When we think of ourselves primarily as consumers, we perilously narrow our understanding of what work is for.
For the consumer, work is primarily about getting more. Work generates income, which generates buying power, which generates the mark of success for the consumer – being able to have what you want.
And since there’s always more to want, being in work to fulfil the narrative of the consumer can never, truly, fulfill. We become wide-open gaping mouths, always wanting, never satisfied.
And, in this way, we rob work of so many other life-giving possibilities:
- that it might connect us deeply with people and give us a place to belong
- that it might be a way in which our particular gifts and talents can be marshalled for the benefit of others
- that it could be a deep source of meaningful engagement with life
If we want work to open bigger possibilities for ourselves, our organisations, and our society, it’s time for us to give this a lot more serious thought and attention than we’re currently used to.