[Opinion] You Can Bet Your Bottom Dollar

If you’ve got all your money in front of you, and you put it all on black (or red) you might just be betting your last dollar. Your bottom dollar, if you will.

Employers and employees in the last century used to believe that motivation and morale were traits that could be squeezed out through the regulation of labor, one 22-pound shovel at a time.

But in this new century, as the wheels have come off of the Industrial Revolution, it’s hard to take the measure of modern motivation and morale. Motivation, and even morale, have become individualistic and based, not in professional loyalty, but instead in social public display. Many people—employers and employees alike—have come to understand, without saying out loud, that they have to be willing to abandon old notions of employee loyalty, and even work ethic in order to advance in the workplace.

But many people don’t want to push their chips forward. Many people—employees and especially employers—don’t understand what they’re meeting in a future where motivation is exemplified through doing things that don’t show up on a resume and that don’t scale immediately. Many employees, and employers, feel as though they are putting their souls at hazard.

And as more technology replaces human motivation (which is a trait, not a state) and human morale (which is about the soft skills of team development, rather than the hard skills of work ethic and loyalty and—increasingly—intelligence) becomes less interesting to employers as a trait to develop, many more people are going to choose to not be a part of this world.

Which will inevitably lead to conflict, which may come burnished with the patina of the 20th century language of social justice, equality, and overall restlessness, but underneath will be about motivation, intelligence, access, talent, and even the ability to engage in emotional labor.

Rather than continuing to seek in vain the next 22-pound shovel.

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