When I read this quote, two things came to mind – Vegetarians and people on a diet. Now, before you jump to conclusions, let me explain. If work is the meat of life, then how does that comparison work when you are a vegetarian? And if pleasure is the dessert, what comparison do people on a diet utilize? I must admit, I am neither a vegetarian nor on a diet so this quote works just fine for my eating habits. My point is that we understand what Forbes is trying to say here, however his comparison is almost seventy years old.
Today we look at food and work differently. As many have moved to a fully remote or hybrid model, there is meat available just not prepared the same way. We have figured out a several things. One, how to live and work in the same space while trying to keep them separate long enough to eat dessert. Two, what we thought it took to earn our way up the success ladder is no longer defined in the same manner. Sure some occupations require going to a place to work – Doctors, Lawyers, Police, Firefighters, Nurses, Store Clerks, and more – and we have realized that technology can help those people have their meat and leave time for dessert too. And Third, we now know that not everyone defines work or wants work to be the same, hold the same place in their lives, support the same manner of lifestyle. Work means different things to different people, serves a different purpose, and even supports different things in everyone’s life.
Vegetarians, dieters, Vegans, people who suffer from food allergies or those who struggle with food disorders all eat in some way, shape or form. It doesn’t mean they all want meat, eat meat, or value what meat provides. I have a dear friend who is Vegan and she has educated me on the challenges choosing to eat differently than everyone else brings to the table. Which translates perfectly with how we now see work. Is it the meat in our meals or does it serve another purpose? Work may pay the bills and yet today generations are choosing to live differently in order to avoid heavy meals, being overweight, and the challenges a meat heavy diet brings. They are molding the work world to their meal requirements, no longer sitting down to three meals a day to fill their lives. With multiple generations in the works force what we think people want is more about what we THINK than it is about what we know to be true for those other people.
My point is that this quote caught my attention, not for the reason the writer probably intended. It made me think about how meat (work) and dessert (pleasure) have changed in our lives over the course of seventy years. What was a cut and dry format for life before has become a paint by numbers today. Yes the lines are there and the rules are known, people are choosing to color their lives and paint their own picture of how they want to live their lives. It may feel confusing, yet it is progress. Being different – like being Vegetarian- is no longer something that makes you stick out. We all have learned and are learning how to accept and understand the people in our lives better, not just because they live by the same meat and dessert rules we employ.