I have been contemplating the human need to be useful, with three examples.
1) Even my toddler likes to help clean up spills, put rubbish in the bin, and wipe her own nose. She’s not even two – she could be ‘reading’ or playing with her building blocks but no, she chooses to come and help me pick up the rice she dropped on the floor.
2) A man with learning difficulties now works at a local cafe. He’s a bit slow to take your order but he’s lovely and he gets it right. He clearly takes pride in his work and I’m always pleased to see him doing well.
3) I once had a job where they ran out of work for me to do. I was the only person who seemed to think this wasn’t OK and, after a few weeks of being told to “read the intranet” and solving sudoku puzzles, I moved on. The work hadn’t been very interesting but I missed it when it was gone and I had to sit staring at my screen all day!
I recently heard that the UK is one of the least productive countries in Europe. It’s ridiculous. Humans clearly want to be helpful and useful and to actually DO stuff. Are we badly organised? Inefficient?
With so many people packed inside our borders, and many more keen to come here, it feels like we should be the most productive, per square metre!
Doesn’t everyone get a chance to be productive?
Perhaps we are all waiting for the right chance, like the man at the cafe. In which case, do we need to change our attitude, or the organisation of the whole country?