Working for a successful company isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Self-employed workers in the United States are more satisfied with their jobs than other people, according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. They’re also more likely to work for intrinsic reasons, like improving society or “because they want to,” rather than for money.
Working for yourself has plenty of benefits, but money isn’t one of them. The same satisfied workers also reported feeling more financial stressed, possibly due to the lack of health care and pension plans provided by self-employment.
If governments change the health care structure, and provide more benefits for self-employed people, we could experience a self-sufficiency revival, according to Phillip Longman in Foreign Policy. In the current financial crisis, people are increasingly working for themselves, growing vegetables for local consumption or developing open-sourced software in their basements. This has the potential to restructure the entire economy for the better.
Working for reasons other than money can make people more productive, too. In a speech to TED, Dan Pink proposes a radical “rethinking how we run our businesses,” based on aspects other than money. In creative work, according to Pink, motivating people with money can actually lead to worse performance. Pink proposes a system where people are motivated more by intrinsic qualities, like “mastery,” “autonomy,” and “purpose,” rather than money. If the Pew Center survey is any indication, people will be a lot more satisfied, too.
You can watch a video of Pink’s talk below: