Author Topic: Sources of the lack of motivation  (Read 2111 times)

TheDrake

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Sources of the lack of motivation
« on: December 15, 2021, 04:27:35 PM »
I'd like to take a wide view of why workers are unmotivated. Some suggest this is because of laziness coupled with a support system that allows someone to avoid work without starving or becoming homeless. Implied in this is the idea that this demonstrates a character flaw.

How much is due to lack of appreciation, mistreatment, or systemic problems? If the majority of your workers hate going to work, haven't you failed as a leader or manager? Hasn't your organization failed? Why is it that we don't blame them?

Certainly, I'm not suggesting that there aren't people out their fraudulently collecting on disability payments - there are always going to be criminal fraudsters. They may or may not be particularly lazy - it might take a lot of work and skill to game the system and avoid traditional work.

How much might be due to lack of opportunity in a local area? Lack of proper education?

Here's what I see anecdotally in my local area. Several establishments that have a help wanted sign that never comes down. They post excuses talking about how they are short staffed and can't provide good service because "nobody wants to work". Then I go down the street to their competitors, who are fully staffed, don't whine about the availability of people.

We can get some insight from postings in r/antiwork

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I feel like I really just don't care about work anymore. As a standard white collar worker, I was fortunate to have been working from home since the pandemic.

At this point, I do even less than the bare minimum and take my sweet ass time dragging on the most basic of tasks. I don't ask for more work, nor do I show any eagerness or enthusiasm in any meetings or aspects of work. I simply don't care anymore and welcome being fired because I can collect unemployment and find a similiar job and rinse and repeat.

The past while has just showed me how meaningless and frail our system is and the only reason we spin this hamster wheel daily with our "routines" is because it's just how things have been and we are simply conditioned into the acceptance of it all.

I refuse to be some mule that juts up out of bed to hastily brush my teeth and get ready in a panic for morning team calls! I hate all the fakeness and pretenciousness of work culture. I hate the echo chamber of hustle porn degenerancy backed by Linkedin and the media. I hate people pretending that living to work is normal. I hate the disgusting egos people clamour onto themselves simply because of their "title" or importance in a company. Literal agents of the matrix at that point.

I just don't care anymore.

comments section full of people who openly admit milking jobs doing the bare minimum

Many of us are familiar with the film, Office Space, where workers have been abused, exploited, and unhappy to the point of sneaking in late and even stealing from the company. There's certainly character issues in accepting wages and not providing work - or just taking stuff, ripping off inventory or cheating the till.

Why is it that we hear from elected representatives that we need to make sure that everyone is desperate enough to accept terrible terms of employment? Why don't we hear about how business owners need to learn how to motivate and appreciate workers? Instead, we also hear about how we have to force owners to pay higher wages from the progressive side. But that would likely not change the motivation of workers significantly, and they'd just be able to cheat on hours and get unemployment at higher rates also.

Fenring

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Re: Sources of the lack of motivation
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2021, 05:15:00 PM »
This is a big topic, I'll try to respond tomorrow.  But a central question involved is: what is economics?

Grant

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Re: Sources of the lack of motivation
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2021, 03:46:41 PM »
This is something of a modern, first world problem, isn't it?  Or did medieval French peasants hate their jobs and lords more than Peter Gibbons? 

There is very little talk about the value of labor other than the monetary value.  Personally, I blame Karl Marx and the modern socialist legions in partnership with a horribly destitute view of self actualization.     

I mean, I'm reading this quote and it's an existential crisis to me, not a problem with bosses or the system or the government or whatever. 

TheDrake

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Re: Sources of the lack of motivation
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2021, 06:02:10 PM »
Well sure it is an existential crisis, but how poor does your organization have to be for your employees to question the nature of their relationship to the universe, and the meaning of existence itself?

Typically, you are supposed to help employees believe they have value, even if that is an illusion. I'll bet a motivational speaker would do the trick! Or if the budget won't allow for it, maybe pass around an inspiring Ted Talk.

But seriously, even in fast food you can motivate the proletariat in a variety of manipulative ways.

msquared

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Re: Sources of the lack of motivation
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2021, 06:30:21 PM »
Even better the motivational framed poster on the wall exalting the person who climbed to the peak of the mountain all by himself.  (Of course not showing the hundreds of support people, dead and alive, just outside of the shot).

Grant

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Re: Sources of the lack of motivation
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2021, 06:45:00 PM »
But seriously, even in fast food you can motivate the proletariat in a variety of manipulative ways.

Yes.  McDonalds can also spend time teaching how addition and subtraction work, but typically this was something that was taught in elementary education.  The value of work and the secret of happiness may never have been on the curriculum, but it was also something that typically imparted during developmental years. 

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Typically, you are supposed to help employees believe they have value, even if that is an illusion. I'll bet a motivational speaker would do the trick! Or if the budget won't allow for it, maybe pass around an inspiring Ted Talk.

Hmmm.  I think that businesses or careers that do this will definitely be more successful.  Thus it is in their interests to do it.  But I still don't believe that the onus should be on a business.   

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Well sure it is an existential crisis, but how poor does your organization have to be for your employees to question the nature of their relationship to the universe, and the meaning of existence itself?

See, we have a difference in where the responsibility lies.  I think you believe that businesses have a responsibility to give their employee's lives meaning.  I believe that individuals have a responsibility to find meaning in their lives, including in their work. 

Perhaps I have a streak of that 1960s rebellion in me as well, where I don't want corporate America indoctrinating me with TED talks.  Maybe some of these people need it, but for me it was a personal journey aided by family, school, church, friends, and associations. 

I think what these younger people really need is to get out more and make positive connections with good community minded groups.  Before they get recruited by the wackos and cults.  Or before they let McDonalds tell them the meaning of life and the secret of happiness.  I love McDonalds but not sure I trust Ronald McDonald with that kind of responsibility. 

Grant

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Re: Sources of the lack of motivation
« Reply #6 on: December 21, 2021, 06:46:52 PM »
Even better the motivational framed poster on the wall exalting the person who climbed to the peak of the mountain all by himself.  (Of course not showing the hundreds of support people, dead and alive, just outside of the shot).

Lovely how everything eventually turns into a socialist bitching-fest. 

TheDeamon

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Re: Sources of the lack of motivation
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2021, 06:47:02 PM »
This is a big topic, I'll try to respond tomorrow.  But a central question involved is: what is economics?

In this case, I think it goes beyond economics, and starts playing into fundamental human psychology. Although the two certainly interact, after all, if human psychology wasn't a factor, then Communism would truly be the best economic system to use, hands down.

We're not wired that way. Nature itself isn't wired in that way either. Post-industrial society has some rather fundamental problems it has to contend with and find ways to cope with, or its going to get bad. But not because of proles vs the bourgeois. It isn't even strictly a "first world problem," China is getting hit with it rather brutally right now.

Many things in the natural world seek the path of least resistance.

Even in space, the expression of "Nature abhors a vacuum" is simply another extension of "the path of least resistance" as material rendered into a vaporous form simply seeks to move from a region of comparably high pressure/density(high resistance) to regions of lower pressure/density. (When Gravity or other forces aren't providing additional forms of resistance)

Most Carnivores in nature are preferentially sedentary much of the time(conserving energy) and even predominantly scavengers rather than hunter/killers themselves. But carnivores also tend to boast considerable burst strength and/or speed in order to secure their kills once the time comes. Pursuit predators, like our human ancestors, are more of an anomaly only found in animals that operate in groups/packs. But even then, pursuit predation is again another form of (comparative) energy conservation.

The 19th century peasant farmer didn't have any real significant issue ascribing value or significance to their work. They worked the land to generate a crop which was used to either feed humans, or beasts of burden which in turn helped fellow humans perform readily perceptible tasks. They could see the fruits of their labors.

Even well into the 20th century, most workers on an assembly line had tangible things they could point to and say "I did that" in addition to generally being able to see how that widget made a material difference in somebody's life. Because while even into the 1970's the "commoditized society" has already taken form, it hadn't yet achieved the extreme that we've achieved today.

Everything is a commodity today. And more, the commodities being "traded" on the market is highly interchangeable and extremely fungible.

It's also a large part of the problems the Millennials have been trying to cope with, and now the Post-Millennial group is now having to contend with.

What can they do which makes them truly matter in this day and age? (workplace morale)
What skills can they bring to bear on a task that several million other people couldn't likewise do the same or better at? (or could be performed by a robot if the employer had the funds and resources available)
What can they do in their personal life to say they left the world in a better place than they found it in? (Social unrest is a part of this--they want to make a difference)

The list goes on and on, but in an age where your job is viewed as a commodity by your employer, that doesn't help. But even if you have one of the few employers that don't treat you like a commodity, you've now been trained to view your services as being such. It leads to rather fatalistic thinking taking hold.

The other compounding factor on top of this is, ironically enough, the destruction of the family unit. Or rather, the destruction of their ability to form stable family units of their own (rather than falling back on mom and/or dad) in order for them to have a potential "outlet for meaning" to be found there. If nothing else, working to support your spouse and kids is a reason to press on and keep working. But we've largely commoditized relationships too, so that's out the window for much of the younger workforce as well.

So with the realization you're basically a commodity, and the system just wants to grind you down with no real prospects for an escape. Why fight it? Just let go, half-ass your work life, earn just barely enough to get by, and spend the rest of your time trying to find some quick adrenaline hit playing video games or surfing the web online and join some #mobs so you can feel like you're #makingadifference.
« Last Edit: December 21, 2021, 06:53:31 PM by TheDeamon »

Fenring

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Re: Sources of the lack of motivation
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2021, 06:55:50 PM »
In this case, I think it goes beyond economics, and starts playing into fundamental human psychology.

I haven't had a chance to respond to the thread yet, but...what you wrote is economics  :)

TheDeamon

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Re: Sources of the lack of motivation
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2021, 07:11:43 PM »
In this case, I think it goes beyond economics, and starts playing into fundamental human psychology.

I haven't had a chance to respond to the thread yet, but...what you wrote is economics  :)

Yes and no. Economic is predicting group behavior in the aggregate, so psychology does factor in. But the level of Psych involved in this topic moves it out of economics territory for the most part, in my view.

Fenring

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Re: Sources of the lack of motivation
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2021, 09:39:50 PM »
Yes and no. Economic is predicting group behavior in the aggregate, so psychology does factor in. But the level of Psych involved in this topic moves it out of economics territory for the most part, in my view.

Not quite. Economics - the study of economy - is the study of how people apportion their resources and place value. Not a large group of people, mind you, but people. The concept of economy is, strictly speaking, an individual one, and would have been the term used to describe how one governs one's material affairs. It's sort of the co-descriptor to go along with 'husbandry' in terms of the maintenance of one's household and affairs. Naturally when looking at macro trend you need to somehow create quantitative analysis, which tends to look at trends. But the trends it's looking at are the zoomed out view of what individuals are doing, which in turn largely resides in the area of psychology. And most specifically, the psychology of wants and desires, value judgement, and what spurs people to action and what doesn't. It's not all psychology, of course: part of it is ecosystem, part of it is the distribution of natural resources, part of it is system of laws, etc etc. But at the end of the day the dynamic moving parts - the things people want most to solve for - is the knowledge of what people will do, and more importantly, the why of it. And 'why' is not a question that can exist in the macro sphere, because a group of people does not "want" anything, only individuals have wants.

Sorry, I'm still rushed and could only get out this short thing, I'll try to contribute to the thread for real when I can.