It's not just about the job but the workplace

This week, there was an article on the Toronto Metro News–(More Money More Problems–about how Canadians are more interested in leading a fulfilling life than in making lots of money, meaning: the focus has changed from having a great career working long hours in exchange for monetary compensation.

Reports are starting to arise showing us that when members of the Generation Y reach the workplace there is a big cultural shock with old values present in the corporate world. They aim to change their jobs to fit their lives instead of adapting their lives to the workplace. The focus moved from having a high-paying job to having a better work experience with more free-time and more creative tasks.

Nowadays, most companies still have their values based on principles forged on the Industrial Age and some of them do not make sense anymore. For instance, there was a time when most employees had to be at their workplace from 9 to 5 to do get their jobs done, nowadays we have telecommuting and communication tools that allows to work without being physically present in the office, even more, sometimes there is no need for everyone to be at the office at the same time, workers can have flexible hours.

With USA as the leader, the social model in the western civilization is still centralized around the idolatry of work, the market and competition. However, as the Italian Sociologist, Domenico DeMasi predicted almost ten years ago, a new model is emerging. DeMasi called this new model Creative Idleness and stated that, in the future, successful workplaces will give their employees tasks that will involve working, learning and leisure time all at once.

A few companies are already there, like Google, where their employees are allowed to work 20% of their time on a personal project, which sometimes ends up as being one of the tools promoted by Google. However, to most companies it will take a long time until they adopt a new culture. We will start noticing changes in a few years when this new generation of workers start to assume key positions inside their companies.

Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs—-recently named CEO of the Decade by Fortune magazine and chosen the most admired entrepreneur by American teenagers—-advice to Stanford’s graduates, when addressing them in their commencement speech in 2005, summarizes the importance of finding a work you love as if you were looking for a companion and not giving up on the quest. In his inspiring speech he said, “[…] you’ve got to find what you love and that is as true for work as it is for your lovers. Your work is gonna fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work and the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle.