A new form of work dissatisfaction emerges
Just as working dusk to dawn, seven days a week for as long as you possibly could – the reality for most of the working class until the late 19th century – was not sustainable, working for 60 years in the ways we currently experience and balance work with the rest of our lives is unrealistic.
According to the Stanford report, job satisfaction today is not measured only by wages, but by more holistic factors, such as the discrepancy between actual and desired hours, opportunities of personal growth, job security, mental stress, job ethics, job engagement, autonomy, flexibility, and interpersonal relationships. Work-life balance is more than the catch phrase of the moment: it is going to increase in importance and be the driving force behind the changes in how we work if we are too work significantly more years.
If work is going to be prolonged an additional 20 years per lifetime, we will have to rethink how we work and the ways in which we balance our jobs with the rest of our lives, including our health, hobbies, and relationships.
Rethinking the work/retirement structure
This evolution has already been occurring. Over the last 100 years, life expectancy increased from 50 to 80 years, according to the Stanford study. The inception of pension plans and the concept of retirement at the age of 65 or older being a desirable state changed how we think about the most lucrative years of our working life.
“Devoting adulthood to remunerative work,” the study states, “resonates with profiting from the mature fruit of education, which insures productivity levels are able to guarantee a steady living standard over the life time.”
Balancing the producing versus consuming years
The study points to the years we spend producing versus consuming. As traditionally structured and up until recent years, according to the study, young workers saw about one-third of wage growth and made two-thirds of their job changes during the first ten years of work experience. This began to change in the 1990s, the study explains, when workers aged 16 to 24 had lower participation in the labour market and in job-to-job transitions rates. One school of thought claims this is because of improved career matching between individuals and the job paths they choose, requiring less “shopping around” for the right professional.
Another theory puts this rising trend on an equally rising trend of young people moving back in with their parents after completing college or other training. The idea that the 30s are the new 20s is losing lustre with Millennials who, because of moving in with their parents, have experienced sub-optimal job matches and delays in reaching life milestones such as marriage, home ownership, and parenthood. Putting off becoming parents puts many workers in a burdensome situation,