Job Security and Satisfaction Under Siege
“THE right to work” is fundamental to all humans, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, issued by the United Nations. That prerogative, however, is not always guaranteed. Job security is subject to many things—from the health of local economies to the state of the global market. Nevertheless, when employment is lost or threatened, demonstrations, riots, and strikes often follow. Few countries are immune. Even the word “work,” said one writer, “is, as it has always been, an emotionally charged word.”
Work is important to us for many reasons. Besides providing us with income, it contributes to our mental and emotional well-being. Work satisfies the human desire to be a productive member of society and to have a purpose in life. It also engenders within us a measure of self-respect. Hence, even some who have more than enough money to care for their needs or who are eligible for retirement prefer to continue working. Yes, work is so important that the lack of it usually invites serious social problems.
On the other hand, there are those who have a job but face so many pressures at work that they lose their job satisfaction. For instance, because of today’s highly competitive market, an increasing number of companies have trimmed their staff in order to cut expenses. This may place additional demands on the remaining employees, who may thus have to carry an extra load.
Modern technology, which is supposed to make life easier and work more efficient, may have added to the pressures in the workplace. For example, computers, fax machines, and the Internet allow people the option of taking their work home at day’s end, thus blurring the line between home and office. One worker felt that his company pager and cell phone were like an invisible leash, with his boss at the other end.
A growing fear that many older people have in our rapidly changing economic and work environment is that of being viewed as obsolete before their time. In this regard, former Human Rights Commissioner Chris Sidoti stated: “There seem to be stereotypes that unless you are under 40, you’re not going to cope with computers and new technology.” Hence, many good workers who would previously have been viewed as being in the prime of life are nowadays deemed too old to be useful. What a tragedy!
Understandably, the work ethic and loyalty to the company have taken a battering in recent years. “When corporations throw people overboard at the slightest blip of the stock market, corporate loyalty becomes a thing of the past,” says the French magazine Libération. “You have to work, of course, but for yourself, not for the company.”
In spite of these mounting problems, the basic human need to work continues. So in our rapidly changing times, how can one cultivate a balanced view of secular work and, at the same time, maintain a sense of security and job satisfaction?
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Modern technology may have added to the pressures in the workplace