TED Conversations

Steven McConnell

Family Photographer,

This conversation is closed.

Why Do So Many People Loathe Their Jobs - And How Do We Fix That?

The default context for work is this: work is not fun, but we need to do it to make a living.

And we dream that, one day, when we "make it big" and earn enough money, we can quit work and have more fun in life.

In other words, for most people work is seen as the opposite of fun.

I believe that is a lie which we've been born into.

For a lot of people - even today - work is their passion, their mission in life, the source of fulfilment and a means through which they make a difference. People have dedicated their lives to their jobs. They have even died - willingly - because they believed their work had meaning greater than their own life/

It's an incredible gift and a privilege to enjoy your work. The question is - how to we allow more people experience that gift? How do we stop people from wasting their lives in meaningless 9-5 jobs which they loathe?

How to we allow people to realise their passions and translate them into successful, profitable business ventures which feed their souls and make a difference?

Those are the questions I'm interested in exploring.



Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Mar 19 2013: I think personal autonomy plays an important part in job satisfaction. By that I mean having the opportunity to take full possession of jobs assigned to you and therefore experiencing the passion-enhancing thrill and esteem that comes with doing those jobs well.

    Any passion in a job gets destroyed by autocratic 'rule book' management, inappropriate project possessiveness, and disrespect for employee talent. But the real destroyer is management taking the accolades for the work you have done, with no acknowledgement whatsoever. (I speak from personal experience)

    Without respect and autonomy, the 9-5 workplace will forever be 'just a meaningless, loathsome means to an end'.

    I guess the answer is in your question: to find that personal passion and then go all-out to translate that into being your own boss as a self-employed professional. Not always easy, but well worth the hassle once a reputation has been established.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.