In pursuit of a new work culture

I woke up today morning thinking about this. Work, the way modern society has defined it, has changed from what someone had to do to maketheirliving. So in some sense, work has evolved or is in the process of evolving beyond its primitive survival stages. Work today can and should be avenues in which we can fully engage in our creative pursuits.

Jobs quote 1

This in myopinionis going to be among the mostsignificantdifferentiating facets between the previous generation and this generation; our dad’sgenerationand our generation. Work in our dad’s generation wasakinto going to the farms when we were almost entirelydependenton agriculture for our means of food and survival; which by the way was fairly the scenario duringourgranddad’s generation.Itwasn’tnecessarilyfun or interesting to do. Nor did it potentially provide us with a platform that fully leveraged our creativecapabilities and talents as human beings.But it was something we had to do in order to ensure that we had food to eat and keep us healthy.And even those who really enjoyed farming were limited bywhatthey had to do asagainstwhat they really wanted to do with their passion for agriculture.

So yes, our parents were right. Work wasrequiredto provide for need and leisure; for food and entertainment. They key term to understand there being “was”.Not so much in this time and age.Theworld has changed. As a society, we are now entering into an era of surplus and abundance aided to a large extent by the strides made by technology.To cite asimple example, with a YouTube and Chrome (both of which are free) and a 750 INR a month internet connection we have better access toentertainmentand informational contentthan what the best of cable TV channels could have ever offered.And hey, this iseven without considering torrents in the equation! :)

Gangnam youtube

The breadth of content is also limitless.I dont think we would have even known about the awesome Gangnam style song had it not been for YouTube! :)And the best part is that we can watch ourfavoritesong or serial / sitcom when we want and not at theconsensustime that the producer and the advertiser choose for us. No need for an 8am wake up alarm to catch GI Joe on Star TV, 715pm reminder for our 15 minutes of Chithrahaar or an 8pm fight between dad, mom, sister andgrandparentsto decide who gets to watch what. Thechoiceneed not be between stay back at school to play cricket or rush back home to watch Small Wonder and Captain Planet. I loved both, I wanted both. But in an age and time, it was not quite possible to be able to do both. I had to choose one or the otherbutnot both. Not so much in this age. From a society wherecompromisewas the norm we are moving to an era where choiceisgoingto be the norm.

The memory that comes to my mindis that of an aunt of mine. Every evening, she would rush to complete her work and finish her household chores so that she is free by 8pm. Why 8pm? That was the time when the next episode of herfavoriteMallu serial comes on TV. Well, not anymore. What changed? Let me affirm that, to this date, her love for the serial still remains pristine. Whatchangedwas her discovery of the joy that YouTube offers.And she loved it!She learned that the very same episode appears on YouTube within a few minutes after it appears on TV. No ads, no rush to manage your life to anartificiallyimposed time schedule, ability to watch herfavoriteepisodes as many times as she pleases, no more fighting with her son for the remote coupled with the ability to catch up on all those episodes from the days she missed her 8pm deadline.

Jobs quote

We need to start looking at work opportunities as a means to learn and have fun as against just a means to earn. The information age calls for new thought processes, ideals, tools, technology and role models to navigate todays economic landscape. Its time that we start rethinking the definition of work from what one had to do to something one would love to do. And sometimes I wonder whether startup is justthealternate term that we coined to be able to convey precisely this point. Andfortunately, large sections of society today can afford to move to this stage of societal evolution thanks to the foundations in terms of economic and social stability provided to us by the efforts and sacrifices of our earlier generations.Its time that we start rethinking the definition of work from what one had to do to something one would love to do.

  • Prashanth Menon

    great thinking Sijo!!

  • Soumya Radhakrishnan

    Very relevant article! Wanting meaningful work is not a first world problem.