Why do we go to work? Why do we stress about writing the perfect resume, practice our interviews, celebrate when we get hired, and then dedicate a third of our lives (or more) to work?
People have a lot of answers. They throw out phrases like following their passions, making a difference, and doing what they love, but we all know the truth.
People work because jobs give them money, and they need money to survive.
The Purpose of a Job
A Gen Z’er brought up this important point on a now-viral video shared across numerous social media websites.
“The purpose of a job is to pay a living wage,” she states, explaining that her generation doesn’t want to work because jobs don’t pay enough to live.
See the video:
🔊”I don’t want to work anymore” … 🤨
What do you think of her reasons? pic.twitter.com/CMEa9h6L9Z
— Wall Street Silver (@WallStreetSilv) November 6, 2023
Her comments created a social media frenzy. While some agreed that jobs should pay a living wage, others derided her for daring to suggest anyone owes her anything.
The Purpose of a Job is To Add Value
One respondent said the purpose of a job is to offer value to your employer. He said employers will pay you a living wage if, and only if, you bring them enough value.
“The purpose of a job is to pay a living wage.”
Umm, no. That’s not how it works. No one owes you anything, let alone a living wage.
The purpose of a job is to add value to your employer who will then pay you for the value you add.
There are two paths to higher pay.
— Mark Philipsen (@philipsen_mark) November 6, 2023
The poster didn’t clarify how much “value” is worth a living wage or why he thought employees who worked forty hours per week might not bring a company value, but he did say it’s up to each person to develop skills an employer would value.
A Hot Take a Lot of People Disagreed With
A lot of people disagreed with this poster, and for good reason. The idea that people only exist to add value to their employers harkens back to a dark time in our nation’s history. That you’re existence and humanity are up for debate based on how much subjective value you add to a company is a route no one really wants to go down.
Here are some of the best responses on X to this outrageous claim:
The idea that someone should work a full-time job but still make less money than is necessary to purchase all the basic necessities of life is not pro-capitalist, it’s anti-civilization. Like, you can’t have a functioning society when everyone is too broke to partake of society.
— WeAreIceni (@NameIsSpartacus) November 6, 2023
I believe in meritocracy, but you are absolutely wrong. The bare minimum wage has to be a living wage. I am not talking luxury but food, shelter, transportation has t be covered.
— Aditya Deshpande (@adi_twit) November 6, 2023
The purpose of a job?
Wouldn’t it be to contribute to the collective, by providing your unique individual skill set to a company or organization that provides a service to its fellow humanity? In return we are paid enough to thrive and be passionate about contributing to the…
— Dennis Vandenbergh (@VandenberghDen) November 7, 2023
Well, technically, minimum wage was designed so 1 person can work and pay for necessities, rent, food, utilities, basic needs of life. But not enough to save, go shopping, etc. Enough to pay for necessities, thats what minimum wage was designed for.
— Jason Halliburton (@xSEEKx83) November 6, 2023
if a job can’t supply a living wage it shouldn’t exist… how do you expect anyone to do the job if they can’t live while doing it?
— CarettaWriting (@CarettaWriting) November 6, 2023
if you’re putting 40-60 hours a week into a job, they do in fact owe you something. they owe you fair wages. we are saying that the minimum wage for a full time job that the government deems “fair” is no longer accurately “fair” in relation to the cost of living.
— sxnth (@sxnthwave) November 6, 2023
Reddit Users Also Furious
The post made its way over to Reddit, where users of the popular forum also hotly disagreed with the idea that you only deserve to live if you give value to your company.
“These are the same people that would have defended slavery,” said one user.
“Oh on the contrary, no one owes employers cheap labor,” added another.
“That’s a long way of saying poor people don’t deserve to live,” responded a third.
Jobs Should Be Mutually Beneficial
In a perfect world, jobs would be mutually beneficial. Companies would pay employees enough for them to thrive so they’d be happy and productive while at work. In return, workers would do their best for the company.
Our social contract isn’t like that. Companies view labor as just another line and will do everything possible to lower costs in the never-ending quest for more profits. The government should work for the people by setting a living wage as a minimum wage, but since most government officials are in the pockets of their corporate donors, that doesn’t happen.
The contract is broken, and that’s why no one wants to work.