I seem to be talking a lot about work at the moment. Not my work, specifically, but about our working lives. Maybe it’s finally dawned on my generation that we will almost certainly be working into our seventies. Maybe it’s because we were lucky enough not to have a nine grand price tag hanging around university education and so a lot of friends spent three years studying before entering work.
We talk about good work, being bored at work, finding better, more meaningful work, the pressures of work, the politics within work … It is, after all, where we spend the majority of our days.
There’s an incredible range of work out there but also, as everyone is very aware in today’s job market, a narrowing bank of secure jobs.
And whilst all this is going on, I’ve seen my parents and friends retire and seen how the loss of a job is, in most cases, just that … a loss. There are certainly big benefits to retirement but I’m not sure it truly dawns on you until it is upon you that you might actually miss going into work each day.
Meanwhile, a lot of people in my generation are casting around to find better work and even seem to be looking forward to retirement; I’d say it’s fairly rare to meet someone who hasn’t got a gripe about what they do.
How is it that so many people are unsatisfied with the work they do? Is it down to the way that we evaluate our choices nowadays? Or are work places changing in the way that they are managed and so even Mary Poppins would get disheartened?
I wonder if it might be largely due to how difficult it is these days to find work that actually trusts you to do your job. That doesn’t monitor you so closely and blindly that you end up feeling like you’re no good at anything at all.
I’ve heard recently from a close friend who used to love their job that they are now thinking of leaving because of the way their work is being judged, picked apart and scrutinised. This enormous, unnecessary pressure placed upon them is driving them out of their profession and with them, they’ll take their talent, intellect, creativity and passion.
It’s a nonsense. But it’s happening every day.