Is careerism a sin for laypeople?


Presuming you don’t do anything unethical, is it a sin for a layperson to be careeristic?


If you mean obsessed–putting career above all else, then it could be a sin. If you merely mean determined to be the best at one’s profession, keeping all things in one’s life in their proper order, then no. Anyone who is conflicted about it should talk to his priest to gain clarity.


If you mean by neglecting things like family or spouse for career pursuits then I believe that would be sinful.


Define the term.


I agree, but if you look around, (especially in the US), nowadays its normal for people to work 60-70+ hours a week, after awhile, their work becomes their life, they ‘ARE’ their career, of course most people have no choice, as they have so many bills, and debt.

I dont think its coincidence that this is the normal way of life in these times either. Sort of drawing people away from God/ religion, make it seem ‘normal’ and OK…who does that sound like?


Well, if working so much means merely gaining wealth, then that’s not good, but remember before modern times both husband and wife worked together in small businesses (shops) and farms. One of them didn’t go off to a job away from home while one stayed at home to bring up the kids. They both worked the business and they both brought up the kids.

That was the Catholic model for centuries until the Reformation when women’s right were severely curtailed. Then the Industrial Revolution cut families off from one another, sending men and women to work in factories, separating them from one another and from their children, that’s when careerism kicked in full time.

The ideal model is for families to work together. Many people now days are opting for that model and are finding freedom from bosses who have only the bottom line in mind, as well as the joy of being with their wives/husbands/children. For those who can do that, it’s best, no matter if they become wealthy or not. I believe that Protestant Europe and America were pretty much okay until families separated. After that, it was every man and woman for him/herself., and that aided the sexual revolution, as well. Those are the true evils of careerism, not merely working hard for long hours.


I looked up “careerism” online and found the following definitions:

the policy or practice of advancing one’s career often at the cost of one’s integrity

an attitude or way of behaving that involves trying to do whatever you can to make more money or get promoted at your job

So, according to these definitions it seems that careerism is inherently at the very least a near occasion of sin. If a careerist puts his or her career before all other things in their life than there is a problem. One must always ask “what comes first in my life?” If the answer is not God than one is in sin as this is a violation of the First Commandment. If one has a family (spouse and/or children) than the responsibilities of family need to come before career, too. I’m not saying being the breadwinner of the family is irresponsible - it’s not - but if career is one’s top focus than a person’s life is out-of-focus.


They are not really gaining any wealth though…most families I know, both parents work, so they both need a car, a fairly decent new car is upwards of $25-40K nowadays, they need a house to live in, depending on region of course, but thats normally at least $150-300K+, then theres everything that fills the house, cell phones for all the kids, computers, laptops, tvs, etc.

With the high cost of just about everything today, both parents are forced to work as many hours as they can put in every week, just to get by in many cases. Once they do this for so long, it becomes their life, but this is NOT life, it was not meant to be this way, its all due to the type of world we live in, kids see this growing up and determine this is life and its normal, so they grow up doing the exact same things, before they know it, they have close to $250K in debt, just so they can ‘live’ this type of life…???


Okay…even if I was a SAHM…I’d want a car. I’m not staying trapped at a house all day with the kids until my husband gets home.

You need a car that can house multiple car seats for children…for years.

I really don’t see how that is a “luxury”.

My kids certainly don’t have cell phones or laptops or multiple TVs or electronics.

Life is still expensive…most American homes are just barely surviving with the bare essentials.

I fail to see how this is the same as “careerism”.


Careerism…by it’s definition…is sinful because you are putting your career above everything else…including and most especially God.

If you are worshipping and putting all of your energy into work and everyone is suffering because of it…then it’s sinful.

But I think posters here are going a little overboard on an average working household with children.

My husband is working a lot of hours and isn’t home a lot. The military tends to do that. He is working hard at is job so he can be promoted. It will earn us some more income so we are a little more comfortable.

But, he certainly doesn’t love his job more then his family.

I’d like to be able to work and earn an income. I believe it’s healthier for me to do so. I’m not very good at being a SAHM.
Plus, if I go to work we’d be building wealth and not just treading water…like we are now.

I don’t think that is sinful because, despite being a wife and mother, I’d rather go out and work.


The problem with going to work rather than being a SAHM is the cost of transportation, meals, clothing for work, and daycare. It all adds up. If the costs of you working outside the home are not worth it, then it’s better to stay at home. You may want to consider starting a small business from your home rather than going out to find work. :slight_smile:


My current situation has me working in a job 51 hours a week with mandatory shifts on Sunday. Prior to being hired I was unemployed for three months and had limited opportunities beyond part time, minimum wage positions working odd hours. In my economically depressed area this sales position I now work in seems to be the best thing I could have for myself, despite working 11-12 hours a day four days a week and a mandatory 7 hours every Sunday. I am great at this job but I also feel burnt out every day and work in open protest on Sundays.

The main reason I want to continue working for this company is because they will afford me the opportunity to move to any of their stores nationwide. I want to develop opportunities elsewhere, no matter how good I am at this job I do not see it as anything other than a short term solution. This job will not afford me time for the wife and family I hope to have. But for now I am putting it ahead of everything else because frankly I have nothing else going for me aside from my faith life.


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