I strongly suspect that there’s a lot of cultural baggage to this. The United States has a peculiar affliction called the “Protestant work ethic” that seems to strongly over-identify individuals with the specifics of their employment (“What do you do?” “I’m a ___”) and make moral judgments about them as a result: “Doing nothing” is a moral failure, as is “doing something” that’s considered insufficiently industrious.
In many other societies, even in Western Europe, there isn’t the same sort of over-identification with employment; people might be getting grants and surviving on social benefits while making art, and they aren’t subject to the same narrative about productivity and “takers” and “leeches.”
Unfortunately this is changing somewhat as US popular culture continues to entrench itself. Hopefully this trend can truly reverse itself, and finally defeat this harmful meme in the US itself too.