Friday, November 6, 2015

When Did Enjoying Life Become Evil?

On our way back from Europe, as I've mentioned, we stopped in Chicago to acclimate and spent the night at a hotel by the airport. This was a very business person's oriented hotel. They filled the restaurant next to the lobby, they were waiting for shuttle's and rides, and at the reception/check-out desk. What a grim, grim lot they were men and women. All staring at their devices -thumbs and fingers a working. Nothing showing up on a device prompted a smile. No smiles when talking to serving people or the folks at the desk, or the shuttle driver. Just grim looks saying, "I'm a worker. I'm serious. I don't have time for frivolity". Even if you tried to engage someone who was not on their device in conversation you'd only get the tersest of replies. I don't think even in my most type A days that I didn't try to enjoy myself during my work days.

But it has become a badge of honor at least among those older than the millennials that work should be grim and it should be all the time. Certain companies like Amazon have turned this into their driving culture. Work IS important. If people don't work we don't eat, we don't have clean water, we don't have roads, we don't on and on and on. Existence is built on work. But does that mean we have to take this totally artificial attitude that work must be grim and that we must sacrifice everything to it? If we lived in a subsistence economy, we'd have no choice but work all the time. But we are fortunate to live in a time and place when that is not the case. Shouldn't we honor the gift given to us by having some gratitude and joy about where we're at?

Gratitude and joy are important emotions. Without them people become fanatics. We rue all the fanatics around us who are ready to kill. Maybe we should be ruing all the fanatics around us who won't let us appreciate the blessings we have received.


terri said...

It's a sad statement about the type of world in which we live, I think. I have always, for the most part, really enjoyed the work I do at my current company. I've always considered myself lucky to have been placed in such a great situation, but maybe.... it's just that I can't stand the thought of doing something that doesn't bring fulfillment. What a grim world it would be if all of us felt we had to be miserable to be productive.

alexis said...

I will have to ask some of my European friends who travel to the US if they have seen the same thing.