Do you work for a living? Do you love your job? Do you hate it? Do you dread waking up on weekdays because you have to get to work? Do you count the hours until it’s time to clock out?
Hundreds of songs about work have been written over the years. Songs have been written to inspire us to work, to complain about work, or maybe just to talk about the experience of working in general, why we work, the perils of working how we feel while we’re working, how we feel about working, the list goes on and on.
Below is a list of 30 songs about work just about everyone can relate to ranging from pop to rock to hip-hop, all of which show a different perspective on working:
30 Most Relatable Songs About Work (to Motivate You and Keep You Going)
Why Don’t You Get a Job – The Offspring
Opening this list is a song by the American band The Offspring. Here, the singer gives advice to his friends who work themselves to the bone to pay for the expenses of significant others who do not have jobs.
This is a catchy song that talks about the burden of having to support people through work, and begs the listener (not so nicely) why don’t you get a job?
Go to Work – Nadine Coyle
Next up is an upbeat song by Irish singer Nadine Coyle. In the song, she asks her significant other to go to work to support her. This song reminds you of the people you go to work for perfect for those mornings when you feel like calling in sick.
Career Opportunities – The Clash
Do you ever find that your job is beneath you? Feel like your career is getting nowhere? Apparently, so did English band The Clash. This song is an angry commentary about the lack of you guessed it, career opportunities.
Workin’ for a Livin’ – Huey Lewis & the News
This song by rock band Huey Lewis & the News wraps the depressing reality of working to survive (working for a living) in a deceptively happy 80s tune you can’t help but dance to. This is a great song to listen to and sing along to on days when you just really hate your job.
Manic Monday – The Bangles
Ah, Mondays. The start of the working week. A day that everyone loves to hate. Here, The Bangles (through lyrics written by the one and only Prince) paint a picture of a regular “manic” Monday, complete having to rush to work and being late anyway.
Playing this song on Mondays puts a fun poppy spin on what is otherwise a terrible day for most people.
Welcome to the Working Week – Elvis Costello
If The Bangles are not your thing, here’s another song by Elvis Costello welcoming the working week in a more outwardly cynical manner.
Expert Tip: While the song acknowledges the listener’s lack of enthusiasm at the beginning of yet another working week and all the other negative feelings associated with this (such as guilt), it tries to convince you to persevere through the week.
Heigh-Ho – The Dwarves (from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves)
A classic Disney tune from the 1930s. Many of us grew up to Disney soundtracks, and this song is an easily recognizable one from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. In the movie, the dwarves cheerfully sing this song as they travel to and from work in the mines. This is a song that makes you smile no matter what mood you’re in.
She Works Hard For The Money – Donna Summer
Not only is this a great song to energize you whenever you feel down, but this is also a song that makes the down-on-her-luck listener feel seen. A great song to listen to when you’re hard at work (even if you don’t identify as a woman), this is an ode to all the unsung heroes out there, pushing through the difficulties.
Proud Mary – Ike and Tina Turner version (originally by Creedence Clearwater Revival)
This song takes you on a journey. The version of this song by Ike and Tina Turner starts off slowly, their voices almost mimicking the tediousness of the daily working life. It then gains traction, repeating the same lyrics but transforming the song into an upbeat song that, even just for a moment makes you proud to be working.
Working Girl – Cher
A power anthem made for all the working women out there, pop icon Cher takes on a feminist theme in this tune about the hardships of not only working but working as a female in a male-dominated world.
Work Bitch – Britney Spears
Sometimes we all just need a firm hand to remind us of the things we have to do. Here, the great Britney Spears reminds us of all the things we want out of working a Maserati, a Lamborghini, and parties in France, just to name a few.
Work It – Missy Elliot
A song about work from the early 2000s by Missy Elliot. While this is less a song about working a job than it is about working your body in a sexual manner, the repeating chorus of “Work it!” is catchy enough to keep you going while you’re at work (and this song is really fun to dance to, as well).
Watch Me Shine – Joanna Pacitti (from Legally Blonde)
An underrated song from a fantastic movie (and a great soundtrack). If you haven’t seen Legally Blonde, this song plays during a montage where the main character. Ell© Woods works through the struggle of being a Harvard Law student. This is the kind of song that inspires success even when there are many who doubt you.
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
Another song from a movie (Rocky III), but is well-known on its own merits. This is an intense song by Survivor that demands the listener to focus, keep their eyes on the prize, and survive the perils of working. If the opening guitar riff isn’t enough to pump you up. I don’t know what
Money, Money, Money – ABBA
This classic ABBA song about work is about the thing that we work for money. The singer bemoans the fact that she still lacks money even though she works all night and works all day. and dreams of what it would be like to live in a rich man’s world.
If I Had $1,000,000 – The Barenaked Ladies
Unlike most of the songs about work on this list, this song is a fairly relaxed one that you can daydream about in your workplace. It’s pretty straightforward, too it’s a song that allows you to imagine what you’d do and how life would change if you had a million dollars.
Happy Working Song – Amy Adams (from Enchanted)
Don’t we all wish that work could be like a fairytale instead of the dreary reality it usually is? This number from the movie Enchanted brings magic to your workplace, and reminds you to see the magic and beauty in your work.
Money – Leikeli47
This is a fun bouncy song to listen to while you’re hustling your way through work. It’s mostly an ode to money, but it’s also an ode to the action, the work, the grind that gets you that money.
Boss Bitch – Doja Cat (from Birds of Prey)
This song inspires you to be the boss that you are (or can be). It just fills you with confidence and determination that gets you through your day as your best self, with your head held high.
7 Rings – Ariana Grande
Here. Ariana Grande invites you to live the fantasy of a rich lifestyle. This is one of the songs about work that reminds you that if you want something, all you have to do is go and get it.
Let’s Work – Prince
A funky song with a pretty straightforward message: let’s work. Perfect as an energizing break at any time during your working day, this song just keeps you going.
Work from Home (feat. Ty Doha $ign) – Fifth Harmony
In this song, Fifth Harmony tries to convince a significant other that they don’t have to go to work, and instead just work from home. While the repeating refrain of “work, work, work” is a helpful reminder to keep working, it’s also a great song to sing along to when you really don’t want to go to work and just want to stay at home.
Work – Rihanna, Drake
This is another one of the better-known songs about work released in recent years. This one is particularly interesting because while you don’t really understand what Rihanna is singing about for most of the song, you do understand that it has something to do with work.
Similar to the Fifth Harmony song, the frequent repetition of the word “work” is a helpful reminder to keep working, and the almost-slurred way Rihanna is singing it in a way also reflects the way the voices in our minds sound after we’ve been working a while.
Workin’ Day and Night – Michael Jackson
A lesser-known Michael Jackson song, at least compared to giant hits like Thriller and Beat It, but catchy nonetheless. This is one of those songs about work that you can dance or sing along to at any time of the day (or night), while you’re working.
9 to 5 – Dolly Parton
One of the quintessential songs about work by the one and only Dolly Parton. This song tells the story of a regular weekday for many people, starting from when you get out of bed and painting the picture of a nine-to-five workday, complete with all its trials and tribulations.
Working Class Hero – John Lennon
John Lennon, in this post-Beatles song, praises the working-class hero. Here, he sings about how they’re “something to be.” The song is rooted in the reality of the working class, and all the bitterness that comes with it.
Blue Collar Man (Long Nights) – Styx
Another one of those songs about work shed a light on the working-class experience. Unlike the bitterness of the previous song on the list, however, the American band Styx here expresses determination and a yearning for a better life. This is a powerful, passionate song that celebrates hustle and hard work.
Don’t Talk to Me About Work – Lou Reed
And then, of course, there are those days when you just really don’t want to have anything to do with work, but you have to do it anyway. This song by Lou Reed perfectly encapsulates this feeling.
A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles
One of the most recognizable songs in the world from the opening chord alone, this classic Beatles song is another one of the quintessential songs about work. It celebrates the end of a long and tiring working day (and night), and that feeling when you come home to your loved ones and it makes every sacrifice alright.
Working for the Weekend – Loverboy
This is one of those songs that you can easily picture at the end of a movie, and it just so happens to be a song about work. (Which is why it’s a great song to end a list of songs about work). The song is about the end of the working week where you’ve worked hard and now you can rest for the weekend. Everybody works for the weekend, indeed.
This list of songs about work, ranging from different genres, all reflect different perspectives on work and the working experience. Some are motivating and inspiring, while others are there for you to sing along to when you’re frustrated, while others still are there just to talk about the experience, songs that allow you to feel seen.
There are few things in this world that are more universal than work. No matter what language you speak, what country you’re from, or what race or ethnicity you are, work is something all of us have to do at some point in our lives. Most of us have to work to earn a living, to survive such is the reality of life.
Work is central to the human experience, and music tends to reflect the human experience. Because of this, songs about work have existed since perhaps music itself was invented.
I hope you enjoyed this list of songs about work (and maybe found inspiration for your work playlists).