The tools are immaterial, the resulting piece is what's most important.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Why do we work hard?

There remains this enormous and wicked sociocultural myth. It is this: Hard work is all there is. Work hard and the world respects you. Work hard and you can have anything you want. Work really extra super hard and do nothing else but work and ignore your family and spend 14 hours a day at the office and make 300 grand a year that you never have time to spend, you sublimate your soul to the corporate machine and enjoy a profound drinking problem and sporadic impotence and a nice mini-mansion you never spend any time in, and you with your shiny BMW M6 Coupé will get into heaven.

Why do we dedicate so many of our waking and sometimes sleeping hours to our job, often to the cognizant exclusion of friends, family, and other loved ones? Most of us said we felt we have put in too many hours for a good work - life balance but, if we knew that, why carry on doing it? Was it just the protestant work ethic?

The main reason seemed to be job satisfaction . There is no satisfaction in doing a job badly so rather than be unsatisfied we chose to over work. If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right. Is it worth working till you break down?

And what will the best solution? Like I’d know! However, being more fully aware of the options and consequences and asking the right questions is a good place to start. So, if we are overworked, ask the question "Why am I doing this?" Reasons like "Because I have to" isn’t a valid answer.

Although I already sound like an agony aunt and this will make it more so, if you are in a relationship and work is an issue then try and talk the questions through together. Nothing beats going back home to the people you love at the end of the day.

Make a promise to sit down to dinner with your family and love ones each night. Not only does this force you to break your work-focus, but it also means sitting down to a relaxed meal with the people who love and need you.

So, why do we work hard? When will be the time that we actually need to pull the plug and cool down a little?

Or should we just call it quit?

I will leave that to you.


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