The popular view of Mondays is not the best. In the words of entrepreneur, CEO and YouTube personality Gary Vaynerchuck “This is the sentiment that we all know well; it’s echoed in about every part of our work culture.”

Time to redefine work

The cult of Monday haters

People consider Mondays to be the devil incarnate, forcing them to leave the comforts of their beds, depriving them of rest, and of happiness.

That’s the bottom line. Fridays rule, Mondays suck. It is a cyclic process, round and round it goes. The wait for the Friday, followed by the dread for the Monday.

People are disillusioned with their work. They loathe the idea of getting up in the morning and getting ready and preparing for the routine of a corporate job that they have come to hate.

And so many people have started to move away from this culture. The concept of start-ups has popped up with the idea to grow away from the so called corporate culture and its way of life and it has been successful but to a limited extent.

But the Achilles Heel of this ‘alternate’ way of work is that every startup at the end aspires to be corporate. Because every startup wants to scale up and to maintain efficiency at such a level, a hierarchy is required. And when you have a hierarchy, abracadabra, you have yourself the very thing you were trying to avoid.

So, this approach is bound to fail. It is akin to treating the symptoms and not the actual problem.

Like the Hindenburg, it is bound to crash and burn. Sure, it will be ‘apparently’ successful for a short period of time. But over the long term, FIREBALL.

So, then, I hear you ask, problem Kya hai?

In the words of Tyler Durden from Fight Club “We’re working jobs we hate so we can buy s*** we don’t need.”

Well, the problem is the concept of work as we know it. The problem is the job and not the monotony that comes with doing the job.

People just aren’t happy with their jobs. Period.

In a survey of professionals 4 years ago by the Harvard Business Review, half of the 12,00 people interviewed said they felt their job had no “meaning and significance,” and an equal number were unable to relate to their company’s mission.

Even if you look at people around you, hell, even yourself and ask that what is the company’s vision, all you would be able to answer is the phrase that accompanies the company logo.

That’s it. You won’t be able to tell me that if you work in let’s say TCS, then what was Ratan Tata’s aim when he founded it, or when he founded TATA.

You would not be able to tell me where the company is heading and why it is heading there.

You would instead crib about the long work hours and the bad pay and the bad atmosphere. You would tell me that the only purpose for which you are working here, is money.

And that is the sad reality of the Indian corporate and even the corporate sector at large.

So, why and how did we get here? And why is there a need to re define work as we know it?

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Well, the answer is surprisingly bizarre, and it freaked even me out when I first learned of it. AUTOMATION.

Doesn’t make sense, does it? Well, hear me out.

Bulls*** Jobs

It has been 200 years since human jobs and tasks have started to get automated. First, it was agriculture, then industries such as coal and steel.

Naturally, everybody freaked out. They despaired at the thought of a useless population. And thus began the creation of, as anthropologist David Graeber calls them, ‘bulls*** jobs’.

These are the jobs without the world would continue spinning, it would not halt progress. But it is towards these jobs we have been pushed. Without our knowledge, but definitively so.

These jobs are private equity CEOs, lobbyists, PR researchers, actuaries, telemarketers, bailiffs or legal consultants. Without them, the world won’t vanish.

In 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted that by the end of the century technology would have advanced sufficiently that in countries such as the UK and the US we’d be in 15-hour weeks.

But technology has been used, to figure out ways to make us all work more. Huge masses of people, in Europe and North America in particular, use up their entire lives doing actions and performing tasks they themselves believe to be unnecessary.

The way forward

To quote Graeber “The moral and spiritual damage that comes from this situation is profound. It is a scar across our collective soul. Yet virtually no one talks about it.”

So, what now. How do we change this culture that is leaving humanity devoid of its purpose, to live life?

And even if we re define it, what shall we re define it to?

For the answer, I will quote Rutger Bergman’s article on the World Economic Forum

“I believe in a future where the value of your work is not determined by the size of your paycheck but by the amount of happiness you spread and the amount of meaning you give. I believe in a future where the point of education is not to prepare you for another useless job, but for a life well lived. I believe in a future where “jobs are for robots and life is for people.”      

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