one way to find happiness at work might be to realise that some of us were normatively oppressed by our unconscious desire to be as rich and fatuously powerful as the boss? Sennett is sceptical: "'Can we be happy at work?' is the wrong question. It's about how to live a dignified life and not get caught up in the same shit as before."…
In his book The Craftsman, Sennett argues that the desire to do a job well for its own sake offers a template for living. At best the craftsman, having learned a fulfilling skill he or she relishes using, is as respected and self-actualised as Maslow would have liked. Sennett is writing about anyone who works: a parent, a software designer or a postal worker can be as skilled as a wheelwright or a violinist. Yet that view is incendiary: "We do not think of parenting, for instance, as a craft in the same sense as plumbing, even though becoming a good parent requires a high degree of learned skill."
In a few short minutes I'd observed many of the common reactions to frustration during stress. While each of the responses might be psychologically useful, one came out the clear winner. What would life be like if more of us offered to hold the baby?
…In situations in which we may have no positional authority — we're not the leader, we don't have all the information, we can't make the decisions, we aren't in control — we still have power: the power to influence our own experience and, sometimes, the experiences of others. Holding the baby gives us something useful to do. It makes us and others feel good. It might even help solve the problem. What's important is to remember that it's always a choice.