The problem began when humanists encouraged people to believe that they could realise their personal growth and self-expression through work.
Like the doomed lover, such employees will face inevitable disappointment when they realise that their bosses can only give so much: that they are interested only in what they do and not who they are. Like a jilted lover, the over-expectant employee has a tendency to feel degraded and demeaned.
The problem can be solved if people think about work in more realistic terms: they should be happy enough to find work that is worthwhile rather than meaningful. Good pay, good conditions and a company that does not waste your time: now, that is adequate.
Source: Why they call it work
EL Kersten, former professor of organisational communication and author of The Art of Demotivation. He is also the COO and cofounder of Despair Inc.
Harvard Business Review, February 2006
Review by Morice Mendoza