In my last corporate job, as the CEO of cloud-based call center LiveOps, I was hired to scale a start-up company to become a mature, fast-growing, operationally excellent technology company, but something else unexpected happened. I began to see how big of a problem work has become for most of us, and how much we could change to make it better. I learned about how many people were unhappy and unfulfilled and was eager for an alternative way that would give them more control over their lives.

This dissatisfaction was widespread—and alarming. One survey found that less than half of Americans (just 47 percent) are satisfied with their work.1 (When the Conference Board's first survey was conducted in 1987, most workers—61 percent—said ...

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