In an article about the future of corporations from 2001, the management thinker Peter Drucker mused about the future of the workplace in The Economist. “The management of knowledge workers should be based on the assumption that the corporation needs them more than they need the corporation,” he said. “This means they have to be treated and managed as volunteers.”
One could make the argument that Drucker’s prediction only came half true, given the economic realities many workers have faced in the past two decades, including rising wage inequality and student loan debt. But I believe he was spot-on about how most knowledge workers think about their work. I’ve recently read different job satisfaction studies that show that work is in crisis, with as few as 40% of workers and as many as 70% declaring themselves to have checked out of their work completely.