What Am I Doing at Work?
Today, a friend mentioned in an email that he
was having one of those introspective, "What am I
doing at work?" days. Who among us can't relate to
such a sentiment? We spend much of our lives
withering away in cubicles, pressing phones to our
ears and talking nonsense in meetings. If we're
lucky enough to have a window, we gaze longingly at
the tree outside; if not, we stare at the nature
scene on the wall calendar. We fantasize about
exploring back roads or hiking to a waterfall while
balancing budgets and writing marketing plans.
Though people like Henry David Thoreau and John
Muir are proof that such "What am I doing at work?"
days are nothing new, I think Thoreau would find
"quiet desperation" a wholly inadequate
characterization of our present-day lifestyles.
I've written before about
how few vacation days Americans take on average.
The more "connected" this world becomes, the more
"disconnected" we're becoming. The more modern
conveniences we develop to make our lives "easier,"
the "harder" our lives in actuality become. With
each passing day, the "small stuff" multiplies like
bacteria, pushing away the "big stuff" until it's
out of our reach.
Such lives of "ear-splitting desperation" serve
as fodder for mid-life crises, gratuitous SUV
purchases and year-long sabbaticals. More and more
often, you hear about people giving up the rat race
and grabbing the reins of their lives. They trade
in their PDAs for PTAs, their keyboards for
carabiners, their first-class flights for
third-world missions. I'm no exception. Two years
ago, barely a day went by when I didn't touch base
with a client; now, barely a day goes by when I
don't touch a dolphin.
Will we reach a crisis level sometime this
century, when people start dropping out of society
like the victims of an epidemic? Or will we finally
take a lesson from most of the other civilized
countries of the world, learn to take more vacation
time and, for God's sake, turn off that cell phone
every now and then? All work and no play doesn't
just make John a dull boy, it makes him a freakin'
Strickland ALL RIGHTS