I know a lot of people who work very hard. Most of them are in their 20s or early 30s. They slog non-stop from morning to night, and often take work home after all that. There are times when they spend whole nights in office, working.
Their personal lives are usually pathetic or non-existent because they barely have time to catch a movie, let alone maintain a healthy relationship. They earn whatever it is that they do, and have no time or energy to spend it. The only release they get from all that working is the drinking binge, usually with colleagues, at some pub or bar somewhere. This is seen as highly a highly cool and rewarding exercise by many of the people who live this life.
To me, it looks like they have sold themselves into slavery. The definition of a slave is "one that is completely subservient to a dominating influence". The dominating influence in these lives is the job, which is done not for the love of it, but for money. None of these people - bar a few exceptionally stupid ones - really want to be living the kind of lives they are. They know they are not saving the planet or achieving self-actualisation by being corporate lawyers or ad filmmakers or glorified soap-sellers. Those idealistic goals often engender silly, fanatical behaviour. The people who spend all their youth slogging their butts off on money-making jobs - and then pissing the money they do it for down the pub drain - are different. They are lost souls, not fanatics. They are people who lost their way on the highway of life because they were misled by the fake 'glamour' of the 'hep' life. How else does one explain an existence whose weekly high point is a night out in a loud place with strangers, getting drunk? Or purchasing a certain brand of clothes? There is not much joy to be had in these activities - it is by telling people about the 'cool' place they went to, or showing off the 'happening' brand, that these people validate their entire lives.
If that is not a meaningless existence, what is?