We started our High School years with a lesson on Utopias and ended them examining different ways that we can impact the betterment of society by doing senior projects. At the time I didn’t see the correlation between these two things. We were supposed to come away with this line of reasoning; imagine what the perfect world would be like, realize that it will not be like that, but still work towards an approximation of this idealization. If you go about life by letting the chips fall where they may our capitalist society will prevent this planned semi-Utopia from happening. If you don’t prioritize your life someone else will after all. Neither the corporations that employees work for or the consumers who buy from them are calibrated for the best use of our work hours. When I did a web-search for the terms Utopia and Capitalism I couldn’t believe how many results came up! My assumption would have been that people just accept their current job as necessary. They would simply be willing to justify the ones that are only about generating capital. That whatever the means of paying for your basic needs is the definitive and full reason for working.
What was great about the High School running the Senior Project was that they had to sign off what the senior project was before you could become accredited for it. This meant that profit driven ventures not only were unlikely to get by, they couldn’t. When people wanted me to use a church project for this assignment it was turned down by the school. This was because of course a church, especially in America, is a business. That is the problem with schools that are run with a religious bend. If a faith is at the center of an education how will the student break out of the monetary business focused goals that are guiding the topics they pick? What happens to the areas outside of this narrow focus that they may find meaningful and will ultimately play a role in deciding what they do with their life?
This article by The School of Life makes a case for the term misemployment. This is work that fails to tackle any true needs of people. It even makes the curious statement that “In the Utopia, we’d work for companies we’d be proud to live and die for.” Employees want to know that in the back of their minds that they contribute to the common good. That even in a modest way they are making a difference. I am not sure about the author's assessment that what CEO's in giant corporations are really after is just honor. They're collecting large sums of money is just the way that one achieves the highest degree of honor in a business. If only they could get the same honor that a solider does they would be willing to risk the equivalent as dying on a field for little pay. I am not one for throwing around terms like human nature much but the idea that just giving the leader of a business a medal and they will suddenly start working for the better good just seems too naive from what I generally observe. Those that made these fortunes didn't get there through by being mindful of the concerns of all of society, just the opposite.
Many have already had praise bestowed on them while using their charities as holding places for their fortunes and paying out very little to who they said they would. I am just very doubtful that these same people would concern themselves with misemployment. I hope to be wrong can't help having the feeling that any waste of time activity could be justified by showing how much it brings in on the balance sheet. We see this with the biggest tech companies who trap high value employees doing worthless jobs just to keep them from potentially going to a competing business. A total waste of their talent and the broader value they bring to society.
On the next page I talk about my personal journey towards fulfillment. By zooming down to the individual we can get an idea how each person can revolutionize parts of their life considering perhaps where they are falling short. To further look into this topic I recommend this good epistemology talk on how intangibles, compared to data or fiscal driven results, can be what some value the most as their life's purpose. This other SE talk is with a man who considers the possibility that he has an addiction to materialism. He seems to be split between what he really values in life. This may be the first time he has thought deeply about it.