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.