Problems with the Work Ethic - Deepstash

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When Work and Meaning Part Ways

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 spiritual benefits that it should.
  • Artificial Intelligence and Big Data are on the verge to render the work ethic useless.

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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 skills.

Critical thinking is learning how to use knowledge.

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 of fulfillment to make work more meaningful.

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.

The Dunning-Kruger effect

It's a type of cognitive bias in which people believe that they are smarter and more capable than they really are. Inexperience masquerades as expertise. And we tend to see it in other people, but we don’t see it in ourselves.

Intellectual humility

It means being actively curious about your blind spots. It’s not about lacking confidence, or self-esteem. It’s about entertaining the possibility that you may be wrong and being open to learning from the experience of others.

Why we need more intellectual humility
  1. Our culture promotes and rewards overconfidence and arrogance; 
  2. At the same time, when we are wrong — out of ignorance or error — and realize it, our culture doesn’t make it easy to admit it. Humbling moments too easily can turn into moments of humiliation.