A Different Take on Why You Do the Work You Hate
- November 6, 2023
- Posted by: Philip Struble
- Category: Uncategorized
Would you rather work forty hours a week at a job you hate or eighty hours a week doing work you love?
Here are some interesting statistics from the General Social Survey.
- On a scale of 1 to 3, where 1 represents “not too happy” and 3 means “very happy,” Americans, on average, give themselves a 2.18 — just a hair above “pretty happy.”
- Ironically, spending time online, listening to music alone, and using social media are all activities correlated with unhappiness.
- All three of these activities are things most people perform while working – either as work or as a break/distraction from work.
I see a fairly clear relationship between this data and my own experience.
First, we are a relatively happy bunch of people.
Second, the things most people do either in their spare time or at work are things that make us unhappy.
The internet is full of vitriol; it is not a nice place. For example, podcasts and other information-related sites are hosted by immensely unqualified people attempting to rewrite the laws of physics, history, economics, and biology.
The music sounds good, but have you listened to the lyrics? So many are disgusting ideas put to nice-sounding chords.
And social media is a place of bad ideas. And while you can find isolated places of happiness, much of the activity online produces envy or dejection since you cannot afford those things you see or your life is not as perfect as others attempt to display themselves.
And finally, nearly all of us go to work where we have constant access to a computer, a phone, and the internet – all day long.
The business structure has set up work to automatically be an unhappy place where relatively happy people have to spend eight hours a day.
Happiness At Work
I understand all the traditional ideas of why people are unhappy at work. This list includes:
- Not respected as people at work.
- Don’t have the right tools, equipment, and information
- Employer disregards their personal life.
- Their immediate supervisor is a tyrant and unqualified for their job.
- Tired of being lied to.
- Have no visibility into the future.
- Tired of dealing with politics.
- Are underpaid and overworked.
These are all probably true, and could include many more issues.
But this list is not new. We have many successful companies, and employees seem to be getting the job done. So complaining about these issues is not solving the fundamental problem of unhappy employees.
Employees are continuing to do work they hate. And it’s not a big enough deal for the companies to change.
But business leaders who care about their employees can make the change.
How to make a Change
First, employers who care about their employees must help them cope with the technological world. Of course, I’m not talking about technology per se, but about the world in general.
For example, many employees listen to investing or entrepreneurial podcasts. It is estimated that there are over 4 million podcasts. As a business leader, you can help by suggesting good-quality podcasts that provide positive, sound information.
Music is the same. Business leaders can lead by example and let their employees know the music they listen to and the music their mentors listen to. People mimic success – they want to read the books successful people read, listen to their music, and go to their destinations.
Social media is an excellent opportunity for coaching. Unfortunately, influencers are not peddling good information. Most people need to be constantly reminded not to believe what is on Facebook, to stay away from Twitter, and remove all influence from TikTok. All information taken from social media is to be accepted at risk and considered with suspicion.
It is left to business leaders and entrepreneurs to create a place where people enjoy coming to work.
They don’t necessarily have to like the job because much of what we do today is not necessarily fun. For example, we need people to pick up the trash, package computers, and work at the drive-thru.
But the environment, camaraderie, and social engagement should be appealing.
1 Timothy 6:1 says,
“All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God’s name and our teaching may not be slandered”
In the first century Judea, nearly all the work was done by slaves. Slavery was the norm, and most slaves were paying off debts of their own or family members. They were the working class.
The Apostle Paul is telling the bosses to treat everyone, especially those working for them, with respect. And that respect was not for themselves but for God, the Creator of all.
The Bible is the source of all good teachings about treating people well.
Business leaders and entrepreneurs need to make sure their work environments are inviting places for employees. They must lead by example, and the best examples come from the Bible.