Someone might say: "Why should I care, it's just a job for God's sake?"
Exactly. From my experience, by saying "just a job" most people mean that:
I) they go to their job, do their stuff and get out
II) they don't think of their job as anything special
Let's delve deeper into the meaning of "just a job" from a couple of viewpoints
1. The company viewpoint
Those people with "just jobs" aren't really effective. They do what is required, but don't really put their minds into it, meaning that their potential for development is rather limited. For the company this naturally means less profit in the future. So, clearly for the company that kind of people aren't a very wise investment.
2. The employee viewpoint
So what is happening here is the exchange of time for money. You're trading in time, and getting out money, and very little else. You might make some occasional friend at work but that's about it. No rush of adrenaline, no highs and lows. Just the same old job. Day after day, week after week...really starts to wear you down, doesn't it? Nothing ever changes, it's all the same. You go on holiday for a week, come back - it's still the same! They hardly even noticed you were away! A couple of days later, even you hardly notice you've been away!
Why does all this matter? Well, I personally believe that this is the cause of a lot of unhappiness in the Western countries. When you have "just a job" you're just erasing your life periodically. It's a subjective blackout. For those couple of hours per day, you pretty much cease to exist. Imagine having to shut yourself down for the workday, every day. It's bound to create bad results!
How did this happen? Well, historically, companies haven't always been the thousands-large monsters they are today. It probably all started when a guy who was good at making swords realized that it's hell of a lot nice to make that sword for Karl and his brother and get food for that instead of farming all the time himself. Basically, he liked making swords. See the difference to our days? There's loads of people who work in an office and fiddle around with piles of paper all day. Is it because they like to fiddle with piles of paper? Probably not, more likely they prefer staying alive to starving under a bridge. They just aren't that interested in their job, it lacks meaning.
Who's to blame for this? Well, nobody, really. It's somehow in the whole system of society. Naturally, it's better to have a job than to starve. But still, it'd be a hell lot better to have an interesting job. But alas, supply and demand don't match in the job market.
What to do about it? Naturally we'll have to try to match supply with demand better. But businesses can do a lot themselves. They can really start seeing employees as people, instead of as just a resource. I know that there are businesses doing this already, but on a larger scale it needs improving. It's the managers' main responsibility to make the employees see the results of their job, to feel themselves needed. Get rid of all the totalitarian influences in the leadership style, and keep Kant's Categorical Imperative in mind:
- Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law.
- Act in such a way that you always treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never simply as a means, but always at the same time as an end.
- So act as though you were, through your maxims, a law making member of a kingdom of ends.