People are prone to estimate their self-worth and efficiency as an employee in terms of the hours they dedicate to work. Being swamped with work is regarded as a fashion statement, a parameter to judge one’s self-worth. How did such a concept popularise and why exactly is it so dangerous?
Capitalistic forces have glamourised over-working in the past half a century. Television regularly shows protagonists staying up all night pouring over files and documents, dedicating their lives to being the model employee, solving problems, achieving feats that no one had previously done before. These people make the idea of being married to one’s job seem desirable. Have you ever seen someone humble-brag about their lack of sleep, their caffeine fuelled lifestyle, in everyday conversation? What is this one thing that makes us proud of slaving away our golden years and why do we want it? The term workaholic sounds pathetic, why do so many of us subconsciously want to be one?
Capitalists have propagated a myth that overworking will make you successful and consequently happier. But unlike what television will tell you the cost of an all-nighter is not just a cup of coffee, some takeaway, and a wrinkled shirt. Popular media will never show the real price of overworking. The sleep you lose, meals you skip, the sick days you work on, the hobbies that you don’t pursue anymore, the resentment, the pain and joyless existence that it ushers are things that nobody talks about. Is it really worth losing all this to become the “Employee of the month” so to speak?
This self-serving corporate ideology- that absolute dedication to your job is the only way to be successful is one big, fat lie. The modern paragons of success- Mark Zuckerberg, JK Rowling, Falguni Nayar and their respective brainchild’s- Facebook, the Harry Potter series, Nykaa were not the result of slaving away to a job. They were the product of a “Eureka” moment that ended up changing the course of their lives. Life-changing ideas do not come from slaving away at a desk job, they come from happiness, creativity and pursuing things you love.
The next time you see someone say they haven’t slept in twenty-four hours because of work, feeling envious, inefficient or being inspired to do the same would be a problematic response. Over-working at the cost of your well-being is neither an achievement nor something to be proud of. Human beings are not efficient machines meant to produce a certain amount of work in a particular time-frame. Do not feel inadequate the next time someone brags about their tiring work, instead remember there is more to life than work. I say- that there is more to life than deadlines and projects and, if by the end of our lives, all our achievements could be summed by promotions and raises, then perhaps we wouldn’t really have lived.
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