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Is work just about money? Guaranteed minimum income.

(17 Posts)
cheeriosatdawn Fri 20-Oct-17 22:39:35

So. Other than a stupid thread about Halloween that no one read (which is fair enough) I’ve never tried to start a conversation here before. Apologies in advance for any grotesque protocol errors that I might (read: definitely will) make.

And, for all the old hands out there — you glorious women whose wisdom and kindness (offered on behalf of people more willing to post things (that I subsequently read) than I was — please know that you saw me through years of infertility, an infant, and now, a toddler. And that I am grateful for all of your insights and advice.

All that to say: first: thank you. And second: that I’m a (passionate) lurker, not a journalist. So though you don’t know my username, I have relied on you for years, and as a result of those years, feel myself part of this community, though I have little to recommend me.

Because of my experiences here, I have come to rely on this community for sensible input on (sometimes) challenging questions.

So (appallingly wordy) preamble sorted, here’s mine:

There is a lot of talk about automation and miscellaneous other technological innovations replacing a huge raft of jobs over the coming years.

Given that, a number of people have suggested that a guaranteed minimum income (that is to say, governments paying out citizens a fixed amount per year) might be one way to mitigate the impact of the job losses that will occur as a result.

On balance, I think that we might need something of the sort. That we WILL need something of that sort.

I mean: one thing (which can be problematic enough in and of itself) to tell people that if they lose their jobs they ought to search for new ones. Quite another to destroy entire categories of work, meaning that there are no new jobs for people in those sectors to get, try as they might — and then to suggest that they pull themselves together and find new work.

However: even now, it seems to me that if we are fortunate enough to be able to cover our expenses, (which, it must be stated, is already quite something) that “work”, and the meaning we derive from it, is often about more than just the money coming in.

Yes: bills need to be paid. No two ways about that. Nor is that anything to be made light of.

But, even in a context in which one is working to make ends meet, are there other things that work provides that are beyond money?

Getting out of the house, meeting like minded people, feeling part of a community, feeling productive, feeling as though one is engaged with the world — there are, it seems to me, a number of things that need to be considered as well.

Things that provide meaning that is beyond money.

But I may be wrong. Or, at the very least, not entirely correct. Which is only right and proper given that I have only my own experience to work with. (No appalling pun intended)

So, simply put (because I’m wordy by nature and that’s not helped by the wine I’m (joyously) drinking now that my toddler is in bed): even with a fixed, guaranteed income — say, an income that matches or is close to what you’re earning now, would you be happier, or better off — or at least as happy and well off (however you measure that) — as you are now?

Is there anything, beyond salary, that makes the work you do worth doing?

Would you be happy with just receiving a check each month? And if not, why not?

I wouldn't.

I love my job. Every day is different. There's no routine, the shifts are all over the place but I work with the funniest and yet most compassionate people I've ever met. It's a tough job, we deal with some really difficult things but having that circle of people around who will pick you up, reassure you and make you laugh in the same breath is priceless.

As much as I like the idea of being a SAHM, especially if it came with guaranteed minimum income payments, I've gradually accepted that it's not for me, especially now that DD is in school. I'd go out of my mind at home with cabin fever, and I love getting home after a shift and feeling like I've made a difference.

Polarbearflavour Fri 20-Oct-17 22:51:59

I dislike my current job. It’s meant to be a role that makes a difference but it doesn’t and nobody really talks or interacts with me all day.

I’ve never really had a job that I’ve been excited to go to work for. As soon as I win the lottery I’m quitting! grin

ShinyButtons Fri 20-Oct-17 22:52:29

If I could get the same amount of money without having to go to work I'd be very happy, I only work because it pays my bills and holidays and other nice things.

I might go in for a one day working week just because I like most of the people I work with, or I could just meet up with the ones I like given that they'd probably not be working either, we'd all have much more free time for socialising and things.

mirime Fri 20-Oct-17 22:53:02

Iif UBI was brought in I would not stop working, although I might reduce my hours.

Why?

I enjoy my job.
As I work for a charity I feel what I do is worthwhile.
I like the people I work with so there is a social element, and I don't get that outside of work really.
It gives my days structure such I think is important for me.

I would consider reducing hours if I could afford to so that I could spend more time on hobbies and maybe even try to make some money from them. My job could then be a job share giving someone else a part-time job, so win-win all round.

Catbot Fri 20-Oct-17 22:58:24

<waves to Pompey-ites> Yoo-hoo!

You could look at Hartley Wintney. That's where I am from but I now live in a lovely town called Wickham, having also lived in, and loved, Southsea. Most of Hampshire is pretty lovely tbh.

CandyMelts Fri 20-Oct-17 23:08:24

Hmm so much of our lives is geared around work - when you meet new people one of the first questions they ask you is what you do for a living, when you encourage your child to do well at school so they can get a good job etc. So would this same government still educate us? Presumably lots of people are still required to make the business decisions, have creative ideas and come up with the automation.

Personally I'm currently off sick on full pay, now I'm starting to feel better I'm finding I can surprisingly fill my days quite nicely so maybe I could get get on board with it. Certainly I sleep better (might be the healing though) and feel less pressure with not having to get my life organised between 6pm and bedtime. I'd definitely get a dog.

cheeriosatdawn Fri 20-Oct-17 23:10:47

Ok. First: I’m over the moon than anyone responded. I know that this is a huge community, but there’s something so lovely and gratifying about the fact that you’re out there and wiling to engage.

Thank you.

So — and I’m playing with white papers that have been written on the subject because it’s an area that I sort of covered when I wasn’t a SAHM — if, in a hypothetical universe, your jobs were to be eliminated, and a fixed government salary to be offered instead, what roles, if any, would you feel would allow you to get what you wanted beyond pay?

And also: if you’re saying that you’re working just to make ends meet, what work, or projects, would inspire you to not just accept a check, but allocate your time as well?

Is it about community involvement — meaning, working directly in the places where you live? Or is it more abstract than that?

Could you get the benefits you describe from work (for those who felt that there were benefits beyond salary) from spending your time and talents and energy working in your own communities?

I suppose I mean: if there was a programme that would allow people whose work was...taken over? Eaten? Absorbed by? The ways of phrasing this are infinite — by technological innovation — to allocate their energies to things that perhaps benefitted our communities more directly (working to support libraries, parks, supporting mothers, supporting families, finding ways of making our councils more efficient, working with communities that are struggling — would that be interesting?

In short, are there elements of the roles you currently play that could be used to the betterment of the broader society we’re all part of that you’d be interested in/feel you had something to contribute to?

What work, what roles, specifically — were the financial side of things not to be an issue — would you feel were worthwhile?

cheeriosatdawn Fri 20-Oct-17 23:16:33

@CandyMelts Yes yes. The “what do you do” side of socialising. It’s tiresome, and sometimes quite stupid, but it’s very real notwithstanding all of that.

Yukbuck Fri 20-Oct-17 23:27:12

I love my job and can honestly say that I get more out of it than money.
If money wasn't a concern then I could easily do my job for free. I just love it. I feel great getting up and going to work each day.

GetOutOfMYGarden Fri 20-Oct-17 23:30:28

I wouldn't quit my job, but it would mean I did a few less overtime shifts.

RaininSummer Fri 20-Oct-17 23:34:46

I would happily pack work up if I didn't need the dosh. This might be slightly coloured by the fact that I am over 50 but I still have another 12 years at least to work. I would love to potter about and also do a lot of voluntary work probably using my teaching skills on various ways.

Frequency Fri 20-Oct-17 23:37:07

I tried not working once. Well, kind of not working. I couldn't find a job with the right hours for my situation so I found home based work.

I lasted three months before I realised I was turning into a dirty, smelly hermit. And I was bored and miserable.

I'm now at trade college and do work experience on a Saturday. I can't not work. It's not good for my mental health. I still earn my money working from home.

tiredbutFINE Fri 20-Oct-17 23:38:56

I truly do enjoy my job but if I was paid double my salary, I'd drop half of my hours and have a much better life.
I'd really like to do one day a week as a carer. I'd happily do more for charity/community/society if I wasn't having to earn a living. I could never have "nothing to do" all day but I'd like a slower pace of life. Not as much as I like my lifestyle though, otherwise I'd work less

CalmanOnSpeeddial Fri 20-Oct-17 23:40:55

I’d be happy to quit work if I would get the same money, I don’t mind my work but there are other things I’d prefer to do. However my current income is a very long way outside any assumed citizen’s income so that’s definitely not going to happen.

My problem with guaranteed minimum income is that I think that in practice it would incentivise more mothers to stay out of the workplace and whilst that would presumably be fine for those individual women, because it would their free choice, I’m not sure that I’m keen on a society where all the lawyers, doctors, teachers, lecturers, police officers, civil servant policy makers, CEOs are men again.

cheeriosatdawn Sat 21-Oct-17 00:09:12

Ok. So: for those of you who say that you'd do what you do regardless of pay...what is it you do that makes you feel so fulfilled? And why?

cheeriosatdawn Sat 21-Oct-17 00:21:32

Hadn't considered that @CalmanOnSpeeddial. Wow. Talk about unintended consequences. I really need to think that through.

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