There’s a love/hate relationship with work in the personal finance culture. Working usually improves your finances, but there are an awful lot of people who like the idea of financial independence. There’s the whole ‘find the work you love’ meme, and a smidgen of Calvinist thinking which I’ve railed on at before.
So it pleases me to bring you the results of a couple of researchers at the LSE, who were using the results of an app called Mappiness to see how people’s happiness correlated with various factors. One of which was working.
Guess what I can reveal about the results? By all means go and read it, but basically it says
Work pisses you off, and you are less happy while you’re doing it
Well, I’ll be damned. Who’d have thunk it? What happened to the increased leisure time they promised me at school? Why are we building a society where we keep doing this to ourselves –
Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.
Tyler Durden, Fight Club
Now that science has shown us that work pisses people off, we will re-engineer society so we have a 20-hour week but earn half the money? I guess not, there’s only so far you can go with evidence-based policy making, and that’s where the hard edge of evidence rubs up against the soft gloopy squidginess of values and judgement calls and who gets to call the shots 😉