While listening to a podcast about the association between your career choice and projected happiness levels, I began to have an existential crisis. The podcast entitled “Happiness Lab,” states that only ⅓ of Americans are actually satisfied with their career choice; it also states that most college graduates enter the workforce with only monetary motivators. Although money is important to our wellbeing, it is not the only external force that we can use as motivation. Capitalism has programmed us into believing that participating in the labor force is the only way that we will feel successful; our reward is being financially stable. I believe that it is important to break this boundary and push towards labor becoming a more creative space, where the working class has more freedom to live satisfactory lives while also having a stable income. The labor market could be transformed through policies such as job crafting, redoing the 40-hour workweek, and maximizing productivity through personalized rewards. The value of money in our society will never diminish, but we can change the way we view money and harness its potential to create happier lives.
One way we can improve the workspace is to introduce job crafting into the workplace. Job crafting is the art of redesigning the work you do to match your values and strengths. Not only would this lead to workers being able to share their opinions in an open dialogue, but it would allow for those lower in company status to participate in the crafting of company policies; workers deserve to have their ideas be implemented into the workplace. It would also make work more personable, meaning that individual responsibilities could be customized. As a result, many laborers could become more productive since they would find satisfaction in completing mundane, repetitive tasks.
Not only can job crafting maximize productivity but so can personalized rewards. Not everyone is motivated by money; it is important to humanize your employees by getting to know how they feel appreciated and seen. I have spoken to so many colleagues and friends who just feel like a number or a statistic within the workforce. I think that reforming the ways in which we are rewarded within the workplace could potentially be beneficial to productivity and overall job satisfaction.
Another way to refine the labor market would be to completely transform the 40-hour workweek. Although the concept still works for particular industries, it does not transmute well to all spheres of labor; industries should be able to critically analyze how many hours of labor they need to maximize the production and productivity of workers. By adapting the workweek to what functions best for each industry, both company profits and job satisfaction could increase dramatically.
Just as all other spheres of life require us to grow, so too does the labor market. So many ideas and policies that circulate within the workforce are outdated and lead to many workers being unsatisfied with their jobs and potential employment prospects. The United States prides itself on innovation and change; let us use this core value of innovation to move towards a more creative and personalized labor space, where people feel happy to be working and feel rewarded for their labors.