Division of labour was created to hero every man’s greatest talents in an efficient and orderly manner. However, these intended effects have backfired and instead, we have become a race of unhappy machines obsessed with output and efficiency. To say we have fallen short of our goal is an understatement.
Division of labour causes segregation in society by promoting direct conflict between individuals. Individuals in brtter regarded streams of specialised occupations look down on their peers in less well regarded job streams. Likewise, those in the less well regarded job streams feel ashamed of their chosen occupation and become defensive about their choice in career. We become individual competitors in a race to achieve those “better” job streams so we can be the most well-regarded in society. This false sense of competition, focusing on individual success, has resulted in “a war of every man against every man” as Hobbes once said. We see our peers no longer as peers but rather as competitors. To worsen things, the idea of the individual has transcended beyond the boundaries of just their company, and has become a way of interacting in society. We fail to see our fellow man as a human but instead, we picture them with a resume attached to their face, listing their job titles.
Additional conflict arises from making the wrong career choices. When we graduate and realise that the degree we have chosen is not the occupation we would like to pursue, we are conflicted within and shunned by our peers. Not going down a specialist path is seen as being ‘lost,’ ‘confused’ or lazy in the eyes of society. This tends to make the individual feel less connected with their peers and more alone when facing career challenges. As a result, we are often punished for making bad career choices. Cross disciplinary movement between fields is discouraged through arbitrary parameters such as testing and obtaining qualifications which are both time consuming and expensive. This makes it harder for the individual to change careers and works to maintain the structure of divided occupations.
Despite Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to stress that “all men are equal”, our actions have failed to reflect this ideology. People are left feeling like their choice in occupation defines their class in society.
A good example would be entry into medical school. For professionals seeking to make a career change into medicine, candidates are required to sit an extremely time consuming and expensive assessment exam, which only occurs twice a year in limited locations. As a result of the high costs and the large amount of time required to sit this test, most people do not follow their passions in medicine and instead, they remain within their initial disciplines and become increasingly unhappy and dissatisfied. The idea of a career change later in life is not common and people deem it as “too late”. This segregation in societies ultimately leads to conflict both within ourselves and with other people.
In an attempt to combat worker dissatisfaction, a larger number of jobs have been created to satisfy the individual’s need to have a niche. Despite these efforts, all it has done is create such an abundance of jobs so as to make it confusing to those entering the employment system. There is not enough time in a lifetime to test the various careers out and so we end up settling for a specialty that doesn’t suit us.
We have evolved to become more like machines in the system, devoid of thought, and without passion but with greater output than every before. Ultimately, we choose money and success over passion and a life. We have failed to hero man’s greatest ability which is the capacity to imagine, think and feel compassion.
Division of labour and specialisation was not designed with ill intention. Instead, it was designed to allow the individual freedom to pick exactly their own interest and pursue their dreams. But this dream was not achieved, it has instead created a segregated society, competition and a decreased sense of unity in a new, barbaric age.