I’ve probably made this reference before, it being so common, but we all understand the idea behind the simple phrase “men are from Mars; women are from Venus”. There are inherent differences between the two sexes that stem from both physiological and social sources, and there is a lot of pressure from all directions for us to conform to these templates of human existence. Many people try to focus on the social aspects of these kinds of behaviors, but the reality is that it is baked into our genetic code. Whether you choose to believe it is by design or by millennia of evolutionary development, men and women are simply different.
Not being a woman, I can’t really speak to that particular experience with any sense of authority, or even a real sense of understanding. Men, on the other hand, are quite simple. Women seem to want to complicate things, and the modern man has succumbed to this skewed way of thinking, much to our own detriment and at a cost to the quality of our relationships. A man doesn’t really need much to be happy or feel important, but the things we need are critical to our sense of self worth.
Of utmost importance to a man is a sense of value being added when he does something. The idea of doing something “just because” isn’t something that sits well with most men. Busy work is probably the worst thing you can do to a guy because it feels like such a waste of time and energy. This is the reason why men tend to focus on projects rather than just doing random things, because he gets a sense of progression as he moves from one part of his work to the next. Few things give a man a sense of value more than getting something he sets his mind to completed.
It is this sense of progression that give a man his sense of value, not money. When it comes to being in the workplace, money is usually more of a marker for how well he has progressed through his career rather than an end in and of itself. It clearly defines how far up the ladder he has climbed and provides him with a sense of accomplishment, not because he’s worried about how many things he can buy (though he does) but because he wants to have some evidence that the work he is accomplishing is generating valuable results. Money is just a by-product of this.
This is why we see so many working men who make a good living yet still struggle with being satisfied in their work. Once a man reaches the point where money is no longer his limiting asset, or to put it more plainly once he’s past the point where the bill collectors are hounding him, his focus shifts primarily to yearning for getting satisfaction out of his work. No matter how good his job might be, a man needs to feel that sense of progression. Stagnation is the bane of a man’s ability to be content.
This is perhaps one of the most critical causes of depression in men today as we continue to move forward in this technologically advanced world that crams men into roles that are basically meaningless and provide no sense of real value. Most of the jobs we have today have little tangible result from the effort we put into them. They consist of simply a series of mindless tasks that don’t appear to really do anything, or in my case a lot of sitting around waiting on something to do and then being frustrated when those things turn out to be valueless, menial labor. A man cannot be content if his work means nothing.
The interesting thing about human beings is that we are creatures ruled by the forces of nature, despite our ability to think beyond it. No matter how hard we try to deny our biology, it eventually comes back with a vengeance to balance the playing field. As we move into the future and these issue continue to compound, there will come a point when the men of the world grow tired with the kind of mindless work that has become prevalent in our modern societies and rebel against the system in their yearning for meaning. It is simply a matter of time.
What do you think about the value of work? Is it enough to just get paid, or do you need something more from your efforts? How do you find value in the jobs that you do; is it even possible? Sometimes a change is required to break free from the negative things that grab a hold of us. It can be painful, but the first step in figuring out what to do is learning to truly understand the situation. At some point, a decision must be made and actions must be taken. It is wise to be proactive and prepare yourself for events like this.