Forget Purpose, Paychecks are Enough Motivation for Workers

In our grim economy, it's meaningful enough just to have a job.


Is the search for meaning at work suddenly meaningless? So says Lucy Kellaway. The FT columnist notes that executives who once clamored for purpose and passion and meaning in their work are now content with paychecks big enough to cover the bills. This isn't so bad, she insists:

Low expectations have an awful lot to be said for them. In surveys women turn out to be more satisfied at work than men, in spite of earning less for the same jobs and doing most of the work at home too. The reason is simple: women’s expectations of working life are lower. Similarly, Denmark is the happiest country in the world in spite of having a cold, dark climate and a top tax rate of 68 per cent. The stoical Danes do not expect so much of life and, expecting less, find what little they have rather nice.


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