Business Tips: What Is Work? Do We Still Have to Work?

A robot is serving some coffee at a cafe.

We may work just to kill time

The US Lower House passed the bill of public spending of more than 1,900 billion dollars. Accordingly, the US economy (the Dow-Jones average, at least) is coming back like crazy, even though many people have not yet been back to business as usual. In Japan, it has been reported that many people at remote work are complaining “So bored to death,” even though they were complaining about non-decreasing overtime before the COVID. Most of us simply believe our work contributes to society or someone else, and also that that’s the reason why money is paid for work. After seeing the above facts, however, I come to doubt it. In fact, we may have just wasted time in the name of work for things no one wants, and may no longer work for money.

Free from work only for money

Some of you may say “You talk nonsense! Who will provide for me and my family then?” I know things have not yet been perfect, but do you remember why we human beings have continued to make strenuous efforts for technological advancement so far? It must have been originally and mainly for skipping hard work. Now, as the above news indicates, the world seems to keep moving around without our work. I’m sure it’s thanks to the surplus value made by high-performance machines, robots, etc. We may be going to be free from work only for money not now but in the near future.

A shot of our furniture factory. Four people can be seen to work.

We work for something more than economic return

Even in such an ideal future, I believe people will keep on working. We may not call it work any more if the definition of work is doing something for money, though. According to Donald Super, a psychologist famous for his Career Development Theory, work values can be evaluated in 15 scales. As you may be surprised, economic return is only one of them. I believe the work of our company would score high in two scales: creativity and aesthetic. The scale of creativity values work that permits one to invent new things, design new products, or develop new ideas. The latter one, aesthetic, highly rates work that permits one to make beautiful things and to contribute beauty to the world.

Now, most of the small-and-medium sized companies like us are suffering from a shortage of manpower. It’s natural because big companies are much better in economi return, but things may change. More applicants might be rushing to us hopefully for creativity and aesthetic in the future.

Photo Credit:

Shungo Ijima

He is travelling around the world. His passion is to explain Japan to the world, from the unique viewpoint accumulated through his career: overseas posting, MBA holder, former official of the Ministry of Finance.