Work as a natural part of life

Ouch! It’s been long time since my last post. Some bigger changes at work, moved to our new flat, no enough biking (due to either too much other things to do or bad weather), IELTS course finished…

And this reminds me that in one of my recent IELTS lessons there was a text called “The great work myth”. In this text it is argued that the popular belief that the work is killing our marriages, generating stress, depriving children of ‘quality time’ and depressing us is actually nonsense. For the truth is that, as far as work is concerned, we’ve never had it so good.

I think this is very interesting and provoking claim. I’ve thought quite a lot about this topic throughout the years and obviously I’m not the only one who does.

In The Human Side of Enterprise, professor Douglas McGregor advances two theories – Theory X and Theory Y. These two theories set out the two extremes.

Theory X posits that we dislike work and will do whatever we can to avoid it. Therefore, our managers need to coerce, persuade or bribe us to secure our compliance. We want an easy life and prefer direction to thinking for ourselves. We avoid to take responsibility and will blame others for any failings in our organisation or ourselves.

Theory Y, however, assumes that we see work as a natural part of life, so we may as well get the most out of it that we can. We thrive when we feel trusted, and we are willing and able to offer new ideas, think for ourselves, take responsibility and give our commitment.

I’ve seen people and situations which conform to both theories so I can’t take an unequivocal position.

But as a matter of fact work has always had a central place in human life. In earlier times work was an indistinguishable part of life; people did whatever was necessary for their own and their family or community survival. Under the impact of the industrialisation, however, work becomes a more discrete activity. In particular it becomes more separate from it’s product and from the, arguably more important, personal concerns of family, leisure and self-development.

Self-employment is an interesting alternative because it often creates the feeling of more freedom and control over the situation. But in many cases and especially when it comes to small, one man business it might be a false feeling. There’s no one to look after your clients (except your rivals) while you are on vacation or ill.

But anyway, most probably you are going to work more than 18,000 hours in your life time so you’d better like your work… 🙂

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