Why we no longer like to work

Unmotivated by the lack of recognition, stressed by schedules of executioners, worn out by office wars: our relationship to work is struck by the seal of disillusionment. So, passenger disenchantment against a backdrop of economic crisis, or radical break?

Marie Duaygues Anne-Laure Gannac

Have you ever dreamed that the order of the week is miraculously reversed and the work time reduced to weekends only? Do you regularly feel like a truant? The words "sabbatical year" make you everything? Ah ... you too!

"I / ne / want / not / work, I do not want ..." Four years after its success, the melody of Pink Martini still rings in every head. And, as soon as we talk about the possibility of delaying the retirement age, there are hordes of employees on the street ready to bite. "We are in a society of petanzers!" grumbles Jacques Barrot, president of the UMP group in the National Assembly. Even the Prime Minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, is alarmed at the "decay of the value work" in France and ordered a report to the Economic and Social Council on its place in society.

Have we definitely lost the taste for hard work? Between discomfort and resignation, the discomfort is in any case well established, and confirmed by many employees and observers.

Frustration on every floor

Every morning, I go backwards to work, I'm sorry Corinne, 33, is a senior manager. I have been involved in my work for years, until I move into the category of managerial staff. All this to obtain a ridiculous promotion: an annualized and "fixed" (thus, no declared overtime ...) and a salary which, with equal seniority, is lower than that of a hypermarket cashier! Money has never been an engine for me. Only, I have the impression that instead of getting promotions, it is me who is on promotion! "

This young woman, already victim of multiple corporate restructurings, is on the verge of crisis of nerves. " The feeling of pleasure at work is increasingly thwarted by the hardening of working conditions - rates, deadlines, objectives increasingly difficult to meet - and the development of precarious status or the threat of dismissal, "says the philosopher Dominique Méda (in Labor, a value on the way to disappear on , Flammarion, 1998)

Mass unemployment broke the contract of trust Jeanne made the painful experience : "Eight years ago, I was fired for bankruptcy. I was 45 years old and I lived alone with a 17 year old teenager in my charge.I soon realized that, given my age, I had no chance of finding an indefinite contract in another company. So I chose to enter the hospital public service. But I have no future perspective. "For the employee, the work is no longer a safe haven but an anxiety-provoking factor, just look at the success of the books on stress and moral harassment. "Today, adds Jeanne, my demotivation is such that I do not invest more ... and I do not even feel guilty! The only solution would be to change lanes, but at age 53, it's unthinkable. I must accept feeling oppressed every Sunday night at the thought of going back to work the next day ... "But, often, sociologist Marc Loriol notes (in

The Time of Fatigue , Anthropos, 2000) , "the complaint of fatigue expresses the feeling that we have not been recognized at its fair value." This is what Corinne, our underpaid senior executive, explains clearly, but it took him a therapy of two years to express his frustrations. " What could motivate me? Finally, to feel that I can use my work to flourish, and that the salary I receive at the end of the month is what I really give of myself, my time and my energy. " Real life is elsewhere

Frustrated, because underemployed or overworked, but always abused in a company where the sword of Damocles dismissal hovers over all, the citizens take their distances and diversify their anchors. to travelpascher.com, the other on his agenda, the employee of the new millennium seems to be interested in many other things than his work.Vivre a year in Australia, engage in a humanitarian mission or, more modestly , gardening and take painting classes ... The dreams mentioned below resume aspire to become realities and everyone now claims his "balance" desires all the more legitimate as the 35 hours have given free time its nobility 70% of young executives cite the balance between work and private life as the first lever of motivation (In poll Louis-Harris for "Courrier Cadres-L'Express" with Apec, May 2003).

Pierre, 33, director of marketing projects, says he is ready to join this new generation of employees who, tired of office wars, no longer conceive of sacrificing their whole existence at work: "After many years of study I joined the creative service of a famous advertising company six years ago, I should be delighted, yet I am depressed! Working until impossible hours, having to ensure in front of its customers then that you are tired, feel that your colleague is waiting for the slightest opportunity to overtake you, I knew it was part of this job, but not that my life would boil down to that!I have not built anything in all these years, no family, nothing. The only solution would be to do like those people who change their lives and settle on the other side of the world. To escape stress, or simply live. "


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