100 Days of Something: 27

Why Do We Work So Hard? That’s the title of an article in The Economist’s 1843 magazine from a few weeks back.

A look at identity, community, purpose, and not least the role of technology in today’s work landscape – one in which top professionals earn the most, but also work the longest hours. Pay is tied to commitment and responsibility – aspects we sometimes imagine we’d like to be free of, but which are also closely connected with work satisfaction.

At the end of the day we can sit back and admire our work – the completed article, the sealed deal, the functioning app – in the way that artisans once did, and those earning a middling wage in the sprawling service-sector no longer do.

A revealing look at the “sharing-economy” of that sprawling service-sector is offered in the Instaserfs series on Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything podcast. The lower number of hours that lower paid jobs bring with them probably means that a number of those jobs have to be patch-worked together.

When it comes to the downsides of such a life, both at the top and bottom – less time for family, social or leisure activities – the professionals at least have the possibility of losing themselves in solving the “puzzles on which other people depend”.

It is a cognitive and emotional relief to immerse oneself in something all-consuming while other difficulties float by. The complexities of intellectual puzzles are nothing to those of emotional ones. Work is a wonderful refuge.

100 Days of Something: 27 “Why Do We Work So Hard?” #The100DayProject rdgr.me/u/u4y4dk

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Rudiger Meyer is a composer interested in the play between traditional concert music and new media.

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