How Can You Miss Something You Never Had?

I use both Android and iOS devices in my daily life, mostly to keep up with both platforms so that I have an informed opinion, which is important as someone who writes about technology for a living. Recently, I switched my SIM card from a OnePlus 2 Android phone to an iPhone 7.

Leaving Android for iOS has been painful.

The notifications on Android are superior, in my opinion. They appear at the top of the screen, much like icons in the Start Menu bar on Mac computers. Plus, on the OnePlus, there's an option to have a different color light softly blink when you receive a new notification, and you can color code the light to various apps. When I see a yellow light, I know I have a SnapChat notification. Blue means I have a text message. Purple is for email. When the phone is plugged into power, the indicator light turns a solid green when the battery is 100 percent full.

If you've never used an Android phone, chances are you don't care. You don't miss any of these features because you never had them. Often when we don't know what we are missing, we don't care.

And that's fine. It's good even! When we feel content with the products and services we use, we should not let companies lure us into buying new products based on what we are theoretically missing. (Although, that's really the crux of advertising, isn't it, the promise of having a better life that, until this moment, you didn't realize you don't have?)

In any event, the job of a technology reviewer, which is in part my profession, is to tell you about these features when they are worth having. Does having this thing that I didn't even know existed until just now bring me greater happiness or satisfaction or ease? It's a reviewer's job to tell you whether the advertising delivers.

I've come to prefer having the color-coded LED notifications, and menubar widgets, and more responsive on-screen keyboard. But if you've never had them, you aren't missing out on much.

Are We Responsible for Our Motivation at Work?

Over on, where I've been writing, I raised the question, "Who is responsible for your motivation?"

I found myself asking this question while reading research about motivation at work. As recently as the 1960s, people believed that if you wanted to change worker motivation, you had to change the job. If workers aren't motivated, it's because the work is tedious or boring, and if it's boring then  workers don't have a strong psychological connection to it. They don't feel responsible for it. They aren't experiencing any personal growth doing it. They don't get much recognition for it.

That sentiment started to shift in the 1970s. Researchers started thinking more about the relationship between the work and the worker. They asked questions about the meaningfulness of work, not just in the work itself but as experienced by the worker.

Today, the general attitude (as opposed to the stance in academic research) as I see it puts all the emphasis on the worker. I suspect this change is in part due to the increase of knowledge work, particularly in the developed world. In any event, the feeling today is that you are responsible for your motivation. It never seems to be the job's fault that you don't feel motivated. Even when a knowledge worker feels disconnected from and bored by her work, the prevailing attitude is that she needs to buck up and motivate herself to care more about the work.

In the knowledge work arena, we may be overdue for a reexamination of when we need to change the work rather than the worker, to increase motivation on the job.