All the employers in the current global economy create or offer jobs that are usually very specific and defined in relation to the needs of the individual enterprise. Each job is filled through a subjective and arbitrary process of selection. The job holder is then expected to fulfill the requirements of his job position. As a result, all the employers as an aggregate dictate where all the human labor is being deployed. Again, the employers, either as capital owners themselves or their proxies, control and steer the allocation of the human resources, just like all other resources, toward enterprises that are designed to profit for self-interests, instead of for public interests, while the employees have very little say over what the enterprises should or should not be doing, with the exception of a few individuals who are in the higher decision making hierarchy of the organization. As a result, the job itself is not intrinsically tied to or matched with the job holder’s value system and very often can cause dissonance whenever there is a divergence or a conflict of interests.
As an individual in a free market, each person is supposed to be free to pick and choose his job in theory. Considering most people spend on average one third of their lives working on their jobs, they would ideally prefer their jobs to be interesting, satisfying, challenging, relevant, meaningful and purposeful on a personal level, in addition to being fairly compensated. In reality, this is rarely the case. Right off the bat, depending on how much he needs the salary and benefits, where he lives, what his training or education is, what kind of transportation is available to him, etc., the individual cannot practically pick the job but the other way around. These are only the obvious problems that are the tip of the iceberg in the job search struggle. There is a whole litany of issues mentioned in my earlier entry, “The labor problem under capitalism.” Just because they have to relegate their personal preferences and aspirations to a lower priority does not mean that people in general do not desire and yearn for more emotional satisfaction and rewards from their jobs.
On top of the disconnection between what we want from our jobs and what our jobs actually offer us, there is another discrepancy between what we are capable of doing at our jobs and what our jobs actually let us do, that can also cause distress in our working life. To put it in other words, there is a deficiency in the matching up of individual human potential with the job positions. It is like fitting round pegs in square holes, with the round pegs representing human potential and the square holes representing jobs. We have developed the following chart to illustrate the job and human potential gap:
In all likelihood, the situation of all job holders will fall under one of the five scenarios above. As mentioned before, most jobs are rigid and inflexible and it is up to the job holder’s human potential to execute the job duties with possibly varying results and satisfaction. Meanwhile, the human potential is dynamic and constantly evolving and expanding due to the ongoing on-the-job and off-the-job learning, training, self-improvement and experience accumulation.
In Scenario 1 where the job exceeds the human potential, the job holder is probably under-qualified for this job, and will inevitably underperform. Depending how big the gap is, he may or may not grow into his job and progress to Scenario 2. Ultimately, he probably has to struggle a lot and will not be happy at this job since it is not a good fit.
In Scenario 2 where the job confines the human potential, although the job holder is qualified for this job, the job does not lend itself for him to grow beyond it, either because the employer strictly forbids any deviations from the job, or the job holder cannot find a compelling reason or is not willing to overstep his bounds, due to certain personality traits, like low self-confidence, strict rule-abiding, complacency, etc. At first, the job holder may be comfortable with this job because it is a close enough match. As time goes on, he will become bored with, uninterested in and unmotivated toward his job as it becomes monotonous and unchallenging.
In Scenario 3 where the human potential submits to the job, the job holder fully embraces and learns the different aspects of this job, performs to the best of his ability, and manages his job with flying colors. However, simultaneously, the limits of the job are also holding him back and he is not able to advance further. Most likely, the employer does not encourage a lot of latitude on the job, or he does not have any resources and opportunities to improve or push the limits, or both. As much as the job holder wants to do and achieve more, he will end up feeling stuck, cramped and unfulfilled.
In Scenario 4 where the human potential exceeds the job, the job holder is over-qualified for this job and can easily over-perform. With a surplus of skills and experiences, he will probably not derive a lot of satisfactions from this job because it is too easy and unstimulating. Obviously, he has taken this job not for self-fulfillment and does not and will not need to give his full attention in terms of time and effort. Without his own legitimate reasons to pick and stay on this job, he will most likely feel stifled, inhibited and underappreciated while underutilizing his time and talents.
Scenario 5 is an ideal situation where the human potential matches and grows with the job. In these rare cases, the job holder is lucky enough to be in a position to mold this job to fit his capabilities, either because he is his own boss or his employer trusts him enough to give him a lot of control to customize his job. With freedom and flexibility, he is more likely to be creative, involved, invested, dedicated, productive and able to realize his full potential and reach the top of his game. He is also most likely to have the highest job satisfaction level.
Of course, there are cases where the job holders are perfectly happy with their jobs even if they do not perfectly match their human potential because their jobs may not play a significant role in their personal actualization desires; or they do not realize the extent of their full potential; or they are optimists making the best out of their situations; or they have other avenues to develop their latent potential, etc. However, for most people, such consistent and persistent mismatch is not only a damper to the human spirits, but also a direct loss to the economy and society. The gaps between the job and human potential are wasted opportunities and resources and incur tangible economic productivity and opportunity costs and intangible emotional disappointments, distress and anguish.
NATORZ will provide an alternative:
Imagine every job will help us to freely explore, expand and develop our full potential.
Imagine every job will not leave us burnt out or overworked.
Imagine every job will maintain a reasonable work-life balance.
Imagine every job will contribute to and improve the well-being of our fellow humans and our human society as a whole.
Imagine every job will be performed to fill critical and essential physical needs of the masses and not frivolous and superfluous wants of the privileged few.
Imagine every job will strive to maintain the balance and equilibrium of the Earth, her biodiversity, her interconnecting ecosystems and her natural environment.
Imagine every job will be available for anyone who desires to learn and perform it but not just a selected few who have won the genetic lottery, creating universal equal job opportunity.
Imagine every job will offer purpose, meaning, autonomy, opportunity for mastery, creativity, value, growth, achievement, recognition, responsibility, opportunity to learn, and consequently job satisfaction.
Imagine every job will help us to self-actualize, unleash our creativity and contribute to a non-zero-sum universe of beauty.
In practice, NATORZ will not offer one fixed job but different opportunities for people to play different roles in its society to fulfill their self-selected areas of potential. For their regular day jobs, there will be equal job opportunities with lifetime learning and training and as much job flexibility and mobility as possible. After work, they are free to pursue their hobbies, interests, passions and avocations, create their own want-based products and businesses, and pursue their dream careers.
Let us imagine what if…