To write this essay, I mixed the main findings of the written text and included some additional referrals with my very own opinion. I believe that the text desires us to reflect on this question: does work allow contentment?
In our contemporary society, and especially for someone like me who's starting my professional career, I think it is another question, a questionable theme very interesting to discuss, that has become a real argument nowadays.
Happiness is "a state of totally satisfied consciousness". It's a state of head that depends on how it is interpreted. Pleasure may also be defined as the experience of repeated positive have an impact on, infrequent negative influence and a standard sense of satisfaction with life as a whole (Myers & Diener, 1995).
In recent years, there has been a trend to measure pleasure due to thoughts of those who don't feel more happy despite of a rise in prosperity and of the increasing importance directed at standard of living, hence the idea of ecological development for example.
Happiness is not only being happy: as Aristotle had written, "A swallow will not a make a planting season, nor one single day" ( une hirondelle ne fait pas le printemps, ni non plus un seul jour »).
This key phrase became proverbial, meaning that happiness is not the affair of an instant; it must really go on over time if it's true. The ambition of the great schools of old-fashioned philosophy is to allow men to attain happy lives: the seek out lasting enjoyment is the goal of this part of philosophy called ethics.
Aristotle as well as the Epicureans and the Stoics agree on this point: only a just and upright life can provide us access to true happiness, that is to say durable, long-lasting enjoyment. For the Epicureans, if pleasure is vital to contentment, some desires bring more disorders than festivities: they need to be reserve, and we have to content ourselves with natural and necessary needs, because they are way to obtain pleasure and easy to satisfy. For the Stoics, happiness cannot be lasting if it depends on external circumstances: "I must discipline my will to learn to only depend on me, because my pleasure cannot be left with the whims of the fortune".
2. About Work
Due to its etymology ("tripalium" meaning in Latin "torture trestel"), the idea of work is already inconsistent, contradictory with the thought of happiness.
While in antiquity and in a culture of requests work was unlike social prestige, job is nowadays a discriminating component. Indeed, we see showing in the society a social category of "working poors" and many "precarious jobs".
From then on, become central constituent factor of both lifestyle and quality lifestyle, work looks today much less a "Garden of Eden" but more as a way to obtain issues, concerns, and gloom.
In fact, delight and work do not appear to be suitable.
3. Work and Happiness
Happiness is determined by work
According to the comparative index of delight, work is one of the main factors that effect happiness. Manage to survive isolate one from the other. This notion of work rises through the tasks we implement, of course, but also in the relationships we have with fellow workers, in the recognition that people obtain from our workplace, in our level of empowerment and in the valuation destined to the actual fact of learning and discovering.
In addition, in a French review posted in 2003 "work to be happy?" ( travailler pour tre heureux? »), it appears that a quarter of the French respondents emphasize that work constitutes alone an essential part of delight.
If 25 % of the French states that individual contentment directly depends on work, it unveils not only the importance of work as a major source of meaning of the conceptions of happiness, but also the wide variety of professional situations.
This can be known as far as work is thought by men as a source, multifaceted, essential, of delight. On this sense, without work, unemployed men cannot become familiar with happiness. Indeed, the experience is today privileged and highly valued in the financial and public life. France, which has a relatively high unemployment rate in comparison to its European friends and neighbors such as Germany, regularly sets in place specific economic insurance policies aimed straight at lowering the unemployment rate. In our culture, the professional activity is valued because it provides reputable resources (riches, social position, salary, etc. )
In addition, we can only stress the omnipotence of work. The profession shows up in this point of view as a required condition for happiness because it makes for a whole selection of individuals needs.
Happiness can be suitable to work to the extent that a beneficial activity can even be a creative activity, a successful activity, especially way to obtain satisfaction of multiple needs.
Abraham Maslow shows in his pyramid theory of needs that men must fulfill first their physiological needs, then their safeness needs (i. e. earn money to meet their basic needs, in other words, food, property. . . ) before considering other needs more comprehensive as sense of owed, esteem from others, self-esteem etc. . But it is specifically through the professional activity that men will be able to meet their first needs, vital to delight.
For nearly all personnel, working is a condition of their delight and their job is an irreplaceable source of income and social inclusion. Indeed, for some employees, the organization is not only a office, but a real social organization, where they really can "socialize" with others.
As a matter of fact, with the current economy, for some it is a genuine "luck" to truly have a job to have the ability to live (enclosure, food. . . ), which work can make them happy!
In addition, a personal development, a self-fulfillment is done by dealing with the satisfaction obtained following the effort. To demonstrate this, we can cite people who do a thankless job, but who follow an ideal, and whom it makes happy! For instance Mother Theresa performed in the garbage dumps to look after the turned down, unloved, and neglected people and was happy to help them even if the environment was dreadful.
I feel that happiness at work is different for everyone, for some people, happiness will reside in the social side provided by the activity, for others it will be having the ability to travel, for other it will be obtaining a large pay etc. . .
In addition, many people will say that if you want what we do, you have better results.
Having happy employees could possibly be the key to business success.
During my internship, I've pointed out that employees who appeared happy were more team-players, were more focused, more proactive and squandered less time and resources. Indeed, if we take the example of a salesman, if he looks happy and satisfied, he will transmit his excitement, he'll probably encourage more easily customers to buy, his sales increase, his performance and efficiency will take part to a output increase and the company will benefit directly from it! In essence, having happy, satisfied and loyal employees will bring happy, satisfied and devoted customers! And happy, satisfied and faithful customers provides higher income! The motivation to reach our objectives raises with professional fulfillment. It also stimulates and induces creativity and creativity.
I think if that if we are actually happy, were then 100% invested in what we undertake, and we may also go beyond what is expected of us. Then starts a virtuous circle because the company, pleased with the employee's results, will give him or her more autonomy and responsibility, that may boost the worker's satisfaction.
In addition, I feel that in general, when we're happy, when we see life in red, we go through the future in a more positive way, and hurdles show up less insurmountable.
According to the hierarchy particularly, if an employee is successful, he will be easily awarded better positions, more obligations and higher earnings which will take part to increase his delight.
Achieve contentment and satisfaction of its employees is a real challenge for an organization. But it is absolutely beneficial since it helps decrease staff turnover and absenteeism anticipated to disease or overwork, through better energy management and health. Negative stress is transformed into positive stress.
I lately read a real website link was established between being happy at the job and health.
We can cite the exemplory case of management in the company Google. For me, the business has integrated many policies to attain well-being and satisfaction of its employees. For instance, employees can enjoy benefits such as free haircuts, sports activities facilities (gyms, swimming pools. . . ), laundry services, medical employees on the work environment, entertainment rooms (billiards, babyfoots, video gaming. . . ), enjoy massages and so on I think that's part of why Yahoo is placed number 1 1 of the 100 best companies to be employed by in 2012 by the journal "Fortune".
I think it is important to point out the important host to labor relationships for joy. Empathy has a visible place.
- Friends beyond work, who become friends in the standard way
- Friends at work, whom we only see at the job, for example, during breaks or lunchtime time
- The friendly relations at work, people with whom we don't have a break or lunch time with
- Labor relations only, that is to say those that we avoid
But in deeper associations, two types of patterns are favored; on the main one hand assistance and on the other hands, jokes and gossip. It was found that these two ways of behaving promote job satisfaction, help decrease the impact of stress on health, and reduce the psychosomatic effects.
We know now that health is a driving a vehicle power in self-realization, in self-fulfillment, in the quest for enjoyment. Thus, good working human relationships facilitate the achievement of personal pleasure. It is for this reason that the workplace must be sure that the working environment is positive. That is for example why numerous team building activities were developed these modern times. In my own view, the popularity by colleagues and superiors of the attained work is vital.
An even more important relationship is the main one between an employee and his supervisor. In order for the employee to be satisfied in his work and therefore allow beginning a door to his general pleasure in life, the immediate supervisor must show a whole lot of concern and well-being. He must also take care not to be too prescriptive but suggestive, not imposing a way to do things but imposing goals for samples. The supervisor should give feedback, recognize successes, offer new troubles and especially show justice and fairness. I also think that a good manager is a supportive supervisor. To be happy at work, it is important for employees to work within an environment that's not hostile but vibrant and fair. Quite simply, we could say that even if the hierarchy must continue to be, hierarchical obstacles must fall season.
Moreover, we can emphasize that various intellectual traditions held pondering work, not only as a location of possible alienation (Marxist traditions), but also in a far more modern way, as a place for account, belonging, and identity creation.
Indeed, if work is often seen as a painful constraint, it is nevertheless a way by which men overcome characteristics and overcome their flexibility and humanity. This is exactly what Hegel shows "by instructing me to hold off the satisfaction of my needs, working requires me to discipline myself" ( en m'apprenant retarder le moment in time de la satisfaction de mes dsirs, le travail m'oblige me discipliner »).
Through your time and effort, men gradually get better at themselves: they free themselves from the type (their instincts) by transforming the nature out of them. Work is thus needed in another sense: without it, men cannot realize their mankind.
Work should not be considered in the horizon of success: by their work, men cultivate and humanize aspect (Marx) and educate themselves.
This is this is of Hegel's dialectic of the grasp and the slave, the grasp, that is to say, the main one who enjoys the task of others without doing anything along with his ten fingers, is finally the real slave, and the slave who discovered to discipline himself and to patiently acquire knowledge becomes master of himself and of the nature. Although it was an undergone constraint and the tag of slavery, work becomes the generating element of our own liberation as it allows the realization of ourselves. Thus, work is seen as a liberating or emancipating activity.
But work also has a more specific educating value: work is a way to obtain education relating to Kant. Indeed, as Rousseau explained, work involves effort, perseverance, consistency, qualities that are opposed to our natural propensity to inertia.
Working is educational as it demonstrates to us to not in favor of our natural inclination to passivity and simplicity. In ways working does violence to our dynamics: work also educates us to understand ourselves.
If work can take such a central place inside our lives, it nonetheless also figures our very own representations of contentment. Thus, we must also understand the sense in which 75% of French respondents in the review "work and happiness" think work is not in itself an integral part of happiness.
Happiness doesn't depend on work
If professional activity is definitely not a fundamental element of individual happiness, for the reason that happiness can come from other sources. Also, if some ethics consider work can make people happy, various other ethics imagine non-work constitutes a way to be happy.
In other words, it is primarily the kind of profession that will determine whether a person is happy or not. Sweetened and idealized images of the self-made man or of the businessman visiting have to handle those darker images of the warehouseman or of the unpacker employee subjected to difficult schedules. Thus, a lot of people place their work in the heart of their joy, but others point out the ideas of "health", "family", "friends".
Within the sociological study "Happiness and Work" ( Bonheur et Travail ») aimed by Religious Baudelot and which resulted in the reserve "Work to be happy" ( Travailler pour tre heureux »), it's been shown that the reference to work is unequal from one sociable group to some other. Actually, 43% of staff, but only 27% of business market leaders, executives and self-employed pointed out it. Hence, it is a obvious paradox: the evidently less valued professions (such as blue-collar individuals), imagine work is an excellent source of joy than more socially suitable occupations such as managers and higher intellectual occupations (who believe that work is a less important source of contentment).
A film like "RECRUITING" from Laurent Cantet in 1999 ( Ressources humaines »), which explains the entrance of a adult in to the Human Resources Path service of his father's company, shows the dichotomy of the business and sociable world and features the different connections to work.
For the father, work is the backbone of an eternity; for the son, work is a means where it seeks its identity. Furthermore we can identify the "white collars", whose occupation is a way to carry out a good life from the company (family, friends, outings, vacations, leisure), and the "blue collars", like the father of the young hero, who, once went back from the manufacturer in the evening, carries on for his pleasure to work on parts.
In this reasoning, we can presume that for many workers, happiness depends upon other things regarded more important than work.
We can also note that work is sometimes thought, certainly in a far more marginal way, as antithetical to pleasure. This is particularly the case when the activity involved is suffered, undergone because of it is hard, arduous, precarious or not remunerative enough.
It can be translated more concretely by the introduction and execution of alternative life styles, refusing work, as explained in the movie directed by Pierre Carles in 2003 "Attention risk work" ( Attention risk travail »).
It is important to spotlight that many workers highlight a certain job insecurity scheduled to structural changes and to the desire of companies to increase flexibility.
Also, the first occupations to come in contact with the major recent innovations of capitalism (the finish of considerable industrialization and the development of the tertiary sector), have been either removed or substituted (we can think for example of minors or metal workers in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais).
Nowadays, these trends, prolonged and emphasized by growing financialization of economies and increased power to shareholders, thus bring some professionals in specific areas of the industry in situations where in fact the sense of fragility and precariousness outweighs safe practices.
Outsourcing and relocation waves to conquer new market segments and produce at a cheaper labor cost, have just lately crystallized in France this deep fear of workers for his or her personal future. To sum up, we can that that due to severe downturn of today's current economic climate, a big majority of employees are apprehensive about the security of these positions and this contributes to higher degrees of self-doubt and turmoil into the place of work.
Considering in this perspective that a precarious career couldn't be constitutive of delight in the long term, we can recognize that so few French respondents said they were happy with their work because their work is no longer their predominant value.
The working time reduction, the emergence of any leisure society, and the omnipresence of ingestion business lead the professional activity to become an incidental or accessory occupation.
At the same time, authors like Dominique Meda along with his publication "Work, an endangered value" ( Le travail, une valeur en voie de disparition ») or Andr Gorz along with his reserve "Work metamorphoses, seek out meaning" ( Mtamorphoses du travail, qute du sens ») show that the present day work is not necessarily at the heart of concerns.
On one hands, for Dominique Meda, work in modern European societies requires individuals to make long lasting alternatives and tradeoffs between professional life and family life. On another hands, for Andr Gorz, any activity that seeks to reduce its working time cannot at same time boast or glorify work as a way to obtain personal fulfillment.
In short, hence, it is clear with both of these authors that specialized and technological progress can make work turn into a mere point in time, often restrictive and constraining, of life.
In addition, professions where hardness and physical or mental initiatives to produce are numerous can logically less donate to happiness, compared to other more fulfilling occupations. Also, those jobs where pay and salaries are extremely low cannot actively contribute to contentment.
Moreover, it would be interesting to learn whether the occupations traditionally favored, envied and appreciated are actually those where pleasure is possible, at the job, and out of work.
It is interesting to notice that managers, for example, is the vocation where people say they are most subjected to a significant nervous tension, rather than personnel, for example. We are able to cite as an example that the year 2012 saw the best quantity of "burn-outs". Furthermore, new studies show that such stress at the job is as dangerous for medical and the well-being of an individual as smoking.
Similarly, because the professions with high duties are absorbing and time consuming, the life span out-work may also be disturbed which questions and threatens the overall equilibrium of life. Managers are more likely than personnel to record that their job inhibits them from exercising other activities. They are actually subject to a issue: to invest in their occupation to climb the public ladder and eventually "earn more", or focus on areas outside work to discover a personal tranquility.
Suffering at work (mental pressure, for example) is thus not only the prerogative of occupations usually less valued like blue-collar personnel. In addition, examples of repeating depression and suicides at work (for example in France Tlcom in 2008) are regardless symptomatic of a doubt about the ability of work to make us happy. Before couple of years, large companies such as IBM have created within their organizations positions of "Well-being Director" or "Happiness Director". As a matter of fact, the question of delight at work is today no longer immediately obvious; it is not a certainty any longer for more and more workers, employees or internet marketers.
In the same selection of ideas, we can point out that Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello have in their book "The brand new spirit of capitalism" ( Le nouvel esprit du capitalisme ») also shown how capitalism has were able to assimilate all the external ideological reviews and has included them in its means of doing.
The liberation of the personal creativities, the manifestation of everyone's contentment in the company can, in fact, become a daily burden. If the modern managerial discourse laid the mysteries of employees' joy, the practice of happy work has turned into a actuality often illusory.
I believe we can say that the 25% of French people who responded favorably to the question of whether their work constitute alone a part of happiness can be viewed as "privileged. "
On the one hand, work has turned into a major way to obtain self-fulfillment as a disorder to meet our needs, but it keeps the possibility to submit, use, coerce, through individuals traditional subjugation for specific tasks, such as through managerial techniques aiming at abnormal responsibility: to ensure not only the competence, the knowledge, but also the know-how and the skills.
On the other palm, work was subjected in every its aspects, sizes and possibilities to serious and deep changes that contain made it more difficult to achieve contentment. In ways, the work reinventing itself in the modern day period, it is all traditional conceptions of delight that may be challenged.
It is finally through a rational individual arbitration between working time and leisure time, made possible with a harmonious marriage with one's business, which could be found the foundation of any possible fulfillment through work.
Some retired or inactive people, seek to continue working rather than stop. In fact, they highlight the value work takes in our world. It allows standing up in life, deserving, dignified and proud of our human being condition.
Therefore, maybe should we question the economic policies of career nowadays in France because they don't sufficiently take into account the importance of are a way to obtain personal fulfillment and not simply as a source of income?
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