Immigration policies and labor markets in capitalist societies continue to create new and often shifting categories of migrant workers: temporary, permanent, precarious, legal, illegal, etc. This chapter, based on field research in West Africa, discusses how labor migrants themselves define their work in three ways: material, social and symbolic. (1) The material dimension is determined by the financial impact of migrants’ work on their society or family. (2) The social dimension is related to the expectations which migrants encounter during visits to their village or city of origin. (3) The symbolic dimension refers to the perception of migrants as “heroes” who have overcome various risks. The issue of self-realization through labor migration has always been prominent among West African youth, who often accept work in any and all forms (along with their respective status) because their motivation is to succeed in terms of the material, social and symbolic dimensions of work as understood in their home countries. However, when migrant work becomes more prestigious in the host country as well, this has often led to conflicts with native workers.