of us wants to feel he or she has the ability to do something that is meaningful and that stands outside of us as a tribute to our inherent abilities. This extension of ourselves - in what our hands and minds can do - fills out our personality and expands our ego. 
It is easiest to see this in the craftsman who lovingly shapes some base material into an object that may be either useful or beautiful or both. You can see the carpenter or bricklayer or die-maker stand aside and admire the product of his personal skill. 
But even where there is no obvious end product that is solely attributable to one person's skill, researchers have found that employees find pride in accomplishment. Our own research in hospitals suggests that even the housekeeping and laundry staffs take pride in the fact that in their own ways they are helping to cure sick people - and thus accomplishing a good deal.
We've watched programmers and engineers work fifteen and eighteen hours at a stretch, seven days a week, when a job really got tough and they knew that a crucial deadline had to be met, or when a major project would fall unless some tough problem were solved. Certainly some of this is loyalty and identification - giving back to the organization something in return for having provided them with good jobs - but a larger part of it is selfishness, in the good sense of the word. They received a substantial personal payoff from their efforts in the knowledge that they could tackle tough, almost insurmountable problems, yet overcome them. They enjoyed "making it," - winning despite difficult odds; proving their capacities against the outsider: nature, a competitor, a complex problem; mastering something new every day. 
我们还观察到,有时,程序设计师和工程师在工作中遇到很大困难,而他们知道工作必须如期完成;而有时,除非他们能解决某个棘手的问题,否则一项大的工程就面临着流产,这时他们就会每天连续工作15到18个小时,每周工作7天。当然,这部分是出于忠诚和与公司息息相关之感,他们要回报为自己提供了好工作的公司。但更大的一部分是利己的,当然是取其积极的意义。通过自己的努力,他们获得了一份丰厚的个人报酬——他们从中了解到自己能够 对付巨大的、几乎是不可逾越的困难,并且克服这些困难。他们喜欢“成功”:克服巨大的困难而胜利;证明自己应付外界(可以是自然、竞争对手、或一个复杂的问题)的能力;每天都掌握新的东西。