Thoughts of doing 'real work' put me in a tangle. The term mKes its mark in me while seeking the esteem from pushing past a certain aversion or resistance to doing something and doing it anyway or putting forth great effort towards something in a willful manner. Or there may be a sense of satisfaction of doing 'real work' when compensated by external sources (like money or kudos). But, I think you are more on the mark, Toby, of something nudging at me at a deeper level. "Non-alienated labor, doing what you feel called to do or are wired to do" gives the sense of effort and real work a whole new quality. In fact, real work is when it isn't work at all for some. Are they just the lucky ones or are many of us looking for work in all the wrong places?
It occurs to me that the yearning for real work is the yearning to be in that field where thoughts beget thoughts, energy begets energy. Any thoughts?