Being a happy bricklayer

“What are you doing?“
“I’m laying bricks,” said the first bricklayer.
“Feeding my family,” said the second bricklayer.
“I’m building a cathedral,” said the third bricklayer.

When I’ve learned this story in the primary school, I was shocked to see how shitty the life of the first two bricklayers were. The first one didn’t even had any intrinsic motivation to do his job, so he was probably a slave, a prisoner or some other kind of forced workforce. And the financial situation of the second one was apparently so critical that he was forced to take a job — any job he could find — to feed his family, even though he wasn’t really interested in laying bricks or perhaps even in construction works altogether.

I’m very happy to say that I was building a cathedral on every job I took so far. And frankly speaking, I don’t even see a point to do it differently. A job takes 8 hours a day. And for a hobby we could find, perhaps, one hour per day, on average? So by making your job to your hobby, and your hobby to your job, you increase the happy time of your life by 700%.

Another shocking aspect of that story is the missing loyalty of the first two workers. Per my upbringing and education, I’m normally very loyal to my employer, at least as long as they are loyal to myself. When my employer decides to hire me, they have some purpose in mind. It is the question of my loyalty, and of my integrity, to deliver upon it. But the first two workers seemed to be absolutely ignorant to their purpose in their organization!

That’s why I don’t really know what to say, every time when I hear someone declaring that his/her purpose in the company is not related to money. I mean, common, private companies have exactly one primary goal, one reason to exist: to earn money. Yes, they might have some cool vision like not being evil, or having a laser-sharp focus on perfect products, but these goals are all secondary. They are quickly forgotten when the primary goal is in danger. No company can survive for long, unless it follows the primary goal.

Therefore, I do really think that the purpose of all and every employee should be to see how s/he can help the company to earn or to save money. If s/he is not okay with that, well, wouldn’t s/he be much more happier working in a government agency, a non-government, a scientific, military, or a welfare organization?.. Just asking…

  • Oleg Las’kov

    Maybe. Ask them.
    А ты помнишь, как в юности ты хотел сделать магазин, который бы продавал высококачественные вещи (речь тогда шла о компьютерах). И тебе было все равно, что это может быть не окупалось, и что дешевые компьютеры продавать было гораздо выгоднее. Вспомни свое состояние тогда. Что тобой двигало?
    Пишешь красиво! Любуюсь и наслаждаюсь!

  • fridental

    Мною двигало представление о том, что на дешевых комплектующих можно было добиться 100% рентабельности, а на дорогих 20%, и речь шла о том, что лучше иметь 20% и чистую совесть, чем 100%, зная, что некоторые покупатели тебя матерят. Чтобы торговать в убыток себе — такого не помню.

    Но point твой понял. Можно решить зарабатывать меньше денег в обмен на нематериальные ценности. Но такое решение должно быть принято на самом высшем уровне.

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