In a 2013 survey of 12,000 professionals by the Harvard Business Review, half said they felt their job had no “meaning and significance,” and an equal number were unable to relate to their company’s mission, while another poll among 230,000 employees in 142 countries showed that only 13% of workers actually like their job. A recent poll among Brits revealed that as many as 37% think they have a job that is "utterly useless".
They have, what anthropologist David Graeber refers to as, “bullshit jobs”. On paper, these jobs sound fantastic. And yet there are scores of successful professionals with imposing LinkedIn profiles and impressive salaries who nevertheless go home every evening grumbling that their work serves no purpose (source).
I grew up in the seventies, under communism. I was brought up to get things done with efficiency but also with joy and "zero waste". "Production" was more important (and of course more fun) than "consumption", cooperation beat competition and being considerate of others and of nature was above chasing individual freedoms. Greed was still a sin back then.
With that background it kind of hurts having to observe life in a nowadays friedmanite capitalistic society... as Tyler Durden would put it eloquently: "Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need." Hedonism and never ending chase of phoney pleasures mistaken for joy and meaning, bigger than ever hunger for growth and profit... all leading to inequality and climate crisis of epic proportions.
I know we can and must do better.
We need a new system where people can find their calling, where our companies benefit all the people around them, where communities come back to life and where we live in harmony not only with one another but also with nature. We need a to take our lives back... stop making a living and start making a life.
With this in my heart, I couldn't help myself not to get involved. In 2007 I started my first blog. In 2010 I co-founded a publishing house (peoplecomm) focusing on the books with the topic of responsible business, future of work and of organisations. In 2012 I wrote my first book (Your money or your life) about why so many people make a living instead of just living and what to do about it. I co-organised numerous conferences (called "Freedom at work Live"), countless workshop, debates, did numerous talks and on-site consulting. In 2016 I finished my second book (called "13000 days") devoted to a topic of an Aristotelian "good life". In the same year we launched a local version of B corp named "Slušná firma" through which we search, connect and support organisations that are purpose driven and behave responsibly not only to their shareholders but also to their customers, employees, communities and the planet.