There's a trend these days in the office environment that suggests we should be able to find a sense of fulfillment in our jobs; bosses, it seems, have reacted to studies suggesting more engaged workers mean bigger profits. And sure, it's great if we can find meaning at work. But when workers "go to meditation class just because they don’t want the boss to think they’re not trying hard enough" and job applicants have to pretend they'd do a job for free, there's a problem, writes Joe Keohane in the New Republic. The fact is that "most modern work, like it or not, is inherently meaningless beyond the paycheck."
And that's not the problem: "The problem is that work has so monopolized our lives that there are ever fewer opportunities to find meaning outside of the office." Americans spend 299 more hours each year working than the French do, and a whopping 400 more than Germans do, Keohane notes. A researcher says we worked five more weeks yearly in 2000 than we did in 1967. "The broader culture is hopelessly workaholic—not raging against the emptiness of life, but actively emptying it, and filling the hole with more work dressed up as life." So let's "embrace not the meaningfulness of work, but its meaninglessness"; let's allow it to put "food in our bellies and a roof over our heads," and then find the time to "go home." Click for the full piece. (Read more working stories.)