Why do we all work so hard?
It’s an interesting question when you think about it. Our economies are richer and more productive than ever. And individually, the average person is considerably better off than they were in the past. Taking holidays, buying gifts, and restricting the working week to five days are all options that we have in the 21st century that didn’t exist for many in the 19th. The extent of progress is quite remarkable.
Previous generations saw poverty and committed themselves to work their way out of it. They knew that if they worked hard, they could contribute to their families and the rest of society, creating a kind of rising tide.
Today, that kind of extreme poverty does exist, but only in small isolated pockets. It’s not a general phenomenon. And that means that the culture is changing. The goals of Gen Z in the workplace are very different from generations gone by. Money isn’t as central as it once was. Now the general sense seems to be that people want to find satisfaction in their work – and they’re willing to take a pay cut to get it.
Economists have talked about the hidden factors that determine whether somebody takes a role for a long time. It’s not all about the check that they get at the end of the month. Most people want to feel as though they’re getting something meaningful from their work too. Mere financial gain isn’t enough anymore.
This change in attitude comes out of the wealth of our economy. Young people today can afford to make money a secondary consideration because practically all forms of work provide the means to live comfortably. If you have a full-time job, you can invariably afford the basics.
Here are some of the things that young people want from their work.
Valuable Use Of Their Time
Imagine if you spent your entire working life pushing a button in a factory. It wouldn’t be fulfilling, but it is how many millions of people spent their lives in the past.
Now, though, there’s a great rebellion against this kind of activity. Workers don’t just want money: they want to know that they’re spending their prime years doing something they enjoy. That’s why we’re seeing the creation of so many marginal roles and increases in pay in monotonous jobs.
Most young people now accept that material acquisition is not a route to happiness. There are too many examples of unhappy people with fabulous wealth, and happy individuals without it.
Now, there’s a bigger drive toward satisfaction. People want to be able to look back at their working week as a “job well done.” They want to feel as though they did their best and are working towards some kind of goal that fits their personality. Seeing their bank balances rise no longer provides the kind of reward that young workers want. Satisfaction is essential. That’s what is driving young workers to find jobs where they have development opportunities.