This content was published first in The Sunday Letters Journal: https://sundayletters.larrygmaguire.com/p/a-monday-to-friday-sort-of-dying-5c28e04584c6 by Larry G. Maguire on Sun, 26 Feb 2023 16:43:00 GMT
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.
This day ten years ago, 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 or even hundreds 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 6:00 pm or 7:00 pm 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 dying – Studs 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 in 2020 and the 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 seems to be much less. Only a very small percentage of responses were what I could regard as representative of engaging and fulfilling work. Something seems wrong with that picture.
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 to us in this strange period of existence, to reconsider our lives…we must ask ourselves, how should we proceed?
Will you die from Monday to Friday, only to live on Saturday and on Sunday dreading the coming of Monday?
Or will you engage in work that makes you smile?
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