Work refers to any kind of activity done by either an individual or a group of individuals for the wellbeing of the individual and the whole society.

It is a piece of job an individual engages in to earn a living. In work, a person uses either the mental, physical energy or both.


Characteristics of work

Any piece of undertaking can be classified as work if it possesses the following characteristics.

1.         Work involves the use of energy. This energy many be physical, mental or even both. As a result of work, one may have the feeling of both physical and mental tiredness.

2.         Any kind of work has a purpose or a reason behind it. The main purpose of work today is to earn a living and in traditional Africa, it was meant to serve the community.

3.         Work is a natural demand for man. God created man in His own image and told him to be u co-creator.

4.         Work is a social activity. It cannot easily be done in isolation but in co-operation with others.

5.         Work attempts to change things for the better even when the worst may not be avoided in the process.

6.         Work is a personal activity. In other words, it is one of the things that distinguish man from animals.


Importance of Work

The various kinds of work play important roles in the life of not only the individual but also the whole society as seen below.

1.         Work provides income to the individuals. This income got from working helps in solving so many pressing problems in life.

2.         Work helps man to obtain basic needs of life such as food, shelter and medical care among others. These needs are very important for the survival of man.

3.         Work promotes understanding and co-operation in the society. It brings people together hence creating friendship and solidarity.

4.         Through work, people are able to discover and develop their hidden talents. Therefore, it becomes a center of discovery of where one belongs.

5.         Work makes an individual recognized and accepted by other members of the community. This means that an individual becomes known through the work he or she is doing.

6.         Work relieves the individuals from boredom and redundancy. This is important as it may help to reduce the rate of crime in the society since the members are occupied almost all the time.

7.   Work helps in the development of the society. This is based on the positive changes work produces including cultivation and building houses among others.

8.   Work enables the individuals to acquire some skills and techniques. This is based on the training on jobs, which makes an individual acquire some experiences.

9.   Work is a fulfillment of God's commands as recorded in Genesis 1:28. God commanded man to bring the world under control through co-creation. Doing some work is, therefore being obedient to God's instruction.

10. Work promotes people's cultures. This is particularly true with activities depicting the way of life of a given society like funeral rites, initiation ceremonies, protecting, cleaning Kabaka's tomb and others.

11. Work fulfills social obligations such as marriage. This important activity in the life of the community as they help to bring people together.

12. Work helps in uplifting the status of the disadvantaged such as the orphans, widows, Disabled, elderly, refuges and others. Such people are assisted by being fed, sheltered, and clothed among others.

13. Work improves on people's standard of living. People are able to acquire good facilities in life such as houses, education, cars, medical care and others through hard work.

The changing attitudes towards work

In the present situation, the ideas about work are changing very fast. People now look at work in different ways. The patterns of work are also changing with the passage of time as summarized below.

1.         Work involves the payment of salary or wage. This has become the commonest idea, which people aim at. Therefore, work depends on the capacity to pay the cash.

2.  Today, the religious aspect of work has been forgotten. Most people do ignore God in their different premises of work.

3.         The idea of employers and employees has come up in the field of work today. In any work place, there is always a master or a boss and the subordinate. This may be due to the money economy where some people are richer and others poorer.

4.         There is an increasing level of unemployment in the society today. Despite the required qualifications, many people are jobless. This is being caused by theoretical nature of the education system and the mechanization of work among others.

5.         Most work is time tabled. People work according to the already specified hours normally from 8:00am to 5:00pm. It is common to hear people talk about office hours.

6.         The level of education attained is highly considered in work. A person is expected to have acquired a certain educational standard to be deemed fit for the job. This includes bachelor degrees and diploma among others.

7.       There is strict supervision in work by employers. The workers are closely monitored and in some cases required to sign in arrival and attendance book.

8.         Work is also mechanized. The use of machines like tractors and computers is greatly employed in the field of work. This helps to simplify work. However, it has also contributed to the high level of unemployment.

9.         Modern work is characterized by laziness. There is a tendency of people doing work roughly without much commitment. Some people have even gone ahead to employ others to work their behalf.

10.    Work is highly specialized. Individuals are trained to do a particular piece of work. This means that they cannot perform in any other departments or fields properly. For example, a teacher may not be able to do the work of a doctor and vice versa.

11.     People work irrespective of sex, age and status. Both men and women can do the same type of work like accountancy and preaching among others.

12.    Work is characterized by fierce competition. People tend to fight for the few available vacancies. This has led to labour instability.

1.     There is a preference for white-collar jobs. They prefer office and salaried jobs as opposed to manual work.

2.     Individualism has entered the Geld of work. A person works single handedly without being supported by the community.

3.         There is an increasing level of greediness and selfishness in work today. This is what has promoted corruption, embezzlement and bribery. The technical know-how has also been replaced by the technical know-who.    

4.         Work is materialistic in nature. People work to acquire certain material values in life such as obtaining promotions, building houses, buying vehicles and many others. Some people would even prefer to leave their jobs after satisfying these needs.

5.         The value of leisure is increasing being ignored as part of work. People are always occupied with different activities without sparing some time for resting.

Revision Questions

1.   Explain the changing patterns of work today.

2.   How is work today different from that of African Traditional Society?


The attitude of the youth towards work today

1.   There is an increasing demand for White-collar jobs among the youth. They prefer sitting in offices to manual work which they look at as being unclean and not fit for them.

2.   The youth have strong desires for high salaries in the jobs they are doing. This is the major reason behind some youth failing to get employed.

3.   The youth prefer work having friendly environment including soft music, fans, clean and good breakfast lunch and others.

4.   The youth prefer holding a high position. Most of them dream of being bosses where they simply give commands and are respected.

5.   Having good job is considered a measure of success among the youth. This seems to be the most desired goal being held by most of the youth today. 

6.   Some youth are generally lazy. They want to have a high standard of living but without doing any work.

7.   The youth prefer a job giving enough time for leisure. In other words, they desire having enough enjoyment after a given task.

8.   Most youth are more interested in jobs located in urban areas. This is because of the good services in urban centers. The education system in Uganda is also being blamed for contributing to such a feeling among the youth.  

9.   Most youth today work with the intention of obtaining luxuries such as good cars, radio systems, telephones, televisions and others. Very few are interested in investing.

10. The youth today prefer popular jobs such as being a lawyer, journalist an accountant, doctor and others. This can be seen in the way they make their choices when joining tertiary institutions.


Factors to consider when choosing a career

The term career refers to a job for which an individual is trained. In a career, it should be possible for the individual to advance during the working life so that he or' she gets a greater responsibility. In other words, career is an occupation of an individual. It includes being a teacher, doctor, farmer, builder, lawyer and many others. Therefore, for an individual to make a proper choice of career, he or she should consider the following.

1.   The education level attained should be considered. This is because it imparts on the individual the skills and techniques necessary for a given piece of work.

2.   There is need to consider the availability of the job itself In other words, the job of interest should physically be present within the locality. This explains why some individuals may remain unemployed when the job they have qualified for cannot be attained.

3.   One should also consider the level of the expected income. This is increasingly becoming a major factor because of the monetary and economic world we are living in. In most cases, people tend to choose a career that is highly paid.

4.   The natural talent one has in possession should be taken into consideration when choosing a career. Such talents may become a strong foundation for the individual to succeed in the job of interest. This is because, there are some careers including sporting, preaching, acting drama, professional singing and many others that cannot be influenced by external factors.

5.   The faith and belief of an individual is also important in determining one's future job. The job is question must be in line with one's faith if he or she is to perform the duty well. For example, it becomes difficult for a Muslim to work in pork butchery. In the same way, it is also difficult for a Christian to work on a Sunday because it is contradictory to one's faith.

6.   The interests and the like of an individual should be taken into consideration when choosing a career. This becomes a driving force, which keeps the individual focused to his or her career. It may also ensure the love for such a job.

7.   One should take into consideration the health status when choosing a career. For example, an individual suffering from pneumonia cannot work as a police person at night guarding. In the same way, a lame individual cannot become a professional footballer.

8.   The surrounding environment or better still the geographical location of an individual is important in determining the future career. For example, an individual cannot become a farmer if the soil is not conducive for crop and animal husbandry. The location of the job may also be costly for the individual to afford.

9.   The career guidance a person received before, during and after school also helps in shaping an individual's future career. Such an individual is made to understand the job available and the problems associated with them. This gives the individual the opportunity to make up his or her mind.

10. Cultural background also has some influence on the work to be done. Culture as a way of life based on the informal education transmits into an individual some skills, which he or she may employ in doing activities like herding, crop growing, home economics and many others.

11. One should also consider his or her physical strength or energy in choosing a career. This is because certain jobs including laying bricks, mechanics, soldering among others need the physical strength of the individual.

12. The level of satisfaction and comfort to be achieved from the piece of work should be taken into consideration. Fringe benefits such as housing, transport, and medical care among others are important as they may help the individual in the day-to-day living.

13. Marital status should be taken into consideration as one chooses his or her career. For example, some jobs including soldiering, nursing and secretarial among others do not allow married partners to be together most of the time. In the same line, being a priest in the Catholic Church requires the individual to be single.

14. There is need to consider the job security when making a choice for a career. The job in question should have a guaranteed security such that the individual cannot be easily sacked from it anytime at any today’s will.

 Problems associated with work today

Work today is associated with a lot of problems. This may explain why many workers tend to complain a lot about the job they are doing. These problems include the following.

1.   Some workers today are subjected to long hours of work. They leave home very early in the morning and go back late in the evening or even at night. This leaves the family unattended to. This has made workers slaves of time.

2.   There is a high level of job insecurity. The workers are easily laid off without prior warnings.

3.   There is an increasing fierce competition and rivalry in the field of work. People struggle for the few available vacancies. This has resulted into enmity, witchcraft and death among others. This is one of the major causes of labour instability and unrest.

4.   The workers are also suffering from taxes. Taxes such as pay as you earn tend to leave the workers with little disposable income. This means that some personal and family needs are left unattended to.

5.   There is also a lot of unemployment in work today. Despite having the required qualification, many people are redundant. They simply sit at home after moving up and down looking for jobs but failing to get one.

6.   Work today has made man neglect his faith. Some of the work does not allow an individual to praise God as he or she strives for survival.

7.   Work today has led to neglect of family. This is because the parents are pre-occupied all the time with some given tasks. It is even worst where some parents carry office work to their respective homes.

8.   Sexual harassment is also increasingly becoming common in different work premises. This is especially done by some bosses who demand for sexual intercourse from their subordinate as a security measure of maintaining the job in question.

9.   Workers are faced with the problem of retrenchment. Workers are laid off or dismissed by the employers with the claim of reducing costs. What makes it awkward is the recruitment of new workers to replace the old ones who had been asked to leave.

10. Too much specialization has become a problem in the field of work. In this case, an individual is trained in only one field and he or she cannot perform any duty in other fields.

11. There is also boredom in the field of work. This comes as a result of doing the same job repeatedly. In some given case, the workers simply sit without having anything to do. This redundancy discourages them and lowers their morale.

12. Workers are being faced with the problem of nepotism. This is the practice where one favours his or her family members or friends in relation to giving jobs, promotion and salaries. This is done regardless of their capability leaving the qualified and capable people to suffer.

13. There is under payment of workers today. The workers are paid little or less money compared to the workload and the hours of work. This leaves the workers unable to sustain their families well.

14. There is also delay in payment of the workers. This tends to force some workers to keep on borrowing. As they receive their payments, they instead spend the money clear their debts.

15. There is also an increasing level of corruption in the field of work. Some people in authority tend to misuse their offices to exploit others. They do everything possible to get themselves rich at the expense of the others.

16. In some given cases, workers are not paid at all. The workers are left to suffer without the salaries or wages. This has been the major cause of strikes in some companies.

17. Tribalism is also common in work today. The employers tend to favour their own tribe mates while giving jobs, promotions and salaries among others even when they are not qualified.

Revision Questions

1.   Explain the problems associated with work in your community.

2.   Why do some people abandon their work ill the present situation?

3.   Give reasons to explain why some Ugandans prefer working abroad?



Christian advice to workers in poor conditions

Despite the many problems in work Christians should always be advised to continue working. This is because of the following.

I.    The work of Christians is a call from God as a co-creator. Christians should therefore continue to work since it is God's intention that the society should, be served.

2.   Christians should remain hopeful. They have to be contented that the best could still be achieved in the nearby future. Jesus kept on preaching the good news even He was being opposed.

3.   Christians are to remain patient and endure whatever condition of service they are experiencing. They should imitate the example of Jesus Christ who even worked in situations that appeared helpless.

4.   Christians should continuously engage in prayers as they seek for solutions. Prayers open Christians to God's help. Jesus prayed to God for assistance during His ministry. (Mark 1:35).

5.   Christians should work not only expecting the earthly rewards but also the heavenly rewards. Jesus pointed out that the final goal of work is the union with God and fellow man. (John 6:27).

6.   Christians should go for further studies so as to improve their paper qualifications. This would help to meet standards required in the job market.

7.   Christians should form co-operative groups or society. Through such groups, they may be able to bargain for a fair payment and share ideas. They can also bring their resources together like money to start a better business.

8.   Christians should look at work as a service to the society. Therefore, they should continue to work and expect to be paid in the future irrespective of the way.

9.   It is important for Christians to begin saving and later invest. This may require setting up or a project, which in the end may offer a good living.

10. Christians should diversify their chances of earning as long as it does not interfere or compete with their daily routine.

11. Christians should go for guidance and counselling. This can be as an eye opener. Such people may come to adjust their perception of the realities behind life.

12. Christians should accept any type of work just as Jesus did humble jobs like carpentry. In other words, Christians should avoid over expectation in the daily life activity.

13. Christians should copy the examples of Jesus' disciples who worked without any payment. They should simply serve the needs of the community.


The traditional African attitudes to work

Work was one of the most important aspects of human life in African traditional society. For this reason, each and every member had a role to play.

Work was, therefore, part of the livelihood of the community. The understanding of work and the patterns of work among the traditional Africans include the following.

1.   Work was related to the provision of basic needs like food and shelter. The people strived and work harder to obtain such needs for their survival.

2.   Work took place in a religious context. Special rites were carried out "before cultivating, planting and harvesting. They also offered some part of their first harvest to God       ancestors or spirits.     

3.   Work was a social activity. People worked together as a community and helped one another often with songs done. They also prepared common meals for those working on common activities like planting and harvesting among others. Among the Acholi people, harvesting millet and ground nuts was done a group of women

4.   Laziness in work was highly discouraged and never promoted at all. Lazy people were isolated and could even be punished.

5.   Work was done for free without any payment or reward. People only aimed at showing their skills and in serving others.

6.   Work was a personal activity. It was purely under and individuals own control without regard to any forceful means. People also used their creativity, which led to their satisfaction in the achievement.

7.   Work was divided according to sex, age, rank (status) and ability. The young and the old women and men, boys and girls, leaders and subordinates had different roles to play. In Buganda, all domestic duties like cooking, fetching water and cultivation were strictly for women. The men had the duty of hunting and making backcloth. This meant that division of labour was widely practiced.

8.   The young were taught how to work by the elders. They could copy the work of the elders basing on their sexes. This ensured that children were introduced to the field of work when they were in their early ages.

9.   Work was manually done. People used their own hands and creativity in their daily activities without regard to any machines.

10. Leisure was promoted after work in traditional Africa. Leisure activities such as beer parties and storytelling were common after a completion of a piece of work. This helped the people to rest after a long day of work.

11. There was freedom regarding the time of work in traditional Africa. It was done at any time without having a specific hour designed for a given activity.

12. Everyone was a worker. Each individual member had to contribute something towards the development of the community. This means that there was no idler or loiterer in any African community.

13. There was limited competition in work in traditional Africa. People worked to show their skills and win praises.

14. There were no sudden changes or decisions made concerning the patterns of work. People simply borrowed from the first experience and promoted what was believed to be the normal aspect of work.

15. There was no supervision in work in traditional Africa. Each individual worker knew his or her role and strived to do any given task thoroughly.


IDevice Icon Revision Questions


1.   Explain the patterns of work in African traditional society

2.   How was work understood in the African past?

3.   Explain the understanding of work in traditional African.

4.   Show that work was a social activity in African Traditional Society

5.   Give reasons to explain why there was no unemployment in African traditional society.

Licensed under the Developing Nations 2.0

A complete talking Book for Uganda certificate of Education