Not at Cantor Fitzgerald, of course. Presumably Jason Rok (pictured left, and apologies for the poor quality pic) continues to get paid in dollars in his day job. But on Saturday he spends his day—a sixteen hour shift—in the kitchen of Gotham where his only compensation is a . And while he may be a big shot at Cantor Fitzgerald, he’s the low-level help at Gotham—only recently graduating from a two year stint during which his only task was peeling potatoes.
Removing skin from miniature fingerling potatoes is not the Type-A recreation normally associated with executive downtime, such as high-intensity sports or mastering a foreign language. However, Erik Rosegard, associate professor of leisure studies at San Francisco State University, says that doing mundane tasks frees the mind and makes better employees. "Brain research shows innovation is spawned when our mind is not cluttered. Peeling a carrot relaxes us; doing it in an environment you enjoy and find motivating is even better for creativity," he says. Jason agrees: "It is physically demanding, but at the end of the day there is a sense of accomplishment. It's a good way to get rid of what's bothering you."
Not getting paid for the 16-hour shift is another important component to Jason's joy factor. The intrinsic motivation to take part in an activity for its own sake, and not for power or a paycheck, allows for pure enjoyment, says Prof. Rosegard. "As soon as you make a career of your leisure activity that gets lost."
We know exactly what the good professor means. We once tried to make a career out of our leisure activities, but since these mostly consisted of drinking and being idle, it never really got us anywhere.
He Works for Beer: A Trader's Saturday Shift [Wall Street Journal]