Work has moved from being an activity using an individual’s skill, producing an output of value, to a job performing a narrow set of tasks in exchange for a salary and has transformed incredibly in the last 50 years. Thomson and Maitland (p. 17, 2011) discuss the major transformations which work has undergone, from a world governed by the seasons and daylight to one ruled by the factory whistle and clock. These transformations have led to the introduction of the production line, businesses improving efficiency by gaining economies of scale, standardizing of work process, the expansion of massive co-operations, amongst many other changes (Gratton 2011). This reflects the ideas and thinking of Henry Ford; he developed a model of work which described the ‘production process.’ Whether or not these changes have benefited society goes unanswered, it has however broadened opportunities for generations to come.
Before the advent of industrial capitalism 200 years ago in England, work referred in a generalized way to activities directed at satisfying the human need for survival, for the vast majority, at a subsistence level (Edgell 2006). There is an inevitable change, continuity and shift in paid work and unpaid work, industrial work and office work. However, the purpose and self-determination in the success of life has remained apparent since the very beginning. Lyda Gratton writes, “…We want safety for ourselves and those we love; we like to be cherished and find a sense of belonging in the communities we live in; we need a sense of achievement and of a job well done…This is the basic plot of people, their families and their communities from the very beginning…” This notion of aspiring and achievement has always been the core of work and careers. However, Grafton’s ‘Five Forces’ describes a future where people will become reliant on technology, not having to rely on their ability and skills. This will become a problem for society; people will no longer aspire to...
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