Skip to main content

Work = Misery?

Work!   Ugh you say.     You're not alone.   

An interesting op-ed piece by Lucy Kellaway in the Financial Times  (behind a paywall) looks at work in 2017 - and compares it to some 50 years ago. 

"If you type into Google "my job is –" the search engine predicts the way your sentence is going: "so boring" or "making me suicidal" or "making me miserable". If you start "my boss is –", Google offers: "lazy", "is bullying me" or (my favourite) "a cow". Even more alarming, if you type "my job is stimulating", it assumes you have made a typo and suggests that you must have meant "not stimulating".

The internet has a way of whipping up bad feeling. Yet in this case workplace disaffection is real and growing. We are in the middle of what Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a professor at UCL in London, calls an "epidemic of disengagement". Most surveys show less than a third of workers care for their jobs, and the long-term trend is getting worse.

In Britain there is some evidence we like our jobs a good deal less than we did in the 1960s. This is most peculiar. I was not in the workforce in the 1960s. But I was in the 1980s, and can confirm things are better than they were back then. When I joined the City pre-Big Bang, it was stuffed with upper-class men in pinstripes, many of whom were astonishingly dim. Jobs were still for life, so if you landed one you did not like, you were trapped. Promotions took ages, and even then were largely based on Buggins' turn and who you played golf with. Bullying was so normal no one thought to complain. Office buildings were dingy, dirty and uncomfortable. There were no such thing as ergonomic chairs, and you were likely to get lung cancer from all the passive smoking.

Now, not only are offices bright and beautiful, we do not even have to go to them if we do not feel like it – we can work at home instead. Bosses have been taught not to shout. There are gyms and free fruit. And if you happen to be a woman, things have improved beyond recognition. In the 1960s you were limited to filing and shorthand, while now (at least in theory) you can run the show. So why are we so miserable?"





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Whatever democracy the Palestinians had is dying

Almost a desperate cry from a well-known, respected and sober moderate Palestinian.

Mustafa Barghouthi is secretary-general of the Palestinian National Initiative and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was a candidate for the Palestinian presidency in 2005.

He writes in a piece "The Slow Death of Palestinian Democracy" on FP:

"Palestinian municipal elections were supposed to be held last week. Instead, they were canceled. A statement released by the Palestinian Authority claimed the cancellation was "in order to pave the way for a successful end to the siege on Gaza and for continued efforts at unity" between Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, and the government in the West Bank.

The cancellation of this election was an unjustified, unlawful, and unacceptable act. It damages democratic rights and makes a mockery of the interests of the Palestinian people.

But this is far more than an internal Palestinian issue. The only lasting peace between Isr…

Big Brother alive and well in the USA in 2007

The so-called "war on terror" has shown itself up in a multitude of manifestations. The most dangerous thing has been governments using the "excuse" of the war to restrict certain civil liberties, allowing government agencies to pursue a variety of things that they would otherwise would not - and should not - be allowed to do and gathering, and retaining, a variety of information on its citizens.

The Washington Post reports on the latest incursions into civil liberties of all Americans:

"The U.S. government is collecting electronic records on the travel habits of millions of Americans who fly, drive or take cruises abroad, retaining data on the persons with whom they travel or plan to stay, the personal items they carry during their journeys, and even the books that travelers have carried, according to documents obtained by a group of civil liberties advocates and statements by government officials.

The personal travel records are meant to be stored for as lo…