Employees who claim they only go to work to pay the bills are living a
shallow existence, claimed the director of futures of the Industrial Society at
a seminar in London last week.
At The Great Debate – Pleasure or Pain, Industrial Society head of futures
Richard Reeves told the 100 delegates that work is an essential part of a
person’s identity. Reeves said, "Our work is central to how we feel about
ourselves, so anybody who says ‘I work to live’, seems to be living a pretty
The debate was chaired by former employment minister Tessa Jowell, and she
explained that when she was at the DTI she preferred the idea of time
sovereignty to work-life balance or family-friendly policies.
Currently minister for culture, media and sport, she said, "A debate
about quality of work and the introduction of measures to define quality of
work can be a government policy as opposed to one which is driven by the
"We need to develop ways of looking at the quality of work – in terms
of opportunities for life-long learning, time sovereignty, freedom from
discrimination and safety."
Guardian columnist Madeleine Bunting disputed whether work should be central
to people’s lives. She said, "A full rich human life is made of many parts
and the idea of you just selling your soul to one particular skill that you
have seems to me a terrible waste."