What Is Work?

Work is a term that refers to any activity that requires effort or exertion. It may be a physical activity or an intellectual one. It can also refer to a person’s employment, occupation, calling, pursuit, or metier.

The word “work” is derived from the Latin verb wurk, meaning to toil or grind. In other languages, such as English, the word is spelled wirk or wirk or werk.

In the scientific context, work is the act of transferring energy into an object to cause it to be displaced. The same process can be applied to heat, light, electrical energy, potential energy, or other forms of energy.

It is the scalar product of the force and displacement (dx). The SI unit of work is the joule, defined as the work done by a force of 1 newton through a distance of 1 metre.

Unlike the energy that is stored in a material, the work done on an object by a force cannot be put into storage. It is the same process that happens when a batsman hits a ball, a boat sails in a river, a cyclist rides a bike, a mechanic repairs a gadget, a traveller pushes her luggage from the airport, or a cobbler polishes shoes.

Whether an individual works at home or in an office, the time, energy, and relationships that they spend at their jobs influence who they are. They change our beliefs, values, skills, and knowledge, and they affect the way we see other people. When we think of work, we often associate it with being a source of income or a means to achieve success in life. But the truth is that work is more than that: It can jangle our passions, snuff out our motivation, and make us cynical.