Reworking Work

Why do people work?  People want to earn for their living and hence they work. As simple as that.
When further queried are they satisfied with what they do, the majority of the respondents are either neutral or dissatisfied and very few are actually happy with what they did.

There could be various factors for the negativity ranging from their personality traits to their current work environment. But those who posted neutral, the major chunk of the population, were the surprise package. By being neutral they may or may not be aware of how they feel about what they do for their majority of waking hours, which could total to more than half their life span. Yet people turn up for their job day in and day out. Is money the only reason/motivator for doing work?

Consider a typical job interview. The questions posted would basically center around the skill set needed and probing around the analytical capability as well. Percentage of hike would definitely has an obvious hand on the outcome. Yet attitude of the candidate plays an equally important role. Meaning, even if a candidate falls within the budget and has required skills, their attitude towards work is equally significant.

Once they are in, what makes people stick to a company? More often than not its not just the money or perks but, per the oft repeated fact that, people don't leave jobs but their managers, proves that people want to work with colleagues whom they respect and with supervisors who respect them.

This raises another question. Are humans inherently lazy and need incentive to do work? Why do people need to be monitored for productivity? When you hire someone for doing what they like, is there a really need for a follow up supervision? I know of few of my colleagues, who follow FILO model of working hours. Everyone around them including themselves, know they are over worked and are borderline exploited, but being the workaholics themselves, it gives them a high to be the maximum productive. When enquired, they replied that going beyond their call of duty gives them a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. Those people were either paid on par with their regular hours clocking colleague and were rated on the same scales as others. When they finally quit the organization, it was not the moderate ratings or pay scale that were the straw that broke the camel, but lack of recognition for what they were doing. They were taken for granted as being always available and the same work environment that gave them thrill became overkill. Considering that they are much well better placed and paid outside, would continuous appreciation and recognition have done them in?

These, of course are not new. Yet all of us encounter same situation, irrespective of our domain and company and set up. But that only raises a deeper question: In the face of long standing evidence that routinization and an overemphasis on pay lead to worse performance in the workplace, why have we continued to tolerate and even embrace that approach to work?

I guess the answer lies in the fact that we accept an offer with a variety of aspirations aside from receiving regular pay and are hardly vocal and open about it. You may want to be the best tech support ever, who can fix any issue from complex to simple without getting irritated to any kind of query from your customer. But once you realize how mismatched are  your aspirations with your org's goals, in the long run it all transpires into how much is the pay for doing what you need to do rather than what you want to do.

People are not utterly money oriented is what i want to believe. When i see good samaritans helping accident victims, people offering help for fellow passengers, honest officials who go out of their way to help illiterate elders in completing formalities, i dont see them doing it for money. They definitely are on the job to get paid, but how they do their job gives them a sense of self worth which no amount of salary can give them.

If everyone understands how their work connects with other people and how it helps in making someone's life a little better, work would really be worship.


Ramesh said…
Its a complex area with each individual having a complex and different set of motivations. Any generalisation is tough. Money is important, of course, especially in early stages of life. But as you age, it somewhat reduces in importance, although it does remain an important, if not primary, motivation.

Many articulate "job satisfaction", "company culture" etc as motivators, but these are hard to nail down. After all 70% of all work is grunt work and boring. In any profession - even noble professions as charity work. We all rebel against that, but that forms the majority of our working life. Equally, if you are born with a lot of money and do not need to work to earn it, that is also a problem - they are often the unhappiest of the lot.

I think its a product of our genes. We constantly are not satisfied and want more (of anything). That's probably an evolutionary trait - those that seek are often the most successful.

How come Gilsu is these days venturing into philosophy ??
gils said…
Things that I see around in daily life makes me wonder :)
Intha postoda part 2 in plan..will answer your queries in that :D

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