Recently, we often see these words; “Reform of Working Practices”, “Diversity”, “Corporate Governance”, “Elimination of Job Hunting Schedule”, etc. It can be said that the social concepts of “Work”, such as how to work, how a company should be, the rules for job hunting and job change, are changing.
This is a story about “Working”. Specifically, I will explain that a vision that “everyone can work happily and meaningfully by evaluating work which has been out of the spotlight” is becoming reality.
What is Work?
It is a question often asked in an interview for job hunting or career change; What is “Work” for you?
Maybe many people think “I have no choice but to work to earn living expenses”, for your family, or for your life…, even though you don’t want to work if possible. Of course, I believe work can be enjoyable and delightful, not painful all the time. However, most of the time, you have to work against your preference under stress.
What is Necessary Work for the World?
There are various ways of thinking about work, and there are many jobs that have not been valued. For example, housekeeping, caregiving for old parents, listening and giving an advice for someone, etc. These are indispensable work for “someone”.
Although such work is necessary in the world, currently it is done without compensation. As long as it is not operationalized like a domestic helper or nursing-care facility, it is volunteer work.
Shadow Work & Unpaid Work
The meaning of the words “Shadow Work” and “Unpaid Work” is the work necessary for human life but not being paid, such as domestic labor.
Shadow Work and Unpaid Work are often used in the same meaning, but to be exact, they have different meanings. Unpaid Work is “work without compensation”, and Shadow Work is “work which is necessary for life, but no pay”.
Specific examples of Unpaid Work are, as introduced in the previous section, domestic labor, childcare, caregiving for elder people (parents), local volunteer activities and so on. According to the estimate by the Economic Planning Agency of Japan, for example, domestic labor including childcare can be 4.1 million yen worth per year, and this labor should be paid wages originally.
However, housewives who are doing childcare don’t receive 4.1 million yen as compensation, and they are working unpaid.
Shadow Work includes, for example, commuting to work. It is necessary for living, but wages are not paid for this part.
If we wanted to pay for these labor, the government would pay with the legal currency (Yen), but realistically it is impossible. In that case, the subsidization by the government would be enormous and Japan would suffer financial collapse.
Evaluation of Unpaid Work and Shadow Work Leads to the Achievement of SDGs
How would the world change if we assign values on Unpaid Work and Shadow Work? Although it cannot be evaluated in the legal currency, there are many cases that it can be extremely valuable for some people. For example, if you succeed in love by someone’s advice, its value is priceless.
Also, it is greatly appreciated if you have urgent matter and have to ask babysitter, then your neighbor takes care of your child for a few hours. In other cases, if you teach your skills to others, they will receive great benefits from you. In fact, this also leads to international goals.
“Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs) is a set of international development goals from 2016 to 2030, which was adopted by the UN Sustainable Development Summit held in 2015. And one of the goals is “Decent Work for All”. Decent Work here means “human-friendly work that is worthwhile”.
In other words, it is said that creating “worthwhile” work is important in the world. And one of the measures can be adding value to Unpaid Work and Shadow Work. For those which cannot be paid in the legal currency, you can evaluate and pay Community Currency, etc. Then they will be valuable jobs.
If Unpaid Work can be evaluated and paid enough, one of the SDGs will also be realized. That is what I mean the world where “everyone can work happily and meaningfully by evaluating work which has been out of the spotlight”.
The form of work and how you work are changing drastically. Generating compensation for Unpaid Work and Shadow Work by Community Currency can create “worthwhile work”. If a lot of “worthwhile work” will be created in the world, you may be able to live an exciting life every day.