The Lie of Work: Disrupting the 9 to 5 Paradigm & Creating Meaningful Work
“85% of employees are disengaged at their jobs.”
By Guest Writer: Alice Soon
Is the world of work broken? In multiple studies, including a ground-breaking report from Gallup, this stat clearly proves there is something seriously wrong with our current workplace culture. Why is it “normal” to expect to be tired and stressed, working 8 hours a day or more, spending hours commuting, all for the pleasure of expecting a paycheck?
Imagine, the typical workday: Your alarm goes off at 6:30 a.m. You never get up the first time, so you let the alarm whine at you a few more times until you kill the snooze button. You curse silently to yourself, until you finally stumble into your bathroom, brush your teeth, get dressed, chug some sort of caffeine infusion to wake you up, only to start your hour-long (or longer!) commute into work. Does this sound like the stuff dreams are made of?
Unfortunately, the current work paradigm still revolves around “fear-based” leadership and politics, all with the primary focus on profit. Employee engagement has been at alarmingly low levels, even as low as 13% for a decade. Companies can do all the lip-service they want through their human resources department, annual employee surveys or inclusion programs, but the numbers don’t lie: more than three-quarters of the working population dislikes their job. Even worse, this could signal that your employees are not ultimately being productive or serving your customers to the best of their abilities – in the long term, this will affect the reputation and longevity of your company. Globally, it has serious implications for why GDP per capita or productivity, has been in general decline for decades.
Why have we accepted this lie that in order to work, we must exchange our energy, our soul for a paycheck, while having little or no time/flexibility for the things we care about? Why must we be held to certain work hours in the day, squeezing all of our hobbies, groceries, appointments, family time and social time into the weekend or late evenings?
We see the rise of over-stressed, anxious employees, facing physical and mental health problems, all while forcing themselves into a corporate work paradigm that doesn’t serve them anymore. According to Gallup, this means “Human Development is Failing Too”. By all accounts, it seems we have hit an employee engagement crisis. With so much at stake, we need a massive overhaul and retraining of our entire workplace culture.
So what is the answer? Do we just throw in the towel and succumb to “the man”?
In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on entrepreneurship and side hustles. While this can be a good option for some, not everybody is cut out for entrepreneurship – you need an innate ability to work with high risk and little structure at the beginning, not to mention thick skin for overcoming obstacles. There is also the F.I.R.E. movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early), but not everyone is able to save large portions of their income (up to 70%!), to fast track their retirement. And even if you do reach financial independence, then what? You can’t just expect to waste away on a beach, sipping Mai-Tai’s for the next 20 to 30 years. Most people enjoy doing some type of work, but that work needs to be meaningful, not just a means to an end. They also want to be a part of a collaborative and contributing community, not to work and produce income just for money’s sake – They are asking: What is the greater good of the collective and how can I make a difference?
What people want in their jobs or their life is not just a monetary exchange, but a sense of meaning and purpose. While the solutions are not simple, it is the drive to create something better for the world that fuels this urgency to redefine “work” and how it can benefit the individual and the global community.
Fortunately, there are groups of people awakening to this challenge and rather than just resigning themselves our current reality, they want to change it. Resonance is one organization who is bringing together top talent from around the world to offer solutions to solve the employee engagement crisis.
Imagine a corporate work program that rewards employees by letting them work in a tropical setting, enjoying nature while networking with like-minded and diverse individuals. Productivity can skyrocket when employees feel rewarded and appreciated.
Performing work, not just as utilization of skills, but as a method to increase our knowledge, share our gifts, and live in tandem with Mother Earth is the ultimate job description. Imagine going to work where it’s standard practice to offer daily meditation and exercise programs, to enrol in developmental courses such as permaculture, language or entrepreneurship which allows you to up-level your skills – work that feeds the mind, body and soul. A place where we give and receive our own unique talents, whether that is bookkeeping, marketing, design or engineering. A place where we feel nourished and excited about our work.
Resonance offers solutions such as a Work Exchange program (work 4 hours per day in exchange to stay in a fully furnished villa in Costa Rica), Coworking facilities to bounce ideas and be inspired by like-minded individuals, as well as special retreats such as Spanish Immersion or Re-Defining Corporate Leadership for executives.
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In order to solve our problems, we must have the courage to think outside the norm, to invite and welcome a new way of doing work as we know it. To create a structure and framework that allows you truly to be engaged and fulfilled by what you do and how you do it.
Imagine how your life would change if you could jump out of bed each morning, knowing you were contributing to improving the Earth – helping to solve the climate crisis, building communities and permaculture gardens, raising your consciousness through regular meditation practice and feeling a greater connection to the Divine. In essence, you are your work and your work is you – there is no separation. You can arrive each and every day, hungry to work, knowing you are creating a new vision of what it means to take part in an enlightened world.
We can do it. It is possible. Let’s build a better world – together.
ALICE SOON: Alice is a writer, shamanic practitioner and soul-inspired entrepreneur. She believes we are here to assist with the awakening of the Planet and help bring balance to Mother Earth once again. She divides her time between Canada and Costa Rica. Connect with her on Twitter @AliceSoon1.