fbpx Skip to main content

; be autonomous

director's statement;

John Webster

The Happy Worker

Many of my close friends worked for Nokia – from the glory days through the decline and Microsoft takeover to the bitter end of the Nokia mobile story. They loved their work and the people they worked with and, for a time, they felt great pride in the company they worked for. So I experienced closely – though second-hand – how these motivated and talented people were made miserably daily and their potential wasted by shamefully bad top management and corporate claptrap.

Ten years later the collapse of Nokia’s mobile industry is still a bit of a trauma for many Finns. And a mystery: how can a company who could attract the best and the brightest fail so spectacularly? And did we learn anything from it?

The Nokia-story is not just a one-off: I know many people who love their work but hate their job, and I am sure there are hundreds of thousands of people who feel the same. The bullshitization of the workplace is a problem that is often overlooked, perhaps because those affected are primarily educated, white-collar workers who make good money; there are a lot of people worse off in the world. This doesn’t change the fact that people are very unhappy. It is an unnecessary suffering. And wasteful and tragic because it robs people of a sense that they are doing meaningful work.

My own children are now at the point where they are choosing their career paths. Making this film has made me painfully aware that the paradigm by which I was brought up and by which I too have brought up my children no longer holds true: further education does not guarantee job security. The traditional “good jobs” in medicine, finance and law are among the unhappiest. Wage stagnation over the past 30 years coupled with property speculation means that few millennials can afford – however hard they work – the foundation of a family: a home of their own.

It is clear that the way we work and how we prepare people for the workplace needs to change. That change is not an impossible pipe-dream: If there is one thing that the pandemic has taught us is that we are capable of making radical changes to the way we work. I hope this film can play its part in the discussion for change.

John Webster
The Happy Worker

Lees alle director's statements

Lees alle interviews