Facebook throws up memories on my feed, things I shared from the last few years. And today, a note I wrote to my timeline a while ago popped up.
Six years ago today, I sat outside an office building on the Grand Canal in Dublin waiting to go into a meeting. For about 20 mins, I watched dozens of people scramble along the footpath to their jobs. Blank stares blinkers on, oblivious to their surroundings.
How many of these people had a 5:30 or earlier rise just to get their kids to creche or some other form of child-minding? How many of these parents wouldn't collect their kids until 6:00pm or 7:00pm and endure the slog every single day?
On the opposite side of the road there were three lads laughing, joking and having fun. Maybe they were still drunk from the night before…
Whether or not they were was incidental, because the contrast was stark.
I thought, why do we work this way, sacrificing our lives and happiness for the grind of daily work?
Why does daily work represent such a negative aspect of life experience for so many?
It is about a search too,… for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dyingStuds Terkel, Historian
It was the start of my exploration into the nature and value of work, and here I am today, still writing on this topic. I wrote a thesis on the subject this year and results found at least 42% of respondents are at odds with their work.
53% of respondents said they had a positive relationship with work, but on a recent review of the data, this figure seem to be much less.
Historian Studs Terkel said about daily work in his 1972 book Working; “to survive the day is triumph enough for the walking wounded among the great many of us”.
Regarding daily work, Terkel continued…
“It is about a search too, for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying”.
As we, albeit forcibly, take the time allocated us in this strange period of existence, to reconsider our lives…how do you wish to proceed?
Will you die from Monday to Friday, only to live on Saturday and on Sunday dread the coming of Monday?
Or will you engage in work that makes you smile?