The biscuit factory
This is a true story. Some years ago the following exchange was broadcast on an Open University sociology TV programme.
An interviewer was talking to a female production-line worker in a biscuit factory. The dialogue went like this:
Interviewer: How long have you worked here?
Production Lady: Since I left school, about 15 years.
Interviewer: What do you do?
Production Lady: I take packets of biscuits off the conveyor belt and put them into cardboard boxes.
Interviewer: Have you always done the same job?
Production Lady: Yes.
Interviewer: Do you enjoy it?
Production Lady: Oooh yes, it’s great, everyone is so nice and friendly, we have a good laugh.
Interviewer (with a hint of disbelief): Really? Don’t you find it a bit boring?
Production Lady: Oh no, sometimes they change the biscuits…
Don’t assume that the things that motivate you will motivate someone else and recognise that sources of happiness may vary widely between people.
Adapted from Business Balls: ethical work and life learning website