The ever-daunting term, workism, is subsumed under two core areas: the belief that work is not only vital to economic production, but also the leading hallmark of one’s identity and life’s purpose—defined by economist Derek Thompson.
Significantly, as it permeates American families in Sonoma county, the Bay Area and across the country, the the fiery drive for financial success is ignited by more than a burning incentive for working til’ the flame runs out--especially via the most common incentive, money. Namely, it’s also been drilled into us as a belief that any hopes of maintaining—let alone elevating— human welfare, for the vast majority of American workers, is only achievable through more work.
Alas, now more than ever, as the American dream dangles its appeal over the American (work) fiend, ritualizing workism, though we all do it, only reaches a profound point of “transcendence” for -very- few. Namely, for the “college educated elite” of the country, as Thompson references.
Whether we point to high-ups of local Silicon Valley juggernauts, “Hollywood elites,” or those at the helm of American transnational corporations, of course, it has become increasingly clear that true engagement at the workplace is, at the least, conditional on -lots- of money. However, if we view workplace engagement as a backbone of successfully upholding a strong “moral code”-- by which workism demands--the harsh reality of our engagement, or motive to ritualize workism, is one that has inevitably plummeted across the employee spectrum: among the middle class, especially.
In February 2017, management consulting company, Gallup, conducted a nationwide poll to understand the state of the American workplace. The findings surrounding workers’ engagement were jarring: 70 percent of U.S. workers are not engaged. Just like the employers of disengaged workers, one would also think that money, the most commonly used incentive to elevate engagement, then becomes the catalyst to quit if such workers’ dissatisfaction pushes them there--but its not.
Rather, as 89 percent of employers believe employees leave for more money, it comes as a surprise that only 12 percent of U.S. workers actually do for such aims. This is not stupefying, though, considering the shackles modern workism’s extremity places on the ubiquity of American people. Nevertheless, components like a real, harnessed sense of community--let alone a transcendence of worldview-- is rampantly declining throughout workism’s facilitation in American livelihood.
Seemingly, the tiresome wings of dissatisfaction expand even wider in U.S. workers across the board: corporations constantly catapulting ads our way, daily, among a myriad of other culprits, masks Americans’ sense of what to value and why to value it.
Case in point, with the average modern American relinquished to roughly 5,000 advertisements daily-- a figure gathered by marketing firm Yankelovich, Inc.-- it becomes increasingly easy for corporate elites and tech giants, like Apple, to subdue U.S. citizens to the belief that new, advanced products open opportunity for an advanced lifestyle, or welfare status.
Be that as it may, with more U.S. workers enlightened to the dehumanizing means of monetary enslavement, workism’s crumbling masquerade as a vital, ritualized centerpiece to an elevated and happy lifestyle is a belief unveiled for the worse.
Ultimately, in what Thompson believes has evolved into an engine for identity production, workism and its relationship with the state of American values today is a love affair by which the former has steadily lost control. One can’t help but question: how quickly will this already steady loss of influence become more drastic?