As society gets wealthier and more and more people have their basic needsÃ¢â?¬â??and even many of their desiresÃ¢â?¬â??met, we can expect more job seekers to put more weight into finding a job that offers personal fulfillment. Since money tells only a part (and apparently a shrinking part) of the story, researchers who focus so intently on wages will have a tough time determining whether things are getting better or worse for workers. Even “hours worked” is a rather unreliable measure. According to a Money Magazine/Salary.com survey:
In this overview of telecommuting trends (pdf), I point to other surveys where workers say they prefer perks like flexible schedules to more pay. Sounds like good news, but look at the title of this MSNBC article: Most U.S. Workers Not Living the Dream
OK most workers aren’t living the dream, but what’s more interesting is what the framing of this issue says about our elevated expectations. From a historical perspective the fact even a sizable minority of respondents has a dream job is something that should spur Cruise-like fits of couch-jumping joy. It wasn’t long ago when the vast majority of the workforce toiled away in the fields. The fact that we even think that a job should be more than something that gets us food, clothing and shelter reveals enormous progress.