Is the U.S. Becoming Work Averse?

If We No Longer Love to Work

Are demands for more vacation, more sick days, more maternity leave, and more perks a sign that we are becoming more work averse? After I build something, I feel great. I feel as though I did something with my time and energy instead of just being useless. After I fix something, I feel great. I think most people feel the same way.

This raises the question, why would we become work averse if it’s rewarding? It’s because work is now less rewarding. Feelings of accomplishment have been eroded. The US has historically been a powerhouse for innovation and in an increasingly competitive global landscape, our work ethic has never been more important.

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Misaligned Incentives Lead to Diminished Production

Our eroding enjoyment of work is probably due, in part, to many finished digital work projects simply vanishing into cyberspace. Reports, summaries, billing entries, and other digital tasks might as well be printed out, crumpled up, and chucked into an abyss after finishing them.

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Corporate work is at odds with our nature. A smaller % of people now own their own businesses and a much higher % of people have become an insignificant cog in a wheel.  Yet, control over our own life has a lot to do with feeling happy and good about our life. The two things are at odds. Work is a good thing but corporate work can feel more like slavery. It’s a terrible comparison because slavery is a horrid thing. Still, you have to acknowledge the lack of control over ones own time, the 50 weeks a year spent at a desk, the lack of day to day variation, and the dependency that sets in with a mortgage and car payment.

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The Solution

Who knows.

  • Become self-sufficient hermits?
  • Start a fishing village in Northern Canada?
  • Quit your job, move to Thailand and try to build an app?
  • Get a job that’s outdoors
  • Shop less at corporations and you’ll indirectly reduce the supply of corporate jobs
  • Get your high school band back together

 

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