Work, as a complex human phenomenon, is an activity that we do with others and for others, and sometimes against others. Work, then, like all human activity, always presupposes the presence of the other. Even when working alone, what we do is thought for others, for their recognition. We know that labor bonds are the expression, not only of the personal equation, of the singularity of those involved, of their particular way of being, but also of the organizational, social, economic and political context within which they are inscribed. Human beings are bearers of their own unique history, but also of the historical, social, political, and economic context within which their lives are inscribed.
Labor relations, whether based on respect, collaboration, development and growth of social actors, competition, mistreatment, etc. are always, in addition to the singular expression of the organization or functional unit that houses them, the reproduction of the macro context in which they are established. In this sense, satisfaction, or dissatisfaction in the workplace or in the task, has multiple readings and even when we are standing in a certain perspective, it is important to know that there are other ways of looking at the same phenomenon and that none of them is exhausted in itself.
The world of work is represented by the exchange of goods and services, and each culture and each historical period show us different ways of exchanging goods and services. Just as each cultural formation defines its own linguistic and matrimonial rules, it also defines its economic rules. So, these economic rules are inscribed within a history that is economic history, defined as: «…the ways or modes by which different societies have faced the problems of production and distribution of goods and services necessary for their subsistence and development.» (Llairó, Siepe, 2005: 37).
In relation to the concept of work, we are faced with two extremes: working beyond material needs and not working in spite of them. This puts us before the evidence that work is not a phenomenon of nature, it is not an instinctive response to needs, otherwise we would all work and once our needs are satisfied, we would stop working until the appearance of a new demand for subsistence. These two extremes merely express the two poles of ambivalence towards work: the desire for recognition and the fear of rejection, the desire to be included in the project of the other and also the fear of being expelled. Valuation and disqualification, respect and humiliation, personal development and alienation, commensurate retribution, and exploitation. As Desjours rightly points out, the best but also the worst, health and morbidity, life, and death.
I invite you to read Matias’ post with the topic of the day
Finally, I encourage everyone to reflect on the concept of the day. No one else but us can re-signify our own being