Posted earlier today to MercatorNet.com: ‘Rise and Grind’: on the pathology of work.
I read a book many years ago entitled On the Theology of Work. It impressed me. I might go further and say that it was part of a process which set me on a road in which my vision of life and its purpose led me to a very good place.
However, now, in the 21st century, it seems that another book is called for. We still need that earlier book but more urgently we seem to need a book entitled “On the Pathology of Work”.
A cri de coeur came from Erin Griffith writing in the New York Times last weekend about a rather frightening world of work apparently unfolding before us now. She described a new culture of work and the workplace, “obsessed with striving, relentlessly positive, devoid of humor, and — once you notice it — impossible to escape. ‘Rise and Grind’ is both the theme of a Nike ad campaign and the title of a book by a ‘Shark Tank’ shark.”
This new culture glorifies ambition not just as a means to an end, but as a lifestyle, an end in itself.
Life for the younger generation immersed in this culture, she explains, is just about ambition, grit and hustle – everything of value about work comes from this striving. It is a culture in which work is about engaging in “a sweat session that sends your endorphins coursing … a vision which “expands your way of thinking.”
Work for its disciples never really stops and they don’t want it to stop because it is the source of their rapture.
When these people take exercise it is only to ensure that they can continue to get their highs on the job; if they take time off to relax with music it is a necessary evil – because if they don’t they might underperform in the job.
The evangelists of this new culture don’t say this, but in fact their model of work is a drug on which you get high and the more you engage with it on this level, the more you need to. It is a one-way ticket to “workaholism”.
Is this not just one other symptom of our age falling victim to excess?
Read the full post here.