Monday, 30 June 2014
Hard Life / Joy Line
I'm worried that two things are becoming normal. One thing is definitely down to our generation, the other might be ages old. When I write them like this, they seem small, but I think they're symptomatic of something bigger and I am as guilty of the next person of both.
1) We spend too much time on our phones
2) We spend too much energy telling people how busy we are
If a conversation runs for long enough, the topic shifts to work. Immediately there is a competition to prove who is the busiest, who has the hardest job, who works the longest hours.
'Oh, yeah. Busy. Knackering. I need a holiday.'
'Tell me about it, I'm working like 10 hours a day at my desk.'
'I know. I leave the house and 6am and don't get back until 8pm'
'I don't even get out for lunch, I sit and eat at my desk'
And so on an so forth until everyone in the room is trying to brag that they are the busiest.
During which time, most people are probably simultaneously answering emails on their phones too.
This isn't me sounding miserable. Because, yes, people are busy and, yes, phones are damned useful.
It's just that I haven't had a conversation with anyone in a while where they have said
'Yes, work is brilliant. I love my job. I work hard, it's kick ass. Let me tell you about the kick ass things we've done.'
I haven't had one of those inspiring conversations in a while.
Is that because jobs are getting harder and hours are getting longer?
Or is that because we don't feel we can say we're having fun? That we feel work should be a grind, that we're earning every penny of our money, that other people will judge us if we actually have a nice time at work?
Considering how long everyone seems to spend working, I'd damn hope some of it is enjoyable.
I love my job. Sometimes my job involves a shed load of admin and budgets and planning. Sometimes it involves reading books and writing. Sometimes it involves playing around in a room. And maybe it's just me, but I tend to play up the admin/budget/desk-based side so it feels justified to other people, so I can join in with the 'Oh woe is me I worked all the hours' conversation. Whereas, actually, sitting reading a book I'm adapting is perfectly reasonable and very enjoyable.
I suggest we let a bit of joy return. I suggest we try telling other people about the good stuff, the hard and long stuff we should just forget - they aren't as good a memories and they make for less good stories.
Oh, and phones. We should read more books and play more games and dance to more music. People are great. People invented smartphones, which are great. But people are definitely greater.