Below is kind of a personal essay on the topic and how it affects me. So I don't know that I really stay completely relevant and all that.
"Work culture," like many things, is good and bad alike. As someone who is currently disabled and cannot work, I really suffer from the CULTURE aspects of our society, that tell me that unless I'm getting paid, I'm not doing anything worthwhile. I was told that if I succeed in getting disability pay, I should feel obligated to volunteer, to make up for the handouts I'm getting. Because if I'm not, I'm a leech. I'm not contributing anything.
But see, let's be honest here. If this was still survival of the fittest? I would be dead. That's the bottom line. I fit into that category of people that's probably more trouble to take care of than I'm worth. I certainly hope that's not true — that eventually I will be able to give something to the world that is good, and that justifies all the effort and money and so on that went into caring for me. But in the eyes of evolution, I'm one of the babies left out on the hill to die.
For the same reason, it's chilling to consider the idea that the world doesn't owe me anything. Nobody is obligated to take care of me, just because I can't work. Because I was born the way I was or because I had a bad home life. Nobody else should have to feed me. I get that, in a way, and yet it's terrifying to accept that view. Because if I don't have help, I would be dead. I still depend on the assistance of others to live, and while that's acceptable for anyone under the age of 18, my free pass has expired.
So, the culture that tells me I have to have a job to have worth is harmful to me. Even moreso, the high-stress, unfeeling attitude of a lot of jobs is also harmful to me, because they prevent me from getting hardly any work at all. It's not that I honestly cannot work at all, but that I can't work on a fixed schedule (because I get physically or emotionally ill quite often and would not be able to report to work). I also have severe social anxiety and struggle to deal with people. That being said, I am a quick learner and naturally very studious. I take pride in what I do. I learn things because it's fun. I have skill and can obtain further skill and the problem is: there is no system that helps circumvent my limitations to allow me to use my actual abilities. There are two reasons I don't apply for a lot of jobs: mainly because I have a fear of being overwhelmed and getting very ill, but also because I feel worthless. I'd be a horrible employee. So why should I bother, you know? Why should I inflict myself upon them? Why should I expect strangers to attempt to navigate my issues, and then pay me when I underperform?
When people ask me what I want to do, I say that I want to be a writer. I want to publish books. I've chosen that because I think it's the most likely way I'm going to make any money. But honestly? I don't ever want to sell a thing. I'm just required to do so, to feed myself. Because contributing, offering something to the world is not the same as being reimbursed for it.
I just wish work was more flexible. Some people can get by finding odd jobs here and there, but it's the minority. It seems it's so much harder to do anything besides working retail and so on to start with. There seem to be so few manageable options, and there's nobody around to help me find anything else. Etc. A work culture that encouraged everyone to offer what they can, and helped embrace the unique needs and talents of each individual — rather than demanding just a few types of people and essentially condemning anyone who doesn't fit the mold — would be a much better world, I think.