Good Work

Here, you see, are two kinds of work— one good, the other bad, one not far removed from a blessing, a lightening of life, the other a mere curse, a burden to life.

What is the difference between them, then? This: one has hope in it, the other has not. It is manly to do the one kind of work, manly to refuse to do the other.

What is the nature of the hope which, when it is present in work makes it worth doing?

It is threefold I think — hope of rest, hope of product, hope of pleasure in the work itself; and hope of these also in good abundance and of good quality; rest enough and good enough to be worth having; product worth having by by one who is neither a fool nor an ascetic; pleasure enough for all of us to be conscious of it while we are at work; not a mere habit, the loss of which we shall feel as a fidgety man feels the loss of a bit of string he fidgets with.

William Morris, “Useful Work Versus Useless Toil,” News from Nowhere and Other Writings (1993) p.288.

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