Flexibility or Meaning?

by Dwayne Phillips

“Everyone” wants flexibility in their job (work from home when I want). How many of us want “meaning” in our job?

“I can do this job from anywhere at almost anytime of day or night.”

That statement is immediately followed by the question, “So why do you want me here from 9 to 5 Monday through Friday?”

If the statement is true, the question is an excellent one that probably does not have an excellent answer. If I can do the tasks from anywhere at anytime (as long as I meet the deadline), what is this office building attendance?

Okay, let’s back up a bit. If I can do the job anywhere anytime, how many other people can do the job? If someone has a basic mastery of the English language, they can do the job as well as me. If they live in a relatively low-cost-of-living place on earth, they can do my job at a much lower salary than me. They have the job. I am unemployed.

Wait a minute, how did we go from, “I want flexibility” to “I am unemployed?” The answer is, “simply and quickly.”

Okay, let’s back up a bit. Flexible jobs bring a high risk of unemployment. Sorry folks.

Let’s move to another type of job; a job that is full of meaning. Meaningful jobs may not be so flexible. They may require more brains than I alone have. That means several people in the same place at the same time to combine brains and solve problems that are too difficult for me. The result is much more meaningful than the jobs that can be done anywhere, anytime, (by just about anyone).

ZoomerTeamz meeting? They are sometimes inefficient. I don’t have a home computer with a 99-inch touch screen that links to the 99-inch touch screens of the other persons on the team. We are not all drinking the same coffee, breathing the same air, feeling the same carpet under our feet, sitting in the same chairs, and so on. We are a fake team; not a real team. We are probably not doing meaningful work on ZoomerTeamz.

Sigh. Flexibility or meaning? Why do we have to answer these questions?

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Dwayne Phillips

Engineer, computing, consulting, writing, teaching, and a few other things in an effort to make us all better and smarter.