With the rise in AI and automation, the million-dollar question is ‘what will we do, if not work?’ Around the world, many people find their sense of purpose through work. People ask us ‘what do you do?’ and we answer only with our jobs, not our hobbies or anything else.
The psychological impact of loss of employment is of great concern. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs demonstrates that we need self-actualisation to be fulfilled. Self-actualisation can encompass many things, including a sense of purpose. Psychologists have shown that a loss of purpose is one of the core elements leading to depression in unemployed individuals. Unemployment threatens Maslow’s hierarchy of needs from the top down: reducing self-esteem, straining relationships and threatening safety and basic physiological needs in the worst cases. Therefore, it is imperative that a sense of purpose is replaced in a post-work era. But where will we find this purpose?