In the more advanced countries, it appears as if most of us have been in institutions for most of our lives. We get up early in the morning, take a quick breakfast, head off to a building of some kind with others around our age group (more or less), and do something we may or may not love.
Not only that; we seem to be identified by these institutions. There have been so many times when you introduced yourself by your name, age, institution and role (in that institution). Take a university undergraduate for instance: Daniel Streete, age 20, chemical engineering student, at such and such university.
This doesn't dissipate after education. After you finish school, you are expected to get a job. Just like what happened with the university, in most cases, you begin to apply for a list of dream jobs from a list of corporations. They interview you and if one likes you, you join them. Let's go back to our dear friend Daniel, two years from now. He now becomes: Daniel Streete, age 22, chemical engineer, at such and such corporation. What changed? Another institution. Daniel, like most of us, will wake up early in the morning, have a quick breakfast, head off to a building of some kind with others of his age group (more or less) and do something he may or may not love for a long time.
This ideology of a job's definition as becoming a member of an institution, has been wired into our culture - most of us. When a person graduates from college, he or she is expected or told to get a job; and by job, they mean joining a corporation or company of some kind. The most popular ones would be best. Is this what a job is really all about?
What a Job Really Is
Companies, businesses and corporations live to earn money. That's what they all do. How do they make money? By creating wealth.
This was discussed with a bit more detail in my earlier article: Wealth is What Everyone Wants - Not Money.
Wealth is basically stuff people want. No matter what it is, if you can give people what they want, you are creating wealth. People will then give you value in return. That's how you earn money. That is what every company does. Many companies seem so specialized that this fundamental feature appears to be hidden. I'm simplifying it for you: Companies earn money by giving people what they want.
That is exactly what you do when you work for one. No matter how indirect your job appears to be, you actually give people what they want. Your job is averaged together with a lot of other people's; and together you collectively create wealth. The company then earns money for it and pays your little or big share via monthly or weekly salary.
A job means working together with a group of people to collectively give people what they want. This understanding clears the fog of illusion shrouding our culture. When you begin to hear the words: "You need to get a job," it simply means you need to start doing something people want. With that in mind, the opportunists are endless. You are no longer limited to your field of study. You can do anything with (or without) anyone. Once it's something people want, you've got yourself a job. An added bonus; you can get to do what you love and still call it a job. Give people what they want, and they will give you value in return for it.