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By Thomas Gordon, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

We have heard lately about bringing jobs back to depressed areas.  However, there is a huge difference between having a job and working.

A job is something that you endure to feed the family and to keep the wolf from the door.  So many people have ‘jobs’ and, consequently, are often miserable.  The ‘job’ does not give their life any meaning and, considering that most people spend a great many years in a job, it probably means that when they reflect upon their lives they are dissatisfied.  That intrinsic dis-satisfaction is a major contributor to employee mistakes and turnover.  Studies have shown that the real cost of employee turnover is between 3 and 5 times someone’s annual salary.  A real problem for industry, especially as a perennial complaint is that people today have a poor work ethic.

What can be done?  The Benedictines have a motto, “laborare orare est” – to work is to pray.  Although our work life should not define who we are – the Existentialist call this ‘bad faith’ – it is important for intrinsic motivation that the work we do has a meaning. The huge question, of course, is about what gives our lives meaning – an important part surely is the work that we do, not the job that we clock-on to every day.   Meaningful work enhances self-respect; mind- numbing jobs simply cause stress.

I contend that the primary role of executive management is to ensure that employees have work and not ‘jobs’.