According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, the word “work” has over 26 different meanings. The first ten meanings are:
“Main Entry: work
Etymology: Middle English werk, work, from Old English werc, weorc; akin to Old High German werc work, Greek ergon, Avestan var&zem activity
1 : activity in which one exerts strength or faculties to do or perform something: a : sustained physical or mental effort to overcome obstacles and achieve an objective or result b : the labor, task, or duty that is one’s accustomed means of livelihood c : a specific task, duty, function, or assignment often being a part or phase of some larger activity
2 a : energy expended by natural phenomena b : the result of such energy c : the transference of energy that is produced by the motion of
the point of application of a force and is measured by multiplying the force and the displacement of its point of application in the line of action
3 a : something that results from a particular manner or method of working, operating, or devising b : something that results from the use or fashioning of a particular material
4 a : a fortified structure (as a fort, earthen barricade, or trench) b plural : structures in engineering (as docks, bridges, or embankments) or mining (as shafts or tunnels)
5 plural but singular or plural in construction : a place where industrial labor is carried on : PLANT, FACTORY
6 plural : the working or moving parts of a mechanism
7 a : something produced or accomplished by effort, exertion, or exercise of skill b : something produced by the exercise of creative talent or expenditure of creative effort : artistic production
8 plural : performance of moral or religious acts
9 a : effective operation : EFFECT, RESULT b : manner of working : WORKMANSHIP, EXECUTION
10 : the material or piece of material that is operated upon at any stage in the process of manufacture
11 plural a : everything possessed, available, or belonging b : subjection to drastic treatment : all possible abuse — usually used with get or give
- at work
1 : engaged in working : BUSY; especially : engaged in one’s regular occupation
2 : having effect : OPERATING, FUNCTIONING
- in the works : in process of preparation, development, or completion
- in work
1 : in process of being done
2 of a horse : in training
- out of work : without regular employment : JOBLESS
synonyms WORK, LABOR,TRAVAIL, TOIL, DRUGERY,GRIND mean activity involving effort or exertion. WORK may imply activity of body, of mind, of a machine, or of a natural force . LABOR applies to physical or intellectual work involving great and often strenuous exertion . TRAVAIL is bookish for labor involving pain or suffering . TOIL implies prolonged and fatiguing labor . DRUDGERY suggests dull and irksome labor . GRIND implies labor exhausting to mind or body .
synonyms WORK, EMPLOYEMENT, OCCUPATION, CALLING, PURSUIT, Métier, BUSINESS mean a specific sustained activity engaged in especially in earning one’s living. WORK may apply to any purposeful activity whether remunerative or not . EMPLOYMENT implies work for which one has been engaged and is being paid by an employer . OCCUPATION implies work in which one engages regularly especially as a result of training . CALLING applies to an occupation viewed as a vocation or profession . PURSUIT suggests a trade, profession, or avocation followed with zeal or steady interest . Métier implies a calling or pursuit for which one believes oneself to be especially fitted . BUSINESS suggests activity in commerce or the management of money and affairs .
As used in this article the word “work” is meant to convey all of these meanings. Think of it this way:
o When you work at your business you exert effort to accomplish your livelihood.
o When your business works your energy produces a result, a product or a service that people desire. This is because of the particular manner or methods you are using, or because of the particular materials you are using, making or assembling.
o Work is a place people go to earn their livelihood- the office, the factory, the medical clinic.
o Work always requires effort, skills and exertion.
o Work often involves creative expression.
o Work may be for a higher purpose than moneymaking; this may be moral, religious, or something to further a public purpose such as to combat global warming.
o Work is an effective operation; if the manner of working is not effective, the work will not succeed.
There is a distinction between working at your business and working on your business. It has been written that when you work at your business, you are developing business, inventing products or processes; you are working on the creative part of the enterprise. When you work on your business, you are dealing with more mundane albeit important matters: organizing; making a business plan; filing; getting a new location; hiring and managing employees; dealing with accounting, regulatory, taxation or legal matters.
Most businesses work at getting more work. All things being equal, the more work you get the more money you make. If you feel that your business is not work, you are probably happy with your choice of work. Work does not feel like work when you enjoy it. If you feel that your business is too much work, you probably need to do something about it; make some changes or get someone else to do some of the work.
Writing music is creative work. Once in a while it is also lucrative. In the field of jazz music, sometimes an instrumental song will be written that is so special, so compelling, that another musician will create lyrics for the song. A famous example of this is the “Work Song”.
The Work Song was written and recorded by Nat Adderley for the Riverside label in January, 1960 with a band which featured guitarist Wes Montgomery. Nat played the cornet, which is an instrument similar to a trumpet. Nat was the brother of the famous American saxophonist Julian Cannonball Adderley. Lyrics to the Work Song were written by Oscar Brown, Jr., who was a singer, songwriter, playwright, poet and civil rights activist. The lyrics to the Work Song are: