Do you know what German philosopher Karl Marx and American anarchist Bob Black have in common?
Shared convictions such as the critique of work, its abolition, or opposition to meaningless work or to work in a capitalist system.
And you know who used their philosophy as the groundwork to act against the unhealthy emphasis on the importance of work?
The anti-work community. You might not have heard of it, but it might just be the future of work.
Recently, MyPerfectResume conducted a study to explore attitudes towards the movement and its followers. Here’s what was discovered.
The Secrets Behind Anti-work
In 2013, a group of job-haters created a subreddit dubbed “Antiwork: Unemployment for all, not just the rich!”. Driven by their job dissatisfaction, they decided to speak about poor working conditions, unsatisfactory wages, and the purpose of work. By sharing their own experience, they aimed to help those trapped and exploited in their jobs.
Job dissatisfaction turned into a desire to change the system. With the economic situation changing for the worse, rising inflation, and wage stagnation, the community gradually gained more and more followers. Employees at some point realized that work wouldn’t love them back. Neither did their boss. So they stopped sacrificing their lives and quit their jobs, joining the anti-work movement.
So, as of today, anti-work consists of about 1.8 million supporters. And it’s no longer just an online group on a popular forum. We’re dealing with a movement that changes the work system as we know it.
Anti-work in Numbers
According to the MyPerfectResume study, 69% of respondents knew that the anti-work community is active in the US. They were also more or less familiar with the theories they preach. That in itself should be a wake-up call to employers struggling with employee retention.
Also, 48% of research participants were members of the movement. Of all women taking part in the research, 48% belong to this community. The percentage of the men is the same, 48% were anti-work adherents.
Interestingly membership varied according to education, with 58% of Master’s or Doctorate degree-holders claiming membership, compared to just 18% without a degree.
Anti-work also has its supporters amongst different regions. Amongst people living in the West, 59% admit being part of it. The numbers are smaller when it comes to the Southwest (48%), Northeast and Southeast (47%), or Midwest (39%).
When it comes to seniority, its members are divided into two groups—people who joined the anti-work community 12 months ago or less (38%), and those who became its members 2 to 3 years ago (38%). The rest are members with 3 years or more of seniority in the anti-work ranks.
It’s also clear that anti-work isn’t t a marginal movement. This community will undoubtedly attract new members. 1 in 5 people who are not part of the anti-work movement intends to join it.
But why did they quit their jobs and decide to join the anti-work movement?
- Job dissatisfaction
- Too many working hours for too little pay
- Feeling like a slave to the economic system.
Sound familiar? As the anti-work movement proves, you’re not alone.
You don’t necessarily have to subscribe to a particular theory to be an anti-work member. Its members come from across the political spectrum, as you’ll discover soon.
Anti-work Theories in Practice
The anti-work movement is not a political party. Its members do not share one common, standardized, and predetermined view. Followers hold different views. Some believe in romantic ideals while others are more controversial in their convictions. But what they have in common is a negative work experience.
According to the survey:
- 65% of respondents said they work only for financial reasons.
- 60% concluded that a work-free life is achievable.
- 54% believed that work is modern slavery.
- 53% wanted to abolish work.
- 48% doubted the purpose of work.
So why work at all if it makes us unhappy?
Well, the research also proved that:
- 73% were satisfied with their jobs.
- 68% believed that work gives life meaning.
- 66% agreed that lack of employment would negatively affect them.
So maybe something isn’t wrong with the work itself but with the system? Probably. And anti-work members noticed that. Behind the surface layer of work abolition, there is a protest against an abusive economic system designed to produce wealth for the few. There is an attempt to achieve a work-life balance.
After all, society does need people to be productive, carry out essential tasks, and be able to support themselves.
Are Politics Involved?
Yes, they are, but perhaps not in the way you’d expect. Anti-work isn’t just a left-wing phenomenon.
Democrats, Republicans, and independent-leaning are all members of the anti-work movement. Despite differences in political views. As much as 53% of Democrats and 50% of Republican respondents said they’d joined anti-work. At the same time, only 36% of all independent-leaning respondents decided to do the same.
As Doreen Ford, moderator of the anti-work subreddit, once said: “We have people who are anarchists, people who are Communists, people who are social Democrats, people who like Bernie, people who like Andrew Yang … there’s lots of different kinds of leftists.”
But they still don’t agree, even when it comes to anti-work theories.
For example, 56% of Democrats and 48% of Republicans “would join strikes that support the theories of anti-work,” while only 36% of independent-leaning would do so.
While 58% of Democrats and 54% of Republicans believe that “we should advocate for the abolition of work,” only 36% of independent-leaning agree.
76% of Democrats and 74% of Republicans admit that “work is a value itself.” This belief is also shared by 60% of independent respondents.
It seems like independent-leaning respondents are most skeptical about anti-work. Compared to Republicans or Democrats, they are the most critical about anti-work. However, at the same time, they aren’t convinced that work is a value in and of itself.
But perhaps their skepticism comes from the present-day economic conditions or work-centered societies.
Either way, no one can deny that diversity of opinion is critical.
The Power of Work Satisfaction
Many factors contribute to job satisfaction, including salary, personal growth, recognition, possibilities of promotion, and working culture. Employee satisfaction is an essential ingredient of every well-prepared retention program. Why? Because satisfied and happy employees don’t quit their jobs. And therefore, they are less willing to join the anti-work movement.
Can we describe the level of work satisfaction of American workers as relatively high? Of course. And surprisingly, the respondents were satisfied with their jobs.
Take a look at some statistics. 77% of survey-takers liked their job, 75% maintained a healthy work-life balance, while 73% declared their job satisfies them.
At the same time, 68% believed that work gives life meaning, while 64% admitted they care about their career fulfillment. Moreover, 64% were also satisfied with their monthly salary.
The survey-takers probably wouldn’t plan to change their job, a much better opportunity arose.
However, it doesn’t mean that they would not change jobs. Because they would if:
- The boss/manager was toxic (73%).
- The job disrupted work-life balance (64%).
- The job stopped giving satisfaction (58%).
Changing jobs isn’t always all about the money. Sometimes it’s about the company environment or the degree of mental comfort within it.
Even if we don’t see it at first glance, work actually provides value and meaning. Career fulfillment makes us feel proud. Work allows for social interaction and therefore fulfills our social needs.
Research on anti-work may give us clues into the general population’s broader opinions and perceptions of work. And for sure, it proved something, as it showed that people’s job satisfaction levels vary and therefore influence their anti-work sentiments. Our motivation to abolish work is not laziness or lack of ambitions. Anti-work underlines that “We’re not against the effort, labor, or being productive. We’re against jobs as they are structured under capitalism and the state: Against exploitative economic relations, against hierarchical social relations at the workplace.”
Is there one particular recipe for work-related happiness? Probably not, but there are some great pieces of advice.
As Steve Jobs said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it”.
Let’s get to work on that recipe.
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!