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(Ed Tech) Work as a Luxury Good
June 24, 2010 - 9:48pm

A classic thought experiment. If you won the lottery today, would you go to work tomorrow?

I'm betting that if you read this blog the answer will probably be "yes".

In educational technology we work incredibly hard. There is too much work and not enough of us. Too many projects. Not enough resources. Not enough hours in the day. But the work is lovely. We get to play at the place where learning and technology intersect. Two of the most dynamic aspects of the economy, the education and technology sectors, come together in our jobs.

Where else can you think about the iPhone 4 as a tool for new ways to learn, and get paid to come up with ideas? Where else can you have a reasonable chance of participating in a change in the way our kids will receive their college education's?

What does it mean when work becomes a luxury good? How does this change our relationship with our bosses, our institutions, and our colleagues? Does this mean that we will never retire? And what does that mean for the younger generation that we will not be making space for to join our educational technology community?

I don't think we are alone in educational technology in turning work into a luxury good. The best book on work I've read in the past couple of years is The New American Workplace. O'Toole and Lawler profiles companies, like the SAS Institute and Trek bicycles, that have figured out that one of the keys to profitably and productivity is to provide employees with equal measures of autonomy and support. In Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink profiles how companies can tap into employees inner motivations to set-up results only work environments that cause them to outperform their competition.

At some point the economists are going to have to re-think the divide between work and leisure.

What would you do tomorrow if you won the lottery today?


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