My company has just had an all-hands-on-deck call for help in a certain department due to a huge onslaught of orders, so I, our Director of Marketing, and many others have volunteered a few days of our time to help.
After a day of doing incredibly repetititive and fairly mind-numbing work, I now better understand the value of goals in imparting artificial meaning to otherwise meaningless work.
(Not that the work I was doing was meaningless. But it was a small slice of a chopped-up workflow … which, in zoomed-in perspective, rendered the precise process I was doing meaningless. In other words, when doing it, it doesn’t make much sense. If seen as one step in a long chain of steps, it makes more sense.)
To motivate myself, I set certain goals: 100,000 units for today, for instance (which I hit). And that made the day meaningful … when otherwise what I was doing felt about as significant as moving rocks from one side of the yard to the other, and back again.
. . .
. . .
I also re-discovered what Marx thought of as the dehumanization of labor, and that I was really glad that I have a job that is not brain-optional.
As a bonus, understanding some of the processes of our company from a complete ground-floor perspective, I can see where there might be some opportunities for improvement.