David Graeber, the anthropologist, recently published a book which stated and unraveled why up to 40% of us secretly think our jobs aren’t necessary or could easily be done by a software or mechanism.
To back this theory, a survey carried out by YouGov in 2015 found that 37% of people believe that their job makes no “meaningful contribution”.
Alongside many wonderful facts and theory’s, we are reminded of John Maynard Keynes’ 1930 prediction that by the year 2000 due to technical advances the working week would have reduced from 40 hours to 15. The unfortunate truth is that this hasn’t happened.
If we were to reduce the working week many people wouldn’t be able to afford to feed their families. Besides, people are seriously connected to their jobs and most will spend more than the required 40 hours a week working or thinking and mulling over their work at home.
The technological advances that we have created have prolonged the hours we work rather than shortening them because we can now access emails out of hours and are connected to work with our mobile and desktop devices.
Some companies have invested in policies such as Zmail, where email servers are closed off out of hours and at weekends so that the staff can have separate lives from work and then be able to come back in refreshed and re-motivated.
But even if we do have time to shut off, many come to work and feel sluggish and slightly angered due to the fact that they don’t think their job is worth anything or having any contribution at all to the world around them. In fact, they just stay because they’ve become committed and the money is good.
People tend to go along with the majority and conform along with everyone else who feels the same way. They then pretend and mask the fact that their jobs don’t really do anything or are needed for anything.
Employment is at an all-time high at the moment and more and more people are seeing the likeliness that they’ll find a new job If they quit and get a new one. Smaller start-ups and roles in public service are now seen as more professional and respectable, meaning there’s a larger threat to larger multi-national companies with all of these ‘pointless jobs’.
These larger companies are working hard to make themselves seem like worthy companies with the use of an annual volunteering day or some wonderful imagery in the company report. Unfortunately, people aren’t that gullible and it’s time to revisit and reinvent purpose at all levels within organisations for all teams and individuals.
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