I have wondered why we structure work the way we do- Why is it so hierarchical? Why are the rules so rigid? Why is productivity the goal, but not employee satisfaction. It’s a lot to do with the industrial revolution, and a thinker named Adam Smith. Well, people misinterpreted what he said. He said, in a quote, that people are lazy and only want money. (This is obv not verbatim because people in the 1800s didnt talk like we do, LOL)
But if you keep reading his stuff, he says, ‘A man changes once he enters a factory and works there for a long time. He is more dead inside.’ not verbatim again. But that second part doesn’t add up with his first quote. Which is it? Are we lazy? Or do workplaces change us, make us ‘dead’ inside.’?
After his writings, the free market, capitalistic driven way of life in America took off, we stopped working on farms and within family units and left for factories and cities. The work was repetitive and unrewarding. Bosses thought …that’s fine. People dont want to be here, anyway. So just churn stuff out and give ’em a paycheck.
That model is still alive today. Some companies have realized that model is broken and false- Humans ARE workers. We evolved this way. We wouldnt have made it this far in our evolution if we didn’t get some satisfaction out of work..but what KIND of work? Meaningful work.
People shit on the past a lot. We think our era is the best, no questions, case closed. A lot of stuff is CLEARLY better about today than yesterday. But some stuff is broken. Like how we approach our work. You have to feel like the job matters- It does not matter what job it is. It could be a job at Mcdonalds, or a job at a fancy ass law firm. If the job just feels pointless, your life will feel pointless, and that isn’t how a human functions. In caveman days, you were given a job automatically. To take care of each other, to help survive. Now you are very independent. Now it is up to you to figure out your role, your meaning. And to find a company that shares that vision.
I work for a company that always has interesting stuff going on for their employees- well, i’m a contractor..but I still get to do all the stuff. They offer a garden club, softball league, computer classes, and they’re even starting a pilot program where they bring a dental office to you..like a pop up dental clinic ?! It’s not just a stuffy, cold climate. So the employees like being there. And they want to work better for the company because they feel the company cares about them.
Anyway. Capitalism is weird, I guess. I used to be super against the idea of a basic living wage. I’m not super against it anymore, I just dont know how it would work from a monetary standpoint. Would all the rich people support us? That seems scary as hell, like I would lose all my autonomy.. So why leap to that. Why not improve our workplaces, today, while we still have them.