Work As Expressions Of Pj Problems

Peter Oye Sagay

Physicists define work as follows: force x distance -------> (1)

The force in equation (1) must be applied over a definite distance otherwise no work is done in the physics sense. For example, pushing a wheel barrow filled with sand from one point to another is work. However, no work is done if the wheel barrow remains stationary despite a push. Clearly, equation (1) is an expression of Pj Problems since it is a product of force and distance covered (a manifestation of motion). Many jobs easily fit into this definition of work, that is, the force applied and the distance covered while applying the force can be easily determined. However, many jobs, especially, the so called white collar professional jobs do not fit easily into this definition. These jobs are usually sedentary and performed in offices with minimal application of physical forces that are not applied over significant distances. So why are they considered to be work?

Physical laws are consistent. So, for white collar jobs to be considered as work, they must be described to fit the definition of work in physics. In other words, there must be force and distance components in the work done by workers who are seemingly not applying physical forces over definite distances in the course of their work.

The force component is mental force. The distance component is material change.

Mental force is basically intellectual ability. Material change has to do with the change brought about by the application of the mental force. This change is equivalent to the distance component in the definition of work in physics since distance is a continuum of changes in coordinates. In other words, distance is essentially change. The materiality of material change implies that the work is only considered productive if the change is material to the entity for whom the work is done. For example, an employer would consider an employee to be productive if the change brought about by the application of the mental force of an employee is material or beneficial to his or her business.

Let us examine a specific example. Suppose a business owner employs an accountant to prepare the balance sheet and income statement for her business. The business owner gives the accountant the data and information he needs. The accountant applies his mental force and pepares a balance sheet and income statement from the data. If the balance sheet and income statement are acceptable to the business owner, the accountant has done payable work. He has used his mental force to transform the data given him into a material change, the balance sheet and income statement. When an employee's work results in a material change for the employer, the employee is entitled to payment for the work.

In this definition of work, all paid workers are essential, albeit there are levels of essentiality. In other words, no employee being paid for his or her work is non-essential in that work environment. An environment with paid non-essential workers is a poorly designed work environment.

In general, when the worker is a human being, the force in the definition of work is a composite of physical force, mental force and spiritual force. The dominant force at play in the course of a given work depends on the nature of the work. For example, pastors, priests and bishops would be less effective in their work without spiritual force. Mathematicians, actuaries, scientists, doctors, engineers, lawyers, accountants, etc, would be ineffective in their work without mental force.

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