8 Lies You’ve Been Told About Work


by Matt Orfaela   November 23, 2016
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1. “You are lucky to have a job”

We hear it all the time. But there is nothing lucky about spending most of your waking hours doing whatever someone else tells you to. You might be lucky if you really enjoy doing what you are doing (because that is unfortunately rare). But for having a job you hate…like the majority of the population? That is the opposite of lucky: common and unfortunate.

2. “You get paid what you’re worth.”

Human potential is limitless but time is limited. That makes everyone’s time a precious resource. Sadly the pervasive culture does not value human potential…other than the potential to make money. You get paid what you’re worth to your employer, which is often just enough to keep you desperate enough to continue to work for their benefit.

3. “You need a job to be productive.”

Are consultants consulting consultants on how to consult consultants…productive? Probably not. All employment implies is that you are getting a paycheck. Employment does not equal productivity. It is a myth that those who work regular jobs are “productive members of society”. In fact those with the highest paying jobs are often among the most counter-productive members of society. Take for example the rich investment bankers who destroyed the economy, or the oil companies destroying ecosystems.

It’s actually surprisingly common for unemployed to be more productive than your typical paid employee.
A good mother, for example, works nearly 100 hrs a week raising a child. It is among the most demanding and important work there is. The future of society quite literally depends on their work raising the next generations.
It pays nothing. There is no connection between work and productivity; no connection between monetary value and real world value.

4. “Good companies are good employers.”

They hire you to make money for them, not to be your friend. If they can make more replacing you with technology or someone more naïve and financially desperate, they will.

5. “The unemployed are lazy.”

If you’re unemployed that does not mean you’re lazy. Looking and applying for work is hard work. And so is accomplishing anything without the financial and social support of a job. I mean really, who’s less lazy? The unemployed with the self discipline to pursue things on his/her own without oversight or payment? Or the employee who does little else than what they are told to do?

6. “Work is life’s mission.”

“How’s work?” “What do you do [for work]?” are the first things people ask, so naturally we’ve come to believe they are the most important. We are told we have to go to school for 18+ yrs of our lives…to get a job. Not to learn, not to find our passion. Not to question authority, not to add value to society.
We are raised to make money. But there is so much more to live for… those basic human goals, we all too often put aside to for work…like happiness, health, knowledge, love, and progress.

7. “Everyone needs to earn a living.”

This was true when one had to literally work the fields for food to live. That is no longer the case. It used to take 90% of the workforce to feed ourselves. Now it takes only 1.7%.

Income Chart

Of course we still need to work to continue innovation and progress. But we no longer need to work simply to live. For example in the US we throw away 40% of the food we produce and there are 6 vacant homes for each homeless American. We are quite literally living in an age of abundance. But our system of money and workaholic culture keeps us from realizing it.

8. “If you work hard…”

If you worked hard enough in school and got good enough grades it used to mean you’d be able to get a good job — that’s just not true anymore.

There’s a huge shortage of jobs, especially meaningful ones. But there’s still work to be done. Just look around: We have growing income inequality, poverty, and global warming, among other issues.
It will take tremendous amounts of work to fix our problems. It’s just that nobody’s creating sufficient jobs to do the work that needs to be done. Because it’s not profitable. Or at least not as profitable as gambling on the stock market…

Basic Income

I say the best way to get work done is to just give everybody money.

That would give everyone a job to do whatever they want. And most people want to do work that matters. This idea is Unconditional Basic Income, which is being discussed seriously all around the world as a solution to poverty and all the cruel inefficiencies of work.

Check out my previous article: “10 Reasons for Guaranteed Income”.

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About Matt Orfaela 5 Articles
─ He's an independent journalist and media producer based in Washington DC who brings light to issues he feels need to be addressed more often. Follow Him On Facebook Here Sponsor His Independent Work

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