A good friend of mine is a corporate attorney in pristine, photo-ready, no-gum-on-the-sidewalks Singapore. The country sometimes feels more like a picturesque Orlando theme park than it does an Asian nation. It is unthinkable that a candy wrapper might fall to the street, and one can hardly find a flower drooping in a public park. It’s the only place I’ve ever been where it’s probably safe to eat off the ground. Singapore’s high-strung adherence to beauty and civil order is matched only by its stringent emphasis on work.
The importance and prominence of a disciplined work ethic is so deeply ingrained in this culture that it is expected families will employ at least one helper to care for family and home while both parents work full time jobs. A strong work force is critical to sustain this small-but-mighty country’s economy, and every worker matters. The life of a Singaporean is to be educated well, and then to work.
My Singaporean friend recently lamented to me, “I honestly don’t think work can be fulfilling.”
Bearing in mind that we both have relatively uninspiring jobs (let’s be honest that corporate legal work is about as thrilling as stock transfer work), it struck me how very different my outlook on work is. …