One of my friends read my blog last week, and challenged that people aren’t going to work in an engaged, generous, genuinely productive and satisfying way – they’re too focussed on minimising effort and maximising income.
It is a reasonable challenge, and one which can be responded to in a number of ways.
Firstly, yes, there are some people, maybe even a majority, that take a disengaged approach to work, treating it as a necessary evil to be got out of the way with as little thought as possible. But that doesn’t force others to work in that way, nor even does it make suckers out of the people that do want to find engaging work. Throughout history engaged, talented individuals have created productive roles for themselves – they and we have been better for it, irrespective of what other people did around them.
Next, I genuinely believe that there are a lot more people than admit it, that have learned that work isn’t all about money, and care about being engaged by it. Many cultures teaches us not to admit to enjoying our work, and many people hide it. By opening up a genuine conversation about engagement, we’ll help challenge that culture, and create a safe space for others to acknowledge their desire for engaging work, and work towards achieving it.
Finally, it is absolutely in the world’s interest for many more people to find satisfying, engaging, truly productive work, even if not everyone currently wants to:
- The world has many problems that can only be solved by an engaged mind
- Technology is increasingly eliminating those jobs that can be done without engagement
- The increase in the share of income that goes to those jobs that use engagement make it critical that we increase the number of people taking such roles, or else suffer the consequences of inequality and social incohesion
- The idea that chasing after more money for its own sake will make us happier, has generally been shown to be an unsustainable myth.
For these reasons, I will be continuing to seek and promote ways in which we can all be more engaged with the work that we do.