chapter  5
22 Pages

Work and unemployment

ByBrian McDonough

For most of us, work is also bound up with our social identity. This is why, for example, when people are asked about ‘what they do’ they take it to mean what they do for a living. Our work, therefore, can tell others a lot about who we are. This association between work and identity is nothing new. Historically, people have associated their occupation with who they are, for example naming themselves after their work. Consider the surnames

Mason, Butcher and Baker, which all began as descriptions of occupations people once did. Work has been, and still is, of crucial importance to the way we live our lives. And so it is not surprising to find that work raises some fundamental social problems and is related to a range of social issues.