"Bringing home the bacon is what men used to do. Resource providers,they were supposed to put something on the table. "In every known human society, everywhere in the world the young male learns that when he grows up, one of the things which he must do in order to be a full member of society is to provide food for some female and her young," Margaret Mead once observed. The rounding up of resources is the most important aspect of a man's daily life. It's in his genes. No job, no money; no money, no honey.

Over our long evolutionary haul, males have adapted to the hunt and honed their provider skills in order to earn mates, support offspring, and gain an unchallenged place in the clan. This "learned nurturing" of the male is the foundation of every prospering society. It focuses vibrant male energies giving men purpose and meaning, helping women launch the next generation. Just as important, this male nurturing responsibility stabilizes the entire community and helps mold men out of boys.

To succeed in the chase and defend against predators and rivals, single-minded concentration and cooperative bonding were critical attributes for the hunter. Trust and harmony in the field were pivotal. Diversion could be costly and distraction deadly. This agitation between the needs and ambitions of individual men and the cooperation with others so vital to achieving group goals is the root of men's vocational bargain. In return for a share of the spoils, the solitary hunter inside the modern male settles into hard work. He obeys the rules, acknowledges authority, and gets his piece of the pie.

Maneuvering gently, or not so gently, within modern companies or organizations, men build alliances, fend off competitors, and trade IOUs. Like his ancient forefather, modern man is both a lone hunter calculating his personal advancement and a team player trying to enlarge the overall pie. He needs his fellow hunters as protectors against competition, as allies in landing the big deal, and for support when resources turn thin. Gaining entry into the upper ranks through initiatory challenges, he is expected to maintain standards of performance and conduct under the close watch of his peers and superiors. The modern hunter secures his position today by the very traits that were so valuable during ancestral pursuits: speed, agility, strength, endurance, mental cunning, and intelligence. Having earned a perch, he defends it and strategizes for advancement.

In contemporary societies, the ability to provide derives from money, power, and status. Work is the modern hunt. It is the means of survival, the way to garner resources, and the avenue through which men successfully propagate and achieve community recognition. Work is where a man finds his purpose, his identity, his place. So pivotal is career to their survival and sense of self-worth that men are capable of monumental sacrifices in order to succeed at it. Even if it means eighty-hour weeks, constant travel, compromised health, and the deterioration of some treasured relationships.

Not always up to the physical demands of the hunt, females could also be a distraction on the savanna. A potential source of dissension among the males, women slowed things down and increased the danger. Clinging infants were a hindrance. And even after most of the world's people abandoned the hunter-gatherer model and settled into agricultural and pastoral encampments, muscle still counted.

With the advance of technology into our digitized modern workplace, the ancient hunting domain has been radically and irreversibly altered. Just a tiny fraction of people in developed societies farm the land. Brawn is out, brains are in. High rise and high tech, we've gone from javelins to laptops, from smoke signals to cell phones, from crude barter to high finance. The hunt has become industrialized, civilized and computerized. But it's still the hunt.