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有什么比薪水还重要?一份你热爱的工作

更新时间:2016-8-4 18:26:59 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Incalculable Value of Finding a Job You Love
有什么比薪水还重要?一份你热爱的工作

Social scientists have been trying to identify the conditions most likely to promote satisfying human lives. Their findings give some important clues about choosing a career: Money matters, but as the economist Richard Easterlin and others have demonstrated, not always in the ways you may think.

社会科学家一直在试图确认哪些状况更有可能增强人们对生活的满意度。他们的发现为选择职业提供了一些重要的线索:金钱是很重要,但就像经济学家理查德·伊斯特林(Richard Easterlin)及其他研究人员所证明的,它在其中起到的作用并非你想象的那样。

Consider this thought experiment. Suppose you had to choose between two parallel worlds that were alike except that people in one had significantly higher incomes. If you occupied the same position in the income distribution in both — say, as a median earner — there would be compelling reasons for choosing the richer world. After all, societies with higher incomes tend also to enjoy cleaner air and water, better schools, less noisy environments, safer working conditions, longer life expectancy and many other obvious benefits.

可以把这看作一种思维试验。假设你必须在两个极其相似的世界之间做出选择,除了其中一个世界的人们收入高出许多之外,它们基本没什么差别。如果你在两个世界的收入分配区间中处于同样的位置——比如都是中等收入者——那你就有足够的理由选择更富裕的那个世界。毕竟,收入更高的社会多半也会有更洁净的空气和水,有更好的学校、噪音更小的环境、更安全的工作条件、更长的预期寿命以及其他许多明显的益处。

But context also matters. If you faced a choice between being a relatively low earner in a high-income society or being near the top in a society in which your income was lower in absolute terms, the answer would be less clear.

不过,背景也很重要。如果你面临的选项一个是高收入社会中的薪资相对低的人,另一个是收入接近社会顶端但实际数额比前者更低,答案就相对没那么明确了。

If the income difference was very small, being a top earner in the poorer world would probably be more satisfying. Your house would be smaller in absolute terms, but because it would be bigger than most other people’s, you would be more likely to regard it as adequate.

如果实际的收入差别非常小,那么做一个更贫穷社会里的顶层收入者可能会更让人满意。你的房子绝对面积会更小,但因为它比你所在社会其他大多数人的房子大,所以你更有可能认为它足够大。

It’s not just that more money doesn’t provide a straightforward increase in happiness. Social science research also underscores the importance of focusing carefully on the many ways in which jobs differ along dimensions other than pay. As economists have long known, jobs that offer more attractive working conditions — greater autonomy, for example, or better opportunities for learning, or enhanced workplace safety — also tend to pay less.

这里不只是说,更多的金钱不能直接地带来更多的幸福感。社会科学研究也强调把注意力放在工作形成差异的多种方式上,强调薪酬之外的其他方面的重要性。就像经济学家们早就知道的,当工作条件更具吸引力时,比如,自主权更大,有更好的学习机会,或更安全的工作场所,职位薪资往往更低。

One of the most important dimensions of job satisfaction is how you feel about your employer’s mission. Suppose you’re weighing two offers for jobs writing advertising copy: One is for an American Cancer Society campaign to discourage teenage smoking, the other for a tobacco industry campaign to encourage it.

职业满意度最重要的一个指标,是你对雇主的使命是否认同。假设你在衡量两个撰写广告文案的工作机会:其中一个是美国癌症协会(American Cancer Society)劝诫青少年不要吸烟的宣传,另一个是烟草行业鼓励吸烟的宣传。

If pay and other working conditions were identical, which job would you choose? I once posed this question to Cornell seniors about to enter the job market, and almost 90 percent said they would pick the American Cancer Society position. And when I asked them how much more the pro-tobacco job would have to pay before they would change their minds, they demanded an average salary premium of more than 80 percent.

如果二者薪酬和其他工作条件都一样,你会选哪个?我曾经把这个问题抛给即将进入职场的康奈尔大学(Cornell)大四学生,几乎90%的人表示他们会选择美国癌症协会那份工作。当我问支持烟草那份工作薪资高多少他们才会改变主意时,他们提出的薪资溢价平均高出80%。

These magnitudes make sense. When most people leave work each evening, they feel better if they have made the world better in some way, or at least haven’t made it worse.

这样的幅度有其道理。对大多数人而言,如果他们以某种方式让这个世界变得更好,或说至少没让世界变得更糟,每天晚上下班之时,他们感觉会更良好。

But moral satisfaction alone won’t pay the rent. You’ll be more likely to land a job that offers attractive working conditions and pays well if you can develop deep expertise at a task that people value highly. As the economist Philip Cook and I have argued, those who become really good at what they do are capturing a much larger share of total income in almost every domain, leaving correspondingly smaller shares available for others. Moral: Become an expert at something!

然而,单凭更多的道德满足感不足以支付房租。如果你能在人们高度重视的一项工作上具备很强的专业技能,那你找到工作条件吸引人、薪资优厚的工作的几率可能就会更大。就像经济学家菲利普·库克(Philip Cook)和我曾经提出的,那些对自己所做的事极其擅长的人,会从该行业的总体收入中拿走相当大的份额,而相应地给其余的人留下更小的一部分,在几乎每个行业都是如此。寓意是:成为某个领域的专家!

That’s obviously easier said than done. The psychologist K. Anders Ericsson and his co-authors have estimated that many thousands of hours of difficult practice are required for true expertise at any task. That’s why my first response when students seek advice on how to succeed is to ask whether any activity has ever absorbed them completely. Most answer affirmatively. I then suggest that they prepare themselves for a career that entails tasks as similar as possible to that activity, even if it doesn’t normally lead to high financial rewards. I tell them not to worry about the money.

显然,这说起来容易,做起来难。心理学家K·安德斯·埃里克森(K. Anders Ericsson)及其共同作者曾估计,要在某项工作上具备真正的专长,需要成千上万小时的艰苦练习。这也是为什么在学生向我征询有关如何获得成功的建议时,我的第一反应,是问他们有没有哪项活动让他们彻底地着迷过。大多数人的答案是肯定的。那么我就会建议,他们要找的职业,应该包含和这种活动尽可能接近的事务,然后为之做准备,哪怕这职业通常不会带来很高的金钱回报。我会告诉他们不要担心钱的问题。

My point is that becoming an expert is so challenging that you are unlikely to expend the necessary effort unless the task is one that you love for its own sake. If it is, the process will be rewarding apart from whether it leads to high pay.

我的观点是,成为专家非常具有挑战性,除非热爱那份工作本身,否则你不太可能付出必要的努力。如果是你本身就热爱的事情,且不论是否会带来高薪,做这件事的过程就能令人有所收获。

The happiness literature has identified one of the most deeply satisfying human psychological states to be one called “flow.” It occurs when you are so immersed in an activity that you lose track of the passage of time. If you can land a job that enables you to experience substantial periods of flow, you will be among the most fortunate people on the planet. What’s more, as the years pass, you will almost surely develop deep expertise at whatever it is you’ve been doing.

研究幸福的文献认为,最能让人深刻地感到满足的心理状态之一是人们所说的“流动”。在这种状态下,人完全沉浸在某项活动中,以至忽略了时间的流逝。若能找到一份能够让你经历大量流动的工作,你将会成为全世界最幸运的人之一。此外,不管你做的是什么工作,随着岁月的流逝,你几乎肯定会获得该领域的专业技能。

At that point, even if few people in any one location place high value on what you do, you may find that your services become extremely valuable economically. That’s because technology has steadily extended the geographic reach of those who are best at what they do. If even a tiny fraction of a sufficiently large group of buyers cares about your service, you may be worth a fortune.

那时,即便任何一个地方重视你工作的人都少之又少,你也可能发现自己的服务具有极高的经济价值。这是因为,科技逐步扩大了业界翘楚在地域上所能影响到的范围。在规模足够大的买家群体中,即便对你的服务感兴趣的只是其中很小一部分,你也可能值一大笔钱。

There is, of course, no guarantee that you’ll become the best at what you choose to do, or that even if you do you’ll find practical ways to extend your reach enough to earn a big paycheck. But by choosing to concentrate on a task you love, you’ll enjoy the considerable proportion of your life that you spend at work, which is much more than billions of others can say.

当然,并不能保证你就会成为所选领域的佼佼者,也不能保证成为相关领域的佼佼者后,你就能找到切实可行的途径,来扩大自己的影响范围,以便获得高额回报。但通过选择专注于做自己热爱的事,你便能享受占据自己人生相当一部分时间的工作,这样一来,你觉得幸福的时间就比多数人多得多了。

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