THE PIPING PIPER AND HIS PAYING PAYER
“Money often costs too much”
– Benjamin Franklin.
In an extremely capital-sensitive environment like ours, the one thing that remains “priceless and invaluable” is money in its identified forms, as we have today. The major problem is not about acknowledging the importance of money, but about the mechanics involving this never-ending maze of wealth accumulation and distribution.
This isn’t the first time, and certainly not the last, that money matters would be discussed. It is an immensely intrinsic part of daily living, and like a second skin.
However, to obtain money, you often have to earn it — this is where the situation gets tricky. Work is often a subjective term used, and even when well defined and stated out, it comes with its own yardstick of assessment, mode of conduct, ethics, etc. To reconcile all of this with the possibility of money as an incentive becomes a huge challenge for both the employer and employee. In other words, is work controlled by money or vice versa?
Do You Work For Money?
Most people will reluctantly answer this question with a“Yes”and a feel of some form of guilt or uneasiness. In plain truth, money is the biggest incentive for work. It’s the major reason for most industrial actions and strikes embarked upon; it’s the major reason for staff rearrangement and shuffling; it’s a major reason for accepting or declining a job offer. It’s not rocket science to understand why money is at the heart of work, as almost everything needs sustenance in the form of financial assistance. It therefore seems that money makes the world spin around its 23.5° axis.
However (once again) money isn’t the sole reason for work. In fact, money alone will be of an infinitesimally small significance if work is not guided by principles which would spur on the work progression. And because such a disparity exists, there is a chance of striking a balance or tilting towards crisis.
The Thousand and One Reasons
Some claim to work for the love of it, personal accomplishment, life fulfillment, inspiring a difference, helping others, etc. These are good-enough reasons provided they know their boundaries. In a way, all of these still hinge on funding and sustenance, especially in an environment where maintenance is the first step towards progression.
The problem concerning such reasons for work is that they are hugely subjective, and will vary from individual to individual. There is often no clear-cut yardstick to measure improvement, hence a tendency towards stagnation and mediocrity. There is a huge temptation to water down principles or expectations, simply because it’s a personal thing. It’s normal for you to wish to stay in bed on a Monday morning, isn’t it? It just depends on your mood.
The Golden Rule
Gradually, the rule of “Do unto others what you would have them do to you”, has been given a new name: “He who has the gold, makes the rules” — the new Golden Rule. And so far, it seems like money is a better incentive for work: it’s costly, therefore restricting laziness; it’s value is almost perfectly elastic, hence well appreciated; there is no amount of money too big to obtain, hence room for more improvement.
Meanwhile, we always thought that the employers were at the top having all the money, while employees were down below at their masters’ mercy. Well, not quite! Every wise employer knows that it is the customers who practically pay both employer and employees their wages. A good CEO is the chief servant of his/her customers — no wonder the customer is always right.
The Two Masters
Similar to the biblical passage, one cannot truly serve both masters. God and Mammon in this case would be equivalent to money and every other personal reason. Working only for money makes one a robot, and an evolving evil one at that! There can be a compromise enabling one to have personal projects that can be adequately funded and assessed objectively. Only then would our productivity swell beyond our expectations.