Rethinking Work Ethic For The Age Of Convergence

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Rethinking Work Ethic for the Age of Convergence

Work sucks. These words serve as the tagline from the American cult classic Office Space, a 1999 film that satirizes the everyday office life of a group of white-collar cubicle dwellers. Likewise for many folks off-screen, work can feel monotonous and meaningless at times. Gallup found that on average in 2015, only 32 percent of U.S. workers felt actively engaged in their jobs (i.e., emotionally invested and focused on creating value for their organizations), while 51 percent were not engaged and the rest felt actively disengaged from their jobs.
Yet work remains the dominant feature of modern industrial capitalism, and arguably lends meaning and structure to our lives. Across the globe, work ethic is deeply engrained in our consciousness and employment is viewed as a social, economic, and moral obligation. Particularly in the hyper-individualism of the United States, we have perpetuated the myth of the American Dream, the promise that hard work and determination alone fuel the escalator to success. The primacy of work in society is embodied in the inevitable American small-talk cliché “What do you do?” and in Benjamin Franklin’s timeworn aphorisms such as “time is money.” Even children are indoctrinated through the question of what they “want to be when they grow up”; from parenting magazines to the TV show Modern Family, we see stereotypical helicopter parents shuttling their offspring from one productive activity to
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