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Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

The Problem with Working Only for the Money

By Dan Atkerson on September 16, 2015

Engineer Showing Apprentice How to Use Drill In FactoryFor every job there are two different kinds of payment. There is the physical pay; the money, the clams, the cold hard cash. Then there is the other side, a mental or even spiritual fulfillment that you get by showing up to work every day. Everybody deserves to be getting both kinds of pay, but they rarely do.

The fact is that most workers today have it in their heads that there is only one kind of pay; that money is the only reason you should be going to work. The state of our collective economic minds would have us believe that people generally just don’t want to do anything. And so, in order to get them to do what you want, you have to dangle a carrot (money). Unfortunately, over the course of our 250 years of economic instruction since Adam Smith, it has been drilled into our heads that the carrot is the only veggie available.

All of these employees that show up to work at the factory and ratchet things together, or sit in front of a phone making sales calls all day, deserve to be happy in their work just as much as anyone. What tends to be the case instead is that these workers become soulless, robotic husks that are simply leased out to employers for 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week.

According to a recent survey by Gallup, a global performance-management consulting company, only about 31 percent of American workers are “engaged” at work. The definition of an “engaged” employee is someone that is enthusiastic about their job and personally interested in the company’s long-term success.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that businesses and employees both profit substantially if the employees believe that they are important; that their work is meaningful and improves the life of others. Rather than allow the national model of molding employees to suit our needs by throwing cash at them, we could all benefit from appealing to the natural human desire to be mentally and spiritually satisfied.

The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, and the only way to change the way we are motivated to go to work is by changing our valuations of ourselves, one at a time. We have to start believing that we are worth more than a wad of cash. This isn’t the sort of thing that can be done overnight, but you have to start somewhere.

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