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Here's a question for you: If you didn't have to work and you just received an endless
allowance, would you still choose to have a job?
Okay, imagine this: You're lying on a beach one day, it's very pleasant!
And you overhear a conversation between a tourist and a local fisherman.
“Why are you here relaxing, when you could be out catching fish?”
“I caught enough this morning to last me two days, so wanted to lie back and enjoy
the day.”
“But if you work more, then you can sell the extra fish you catch.
Then soon you could buy a motor, and a second boat, and maybe one day a whole factory, or
a restaurant, and a helicopter!” “and then what?”
"then, without a care in the world, you could sit here in the harbour, doze in the sun,
and look at the glorious sea."
"But I'm already doing that!”
And you realise that the tourist and the fisherman have pretty different ideas about why we work.
In part, we work so that we can put food on the table, have a roof over our heads, and
clothes to wear.
But that's not all there is to it.
If it was, we would all view work like the fisherman does - just as a way to fulfil our
basic needs.
American psychologist Barry Schwartz says that the way we think about work is broken.
And he blames the founding father of economics - Adam Smith.
Smith believed that humans were inherently lazy – sorry everyone! – and the only
way to get people to work was to pay them.
This is the assumption that underlies how we think of work - just working for the man
to bring home the bacon!
But Schwartz argues that it has created a system where the emphasis on financial rewards
stops people from finding other meaning in their work - a situation that leads to lost
productivity, and discontent.
Think about how much time we spend wishing we weren't at work!
There's a GIF, meme and e-card for everything from Mondayitis to 3:30-itis, hump day and
TGIF.
I must admit, I've tweeted the TGIF one before.
But we also know that money isn't the only thing that motivates us.
We do lots of work that we don't get paid for - chores around the house, looking after
kids, playing music or helping friends.
In most cases, you're intrinsically motivated to do these things - rather than extrinsically
motivated by a wage.
In fact, some studies have shown that money can actually be a demotivator.
In 1971, American psychologist Edward Deci conducted a study with two groups of college
students.
He offered one group a financial incentive to work on a puzzle, while a control group
wasn't paid to work on the task.
Deci observed that the people who were given no financial incentive spent longer on the
puzzles and showed more interest in solving them.
Author Daniel Pink built on Deci's work to develop the “motivation trifecta”.
He argues that once we are paid enough money that financial worries are off the table,
three things motivate us:
Autonomy - to feel as if we have control over things; Mastery - the feeling of getting better
at something; and Purpose - finding deeper meaning behind what we do.
But that doesn't mean we all have to work for a charity – some people find their own
purpose in their work.
In one study, hospital janitors were interviewed about their job and they identified the importance
of their presence to comfort and entertain patients and families.
Although this wasn't at all a part of their position description, many said it was their
favourite part of they did.
So if we could all find meaning in our work, would we be unstoppable?
Would we be miraculously in control, productive and fulfilled?
Well, perhaps it depends on our individual approach to work.
Psychologists have proposed there are three distinct ways people approach their work:
As a Job - as a career - or as a calling
So maybe you're happy with your job being just a job.
And it allows you to do the other things that you enjoy.
Maybe you want to grow and achieve great things in your career.
Maybe you see your work as a calling - a passion you were born to do.
But regardless of how you see it - finding your purpose at work might just help to make
those Monday mornings a little less of
a struggle.
Just maybe.
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Why Do We Work?

137 分類 收藏
Amy.Lin 發佈於 2020 年 6 月 7 日
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