Over the years, the Gallup organization has polled millions of employees in over 160 different countries around the world. A few years ago, they conducted a survey and found that only 13 percent of workers feel engaged by their jobs. The vast majority – about 63 percent of us – describe ourselves as “not engaged,” meaning we lack motivation. The remainder (24%) are “actively disengaged” indicating that they are flat out unhappy at their work.
Although the latest Gallup polls suggest that employee engagement is on the rise in the United States, the World of work still doesn’t look very happy and satisfying. About eight or nine out of every ten workers around the world find their work to be more of frustration than fulfillment. Psychologist, Barry Schwartz, summed it up well when he said that, “Ninety percent of adults spend half their waking lives doing things they would rather not be doing at places they would rather not be.” This is not good!
But work is a good thing isn’t it? Through work things get done, things get taken care of. Through work, human life is not only maintained, it flourishes. It was through work that most of the world has become civilized. So work is a good thing, a fruitful thing!
People can express themselves through work – think of artists, musicians, writers, barbers, etc. Work also allows us to help ourselves, our families, and our neighbors. The farmer plants his crops and sells the produce to someone in the market. The farmer gets money from that sale to benefit himself and his family while the buyer gets food for her and her family to eat. Win-win! So work benefits everyone. It also encourages inter-dependence and community.
So then what is the problem? If there is nothing bad about legal, ethical work then perhaps the problem doesn’t lie with work but rather with us. Either our perspective on work needs to change or our practice of work needs to change. Either we need to see our work for what it is – good, or we need new work. New work that we wouldn’t find unsatisfying and frustrating. Work that we find to be fruitful and fulfilling.
I believe that for each of us, work should be a happy and rewarding expression of ourselves for the benefit of our community. Sadly, for most of us, that is just not the case. Perhaps what is needed is a shift. A shift either in the way we view work or a shift in the work we do. For me, one of the most satisfying and rewarding moments is after I’ve down work that I’m proud of.
So tell me, do you find your work fruitful or is it frustrating?
I wish you every success in life and in the pursuit of your passions and purpose.
A fellow traveler on the road toward financial freedom and a more meaningful life. More About Me and My Blog.