The most fitting occupation for a civilized man is to do nothing.

—Théophile Gautier, c. 1835

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper that did his job well.

—Martin Luther King Jr., 1954

A tremendous number of people in America work very hard at something that bores them. Even a rich man thinks he has to go down to the office everyday. Not because he likes it but because he can't think of anything else to do.

—W.H. Auden, 1946

Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.

—Theodore Roosevelt, 1903

Man is so made that he can only find relaxation from one kind of labor by taking up another.

—Anatole France, 1881

Labor is no disgrace.

—Hesiod, c. 700 BC

I am a friend of the workingman, and I would rather be his friend than be one.

—Clarence Darrow, 1932

A human being must have occupation, if he or she is not to become a nuisance to the world.

—Dorothy L. Sayers, 1947

Man is a tool-using animal. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all.

—Thomas Carlyle, 1836

To do nothing at all is the most difficult thing in the world, the most difficult and the most intellectual.

—Oscar Wilde, 1891

All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.

—Aristotle, c. 330 BC

It is shameful and inhuman to treat men like chattels to make money by, or to regard them merely as so much muscle or physical power.

—Pope Leo XIII, 1891

I hate the present modes of living and getting a living. Farming and shopkeeping and working at a trade or profession are all odious to me. I should relish getting my living in a simple, primitive fashion.

—Henry David Thoreau, 1855