Sometimes, Dorothy Sayers sounds like Seth Godin. Here’s what she says in her superb essay “Why Work?,” referring to one of the main implications of the view of work she has just outlined:
A fourth consequence is that we should fight tooth and nail, not for mere employment, but for the quality of the work that we had to do. We should clamor to be engaged on work that was worth doing, and in which we can take pride.
The worker would demand that the stuff he helped to turn out should be good stuff….
There would be protests and strikes — not only about pay and conditions, but about the quality of the work demanded and the honesty, beauty, and usefulness of the goods produced. The greatest insult which a commercial age has offered to the worker has been to rob him of all interest in the end-product of the work and to force him to dedicate his life to making badly things which were not worth making.
Fast forwarding about 70 years, I think Sayers would agree whole-heartedly with the vision for work Godin outlines on his blog and books, especially Linchpin:
In bestsellers such as Purple Cow and Tribes, Seth Godin taught readers how to make remarkable products and spread powerful ideas. But this book is about you-your choices, your future, and your potential to make a huge difference in whatever field you choose.
There used to be two teams in every workplace: management and labor. Now there’s a third team, the linchpins. These people figure out what to do when there’s no rule book. They delight and challenge their customers and peers. They love their work, pour their best selves into it, and turn each day into a kind of art.
Linchpins are the essential building blocks of great organizations. They may not be famous but they’re indispensable. And in today’s world, they get the best jobs and the most freedom.
As Godin writes, “Every day I meet people who have so much to give but have been bullied enough or frightened enough to hold it back. It’s time to stop complying with the system and draw your own map. You have brilliance in you, your contribution is essential, and the art you create is precious. Only you can do it, and you must.”