THE LADY at the local grocery says she works seven days a week. “I love it,” she says. “Nothing to do at home but watch TV.”

I remember when I took my first job in a hotel in Vancouver — how amazed I was to find that most of the folks had been there sixteen to twenty years. Many, especially those who lived alone or who were unhappily married, considered their coworkers as their real family, dreading their days off and wondering what they would do on their annual two week holiday.

The old dishwasher gathered all the broken rolls and scraps of bread and spent her Sundays feeding the ducks in Stanley Park.

The man who polished and sorted silverware had gone blind over the years but still kept at his work.

One woman had been making coffee all day and every day for twenty years, during which time her family had grown up and married.

For these people, odd as it seems, their work is what makes their lives worthwhile and gives them their greatest sense of identity.