We all know how miserable the fractionalized factory work of the traditional manufacturing industry was-and still is. And this factory-style of work was transferred into the office, too, each person doing a tiny repetitive task, without any sense of its relationship to the whole, without any pride of skill or craft, without any opportunity for discretion or creativity. But it is precisely these jobs-these forms of dehumanized work-that are drying up. The key to the future of work is the recognition that routine, repetitive, fragmented work is no longer efficient. It is already outmoded in the high technology nations. So those kinds of jobs will continue to decline, no matter what companies, unions and governments do. Work was brutal and miserable in Second Wave industries even when these industries were highly profitable. In fact, the brutality of the work contributed directly to the profits. The harder you sweated people, the more money you made.
Third Wave companies don`t increase profits by sweating their employees. They don`t succeed by working harder, but by working smarter. And when the Third Wave companies get into trouble, it`s because of a badly designed product, inadequate marketing, poor organization, or other reasons. It isn`t because their employees are sweating inadequately. The challenge that will face all of us is how to deal with rapidly rising levels of social, cultural, political, and technological diversity – not uniformity. And the younger generation is proving to be far more individualistic, less willing to sacrifice itself for the corporation or nation than the older generation.