Many young professionals and mid-career changers are leaving lucrative fields to find more meaningful work. They say their jobs don’t seem to matter; I’ve worked with hundreds of lawyers who don’t feel like their work is important or useful to others. In many cases, they’re not exaggerating.
Frans de Waal, renowned primatologist, gives an elegant talk on how our instinct for moral relationships is built on the basic instincts of reciprocity and empathy for other’s well-being. Many social animals, especially us humans, are hard-wired to do good work and get paid fairly for it. The need to serve others is a primitive social instinct, not a learned behavior unique to humans.
Recent college grads who now find themselves waiting tables for pay that doesn’t seem fair in comparison to other college-educated people, may get a big laugh here. To see the famous “I don’t want no stinking cucumber” experiment (my phrase), fast forward the video to 12:30 minutes.