Meaningful work and wage justice

Most of us spend a lot of time working. Some of us are lucky enough to spend that time doing things we love.

A lot of us are looking for meaning through our work or are on a quest for meaningful work.

Is this quest a dream? Perhaps.

One of our common reasons for working is to earn the money to pay the bills that come with modern living. That leads us into thinking that we’re working just for the money.

On one level, that gives our work a meaning – survival. But when we work for survival we’re open to exploitation. We don’t stand up for our rights in the face of wage injustice because we need the money; we can’t afford to lose our jobs. We let employers earning hundreds or thousands of dollars an hour from our labour pay us less than ten dollars an hour. I don’t think survival makes the cut for creating meaningful work.

I suspect we need to see what we are doing as being of service to feel that we are doing meaningful work. We need to believe that we are making a contribution to the community in which we live. When we can see our work that way, then any task can become meaningful work.

Finding meaning in our work may help us get through the day, but it does not guarantee wage justice.

I’m in New York, where I’ve been listening to the commentary on the presidential primaries. The pundits are starting to understand that Donald Trump is tapping into the anger and fears of the American working class – the very people experiencing wage injustice in the wealthiest nation on earth.

New York Skyline courtesy of Death to Stock
New York Skyline courtesy of Death to Stock

Should be an interesting few months leading up to November.


IMG_0156Peter Mulraney is a creative writer from Australia. He is the author of the Inspector West crime series, the Living Alone series of self-help books for men, and Sharing the Journey: Reflections of a Reluctant Mystic. He has also published colouring books and journals under the Sharing the Journey banner.

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