It’s time we surrendered to the truth: We’re not really happy at work.
We live in a world of hover-boards and Siri, of possibility and opportunity. It’s evident that we have advanced 200 years beyond the industrial revolution. Yet while we live in these advanced societies of freedom and democracy, we choose to work in corporations of structure, rigidity, hierarchy and greed. From 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, we might as well be living in the 1820s.
We are all too familiar with the sinking feeling of Sunday evening. After indulging in a life-giving weekend full of things we love, we are now hours away from reentering the corporate race.
When did it all go so wrong?
Remember when we entered the workforce young, innocent and full of hope? Remember how we put our trust in corporations — assuming they had our best interest in mind — only to find them full of politics, power and ego?
It used to seem so strange and wrong. But everyone else seemed fine with it, so we went along with the norms we strongly sensed: Leave your personality at home. Bring your macho, alter-ego to work. Be professional. Fight for power and the next promotion. Ditch your personal dreams and aspirations. Put your family second.
Day after day. Year after year. We work our job to afford a lifestyle we only really get to live on weekends, working with people we don’t really like on things we don’t really care about to earn money so we can buy things we don’t really have time to enjoy. By the time we’re in our 40s, we figure we might as well put up with it a few more years so we can retire to happiness.
Many leaders are saying “no” to this vicious cycle. The movement is growing. People all across the world are rejecting this outdated, corporate vision for work and are choosing to do things differently.
This isn’t about superficial, Silicon-Valley-inspired perks like ping pong tables, free food, and Playstation’s at work. It’s about real change. The kind of change that affects the core of how a company operates.
Imagine companies full of happy people working to make an actual impact on problems they care about. Picture working environments that enable people to outgrow their current job and reach their full potential. Dare to dream of a place where everyone has autonomy and is trusted to make the right decisions for the company and its customers.
That sounds like a wonderful world to live and work in.
It’s time to take a stand against ego-driven politics and hierarchies. Let’s say “no” to unnecessary corporate traditions that value power and conformity. Together, we can boldly declare our desire for companies driven by purpose, impact and meaning — where every member is encouraged to keep growing and become their best self. We want to work in environments where people are treated like humans, not cogs in a machine.
This is an idea that binds us together. It is possible to love our jobs. Work can be a place of meaning, purpose and happiness. Let’s fight for that.