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When Work and Meaning Part Ways

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https://hedgehogreview.com/issues/the-evening-of-life/articles/when-work-and-meaning-part-ways

hedgehogreview.com

When Work and Meaning Part Ways
The Hedgehog Review is published three times per year by the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. In keeping with the Institute's own mission and vision, the journal is concerned with issues of contemporary cultural change and its individual and social consequences.

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Problems with the Work Ethic

  • For centuries, the promise of America has been built on the work ethic, with everyone aspiring to have a job that pays them.
  • Work Ethic as it is has not provided any social, moral or s...

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The Unfulfilled Promise of Work

What working a decent job means is slowing losing ground, as we are not deriving meaning from our work.

Having a job means getting paid for our talents, but it may not be the case for many.&n...

40 SAVES


Following The Orders

Most workers rely on the whims and fancies of the so-called 'Job Creators', a class of people who own a business and can employ staff. Job creators hold power on the worker's time, behav...

41 SAVES


We Become what We Repeat

Whatever action we do repeatedly, we tend to imbibe in us and it eventually makes up our character.

Repeating good or bad deeds builds up our personality accordingly. What we re...

45 SAVES


One Tiny Task On Repeat

Most work today is akin to a 'pin factory' where workers keep working a small, repetitive task all day.

Performing a narrow range of mental or physical actions in a job hampers our personal, ...

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Feeling Miserable

Even as we see that work is not providing us with what it promises, we find that it never did, throughout history. Work has never fulfilled the expectations that we seem to now have for ...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Critical thinkers need the knowledge first

Employers need critical thinkers, but they cannot find them.

Focussing on knowledge only in college does not seem to help. Neither does it help to only focus on intellectual and cognitive sk...

The focus of skills over knowledge

Considering the K-12 system, we see that the emphasis on skills over content has changed the curriculum. Students increasingly focus on learning skills, but they may not learn too much history or science.

Critical thinking is not enough on its own. It needs to be used to gain insight from studying meaningful subject matter, like history or economics or physics or chemistry.

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is a disciplined activity. It is not something we can acquire without intensive study and practice, nor can we isolate it from knowledge. Knowledge is foundational to provide the structure to do deep thinking.

Only with some background knowledge, can we apply the skills of critical thinking to problems and texts, understand the strengths and weaknesses of arguments, and offer creative solutions.

Make space to create meaning

Provide digital self-assessment tools and the types of personal exploration exercises that facilitate reflection.  

These mechanisms can help employees identify personal sources...

Provide the right amount of structure

Formal employee programs and activities, such as rotational opportunities, innovation labs, reverse mentoring and milestone experiences, can help employees build deeper, more diverse relationships while promoting growth.

Build strong teams

Deepening relationships is a key source of fulfillment.

Shared experiences help employees come together in ways that build meaningful connections and trust. Activities that provide a common purpose — such as an escape room game or a hackathon — are especially effective.

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Existing divisions

Epidemics and other natural disasters tend to both illuminate and reinforce existing divisions.

  • The division in our society is between those who can keep their jobs and work from...

Hope for low-income workers

History offers a precedent. Collective anger at low wages and poor working protections can produce lasting social change.

  • One study that looked at 15 significant pandemics revealed an increase in wages for three decades afterward.
  • After the Plague of Justinian, worker incomes doubled.
  • After the Black Death in the 1300s, textile workers in northern France received three raises a year.

Workers' rights

The pandemic may be bad for workers’ rights.

  • The pandemic might be blamed on outsiders - the Black Death led to massacres of Jews across Europe.
  • In the past decades, many low-income whites have become allied with other whites, not with poor people.
  • Organized labor is still far off. Busy employees at large retailers are spread across the country and don't have a centralized way to communicate.

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