An endless grind.
People often talk about this generation as unmotivated, and yet they always fail to look at what they had to suffer through in the past, and the changing economic situations that many people face – young and old – today. Pensions are no longer offered at most interviews, medical benefits are reduced or eliminated, and hours are cut towards the point that most people cannot make a living off a particular income level (ie: if you make 11.00 an hour, you are at a disadvantage verses someone working part time at 18.00 an hour).
There is not a single day that goes by as I look for work and wonder: “how do people suffer a routine of 9-5 and only get two days off?” Sure some people have families to tend to (another reason why children feel more like baggage than blessings), and they have bills to pay, but that does not excuse this state of misery and endless grinding of the millstone. Something is not right with the way we view work, and indeed we seem to allow organizations to dictate to us just how we should define “work.”
Take military personnel for example, a lot of soldiers in the British Army (this is my set example) rate their job satisfaction as above 60%. Sure it is a regimental organization, a top-down hierarchy, and you do suffer from sleep deprivation during exercises (not to mention the cold and wet scenarios), but they rate their jobs very positively; in contrast a civilian worker in Britain rates their work far below the 50% mark (despite having an air-conditioned office, and not having to sleep in the mud). Now why is that I wonder, why is it that a soldier who has to deal with harsh weather environments and stress seem to enjoy their work more so than the civilian worker? Well factors such as a steady paycheck, medical benefits, diverse work duties, and a sense of purpose are the main contributors – among others – to this high rating of their work environment.
This drive to “make money” is what causes companies to screw over their work force – to fire/lay-off at will, and to cut their pay, vacation time, and eliminate pensions and medical benefits in the name of the glorious profit margins.
I get it, the world revolves around money – I understand why we invented currency and use it over the barter system. I understand the need to earn a profit; charity and investments cannot happen without excess money to use, and improvements to the world around us is not possible if we make only enough to survive. Yet I still cannot shake the feeling that this insanity, this endless grind is something we ought to fix, despite what others may tell you. Now don’t get me wrong, people sitting around doing absolutely nothing is pointless; yet I wish there was some way to improve conditions for people so that they are working fewer hours, and if they are to tackle long hours, the type of work has to enable them to use their natural curiosity and inquisitive mindsets to make the work gratifying. After all I did not write my piece on the benefits of automation in manufacturing just to go back on what I said; work has to have purpose, and while a lot of tasks are repetitive and there is no such thing as a perfect job, perhaps we can inch it closer to “a good job” and settle on that as a compromise – like striking a deal for the benefit of all parties involved.