Work and Life

Martin Angelin


Love and work… work and love, that’s all there is.   Sigmund Freud.

Freud spent a long time analysing personalities, developmental stages and how people experience life and considered that work was integral to a meaningful life.

Apprenticeships are part of our work journey.  Where does that journey lead?  Does it end in “retirement” some years or decades in the future or somewhere else?   What part do you want work to play in your life?

So let’s start with why people work - its purpose.

  • Achievement (make a pair of fine shoes, paint a picture, make a difference)
  • Money – but for what purpose?
  • Survival – Food and Shelter
  • Support a partner and family
  • Buy things and experiences – house, car, travel
  • Contribute to the community
  • Acquire new capabilities, skills and experiences
  • Life Calling (doctor, missionary, teacher, soldier, political leader)
  • Discover something previously unknown

How has this changed over time?

For a long time people worked to survive.  A person was born and educated by their parents and community to do one main thing.   Perhaps to learn to become a hunter, farmer, blacksmith, carpenter, stone mason, soldier.   They often did that for their whole life and just got better at it.  Starting as an apprentice, they then became a good technician of the skill (tradesperson / professional), a master (to teach or to coach others) or an artist (someone who creates a new field, skill, extension, style or interpretation of the capability).

Whilst we may still work to survive, for many, after satisfying basic needs, there is some choice in how we use the rest of our time.   Do we use that time to rise up the levels of skill – technician, master and artist?    Or do we invest our time in other activities and other roles?

The answer may depend on what we value, how we are valued and who provides the valuation.

Consider a Premier League football team.    An apprentice who may score one goal every 10 or 20 games is worth X value to the team as there may be more of these types of players.   A highly trained professional able to score an average of a goal every 130 minutes of play and may be the difference between winning and losing a game is worth 5X-10X as their impact is greater and there are less of these type of player available.   A coach who can, through mentoring and training, can turn an apprentice into a technician (professional) or enhance the performance of the professional, could be also be worth 5X - 10X to the team.  An artist, could be a coach or a professional player who can design and execute a strategy that can change the way that a game is played, could be worth 20X. 

What you are paid is one (external) measure of value, as an employee, at whatever level you are now.    That external measure will generate an internal feeling that is unique to you whilst being only one part of you as a whole person.   Your role of employee is one of many roles you will play now and into the future and you will allocate value to each of those roles.

What (internal) value do you attach to being a son/daughter or parent?  You may be an apprentice parent with a new born child, as well as an apprentice lawyer whilst as a musician you may be a coach/mentor or an artist.

As you juggle the demands of modern life you may experience a fear of the future, also known as anxiety, with a dash of overwhelm for good measure.  You were not born that way, where did all that come from?   Consider what beliefs, values and expectations you have acquired as you grew from child to adult and where that may have originated and also be very wary of the lure of perfectionism.   The next time you think or hear your internal voice saying to you “I should…” spend a moment considering whose voice that is.

Be kind to yourself- we are all doing the best that we can.   Love and appreciate yourself first and a lot of other stuff melts away.   That brings us back to our old friend Sigmund Freud.  “Love and work… that’s all there is”.

Martin Angelin is a Performance Improvement Leader with ASI, an international software company, working in a business development role and is also a few months from completing a Hypnotherapy in Practice Diploma (HPD) which will be assessed by the NCFE through the National Council for Hypnotherapy (NCH).  Sales Technician/Apprentice Therapist.  Martin has professional services insurance would be very happy to provide complimentary therapy to apprentices as we get through this current COVID crisis and share our apprentice journey.


Martin Angelin, Performance Improvement Leader at ASI and apprentice therapist


Back to Life Skills »