Quotable: On Work

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Thanks to Joey Thames for pointing this out to the faculty today.

(new paragraphing is mine, to make this easier to read)

The habit of thinking about work as something one does to make money is so ingrained in us that we can scarcely imagine what a revolutionary change it would be to think about it instead in terms of work done. To do so would mean taking the attitude of mind we reserve for our unpaid work–our hobbies, our leisure interests, the things we make and do for pleasure–and making that the standard of all our judgments about things and people.

We should ask of an enterprise, not “will it pay?” but “is it good?”;

of a man, not “what does he make?” but “what is his work worth?”;

of goods, not “can we induce people to buy them? but “are they useful things well made?”;

of employment, not “how much a week?” but “will it exercise my faculties to the utmost?”

And shareholders in–let us say–brewing companies, would astonish the directorate by arising at shareholders’ meetings and demanding to know, not merely where the profits go or what dividends are to be paid, not even merely whether workers’ wages are sufficient and the conditions of labor satisfactory, but loudly and with a proper sense of personal responsibility” “What goes into the beer?” (pp. 98-99).

 ~Dorothy Sayers
From Creed or Chaos

One comment

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