As a sort of disclaimer I want to state that I am a believer, a huge believer. I have been an Apple fan from day one. As a matter of fact, I have never owned a Windows-operated machine. And I regularly preach the gospel of Apple to any that need digital counsel, bringing many into the fold.
But with Apple sitting on cash reserves of over $170 billion, I’ve got to ask, how much is enough?
It’s not that I don’t think they should be allowed to reap the rewards of their excellent design and production. It’s not that I think they shouldn’t be allowed to save for a rainy day (should the Apple Watch go belly up). It’s a much larger issue, a fundamental issue, I think. The issue is one of purpose—ultimate purpose.
We all know that the purpose of any corporation is to create a profit for its shareholders. Sure; this is part of the grand capitalist design. But along the way there are other, smaller, more life-affirming and significant purposes that can and should be pursued.
We’re living in a time were worker satisfaction is at an all-time low (Gallup reports about 13% of the global workforce is actively engaged in their work). I’ve never worked for Apple and so have only the anecdotal reports of people who have. But if I were someone being asked to pour my heart, soul, and labor into the next product, I would be asking myself Why? So that we can push this cash reserve over $200 billion?
There has to be a larger purpose to our professional efforts than just a financial return. Workers are crying out for this in the 21st century. A sense of growth in the human experience—not just financial but emotional and spiritual as well, a sense of balance to the professional and personal dimensions, a sense of helping others to achieve what we’ve achieved.
A quiet revolution is sweeping across our corporate world, one that’s slowly humanizing our work. Part of that revolution involves the analysis of why we do what we do, corporately. And the revolution is coming to some new conclusions, conclusions that go beyond the pursuit of profit, conclusions that lead to a healthier work environment, conclusions that consider the whole worker.