There’s no clear cut line though. Some people ‘work’ for fun: knitting, cooking, gardening, writing, these are all jobs that some people get paid for and some do for free or even at a considerable expense.
I think the big question isn’t “Why do we play?” but “What is the difference between work and play anyway?”. What’s the difference between a job and a hobby? Or maybe, Why are some jobs also hobbies?
I know offhand a few fairly rich people that ‘work’ at charity. They volunteer time working for halfway houses, soup kitchens, boy and girl scout camps as counselors, animal shelters, community projects … all on top of donating money to various charities. Some work in the admin end of things, on boards of directors and in management positions that are unpaid. I know one lady who took a huge heap of a family house and runs a womens shelter in it. She figured she had 15 bedrooms, so why not. For security purposes, they homeschool all the kids during transition to keep the fathers from being able to find them by following them home from school.
Yeah, but sudoku and checkbook balancing are both just fiddling with and organizing stacks of numbers in a way; I think the question is why is one a game while the other is a chore? Sure, lots of people do their own taxes, but nobody considers it fun like sudoku or crossword puzzles.
I think a lot of it has to do with the “I have to do this” factor. I’ll objectively tell you right now that I love what I do in school, as a senior electrical engineering student. But subjectively, when a project deadline or homework due date approaches, it’s work and I’m procrastinating like crazy and dreading the crunch. On the other hand, I’ve taught myself stuff outside of class for ‘fun’ and I always make a little time for it. It’s weird.
I have to agree with the idea that the reason we don’t like it is because we feel like we are being forced to do it. You know that, if you are doing your Sudoku and get frustrated, you can just put it down, no big deal. if that happens with your checkbook, you still have to fix it.
It fits really well with my computer stuff, too. When I’m fixing the computer because it won’t work properly, it’s a chore. But tinkering and trying to improve things is fun. And, I’m sure a lot of us feel that way about writing: we do it on the Dope for fun, but when we have to an assignment, it seems like work.
Some people are just lucky in that their job consists of more fun than work.