5 Reasons Work Stinks.

Work is drudgery.  Each morning I wake and feel pangs of disappointment- I need to do something I hate (wake up) so I can do something I hate even more (go to work).  No incentives, perks, personalities, or overtime pay can obscure my disgust at using such a large portion of my day to add so little value to the world.

In no particular order, here are a few random meditations on work (Note: in this article, “work” means those jobs many of us must do merely to pay the bills, having no connection to our life purposes or passions).

Work annoys.  The humor that drives Office Space (the movie) and the two versions of The Office (TV shows) assumes this simple fact.  The path to productive workplace output is fraught with a thousand hiccups, false starts, and details.  Each of these details seems too small to be problematic, and yet manages to prevent good workflow from happening.  Simply go to YouTube and type in, “office space printer” and you will see how deep a chord this concept touches.

Work forces awkward relationships.  Generally, most people spend their time with two major groups; family, whom they cannot chose but feel tied to by blood and common genes; and friends, whom they choose based on interests and complementary personalities.  Work simply uses the worst of both worlds.  It takes people who have no relational ties or similarity of interests, and forces them to spend more time together than they do with friends OR family.

Work steals time from pleasurable or charitable pursuits.  Naturally there are exceptions, but these are few.  Most people spend more of their time doing something they dislike than things that inspire them or make the world better (like writing for CAPC… or better yet, reading one of Carissa’s articles on CAPC!).

Work ties your emotions to items of little consequence.  It is sad and a little embarrassing that I tend to define a, “good,” day as one in which I sent out a few more e-mails, finished a few more projects, or avoided getting in trouble more than the day before.  Meanwhile, a “bad” day includes receiving blame for something not your fault, or accidentally deleting a file that should have been saved.  Focusing on minutia with all your time and intensity gives them an importance they did not earn, and separates them from their true context.  How can people grow in depth when joy and wrath hang in the balance of the balance sheet?

Work tires the mind, limiting its ability to appreciate and enjoy creation.  Put simply, a good book and a beautiful sunset are much harder to enjoy at the end of a too-long work day.

So why do we do work?  And how should a Christian regard its place in the world and in our lives?

We’ll discuss that in the next article.

About Ben Bartlett

Ben Bartlett lives in Louisville, Ky., with his wife and two terrific kids. His degree is in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy from Michigan State University, and he has a bunch of education from a bunch of other places with nothing official to show for it. He has taught high school speech and debate, worked for a congressman in Washington DC, and worked in the health and energy industries. He is interested in how pop culture, history, politics, and theology interact with the inner and community lives of individuals... which is weird because he now works as a business analyst. Few things make him happier than reading, discussing, and recommending books.

  • John Inman

    You sound like someone who actually has a job. Most of the time clergy/professor types glamourize work. They talk about calling and contribution to society and you can tell they’ve never had a real job(real as in not at a church or school).

  • http://www.benbartlett.blogspot.com Ben Bartlett

    You are correct, sir!

    As I prepare for ministry, I am actually deeply thankful for both the good and bad work experiences I’ve had- how can you identify with people trying to survive the rat race if you’ve never participated yourself?

    My job experiences include staff in a congressman’s office, a lobbying firm, a worker’s compensation company, and a health insurance company. Non-stop excitement, to be sure!

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Fun notes and pictures.

  • http://secretlatte.wordpress.com/ Secret Latte

    You’re right on all accounts, and I used to feel the same way about my (seemingly) useless jobs that only were there to pay the bills. I was truly miserable, until God hit me one day with the thought that I should treat my secular workplace as a mission field. Here were 14 people who had varying levels of misery, and none knew Jesus as their personal saviour.

    As I prayed daily for each of my coworkers and asked God for the divine appointments to share my faith, my attitude changed. While I found the job still lacking and extremely boring, I was excited about the possibility of at least doing something worthwhile for God’s kingdom while spinning my wheels at a dead-end job.

    I didn’t rush in with tracts or smacked foreheads with Bibles, and it took over 6 months before one coworker finally approached me. Eventually, several felt comfortable to initiate questions, and by the time I left the job, it was appropriate to give a Bible to one man who was seeking the most.

    It taught me to be ready, in season and out, as some of the questions came at the weirdest or most inopportune times. Coworker with cancer never approached me, but those who seemed more “together” in life often did want to talk about God. All in all, it was incredibly scary, but it made the situation much more worth it.

    Did all 14 give their lives to Christ in that time? Unfortunately, no. However, I did my best to show the loving, concerned Christ that lives in my life and wanted to live in theirs. And several let their judgment guard down, admitting that maybe Christians weren’t all that nutty. Since I’ve left the job, a woman coworker decided to start attending my home church in the States (I am currently in ministry in Western Europe), and she is bringing her entire family.

    Baby steps all around, but if I just treated the job as a paycheck and nothing more, I highly doubt any of the above would have happened.

    Secret Lattes last blog post..When Missionaries Leave on Bad Terms

  • http://www.benbartlett.blogspot.com Ben Bartlett

    Thanks for the thoughts, um… “Secret Latte.”

    I do agree with you that there is more to office life than painful boredom. Look for the next article! Thanks for the comment.

    Ben Bartletts last blog post..Fun notes and pictures.

  • Mong

    A most interesting article. You would appear to be awakening to the diabolical fact that in the modern world the tenets of Mammon permeate our very existance! Sirs, mesdames, may ye find some solace and fellowship here ….

    http://www.idlefoundation.net


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X