“What’s your ideal workspace?”
There is a likely chance this question has never occurred to most of us. Work is work… Everybody has to work SOMEWHERE because most occupations are site specific. It would be rather hard to direct traffic from one’s kitchen table…
Kids GO TO school, then they grow up and sometimes GO TO college or maybe they never WENT to college, then they GO TO work. Even those who aren’t bound to a specific site can still catch themselves saying “I have to GO TO work” even though going to work simply involves grabbing a pencil and a notebook. This “go to” mentality is meant to separate our private life from our work life. We taught ourselves that mixing work with life would cause an explosion of cosmic proportions. The reason for that is simple: we hate our work and it controls us.
For centuries now, our work has been dictating our rhythm of life. Like a rigid giblet, it has been shaping us, harming us, disfiguring us, sending us to our early graves and, most ironically, being out of work has been even worse.
Throughout the history of humanity only the lucky few didn’t have the “honor” of obedient work for the benefit of their “betters”. In fact crushing majority of humans on this planet has had very little choice in what they wanted to be doing and who they wanted to be. Majority of humans have been and still are enslaved. Yes, it’s a strong word but words are often turned into euphemisms to mask the sad truth that our old ways are here to stay under a new gentler name. Being enslaved doesn’t necessarily require institutional slavery. It just means living a life devoid of choices and alternatives, working obediently with minimal gain for the benefit of those who control us. It means hating every second of it. Being employed at the Amazon warehouse, for example, is a euphemism for being enslaved.
In our culture the idea of quitting a “real” job and engaging in something “unsubstantial” like claymation, model trains or candle making exposes hopelessness or triggers schadenfreude. The word “hobby” signifies “frivolous”, “trite”, even “embarrassing” activity. No! Hobby can’t be work because it’s enjoyable.
Because we convinced ourselves that unless the activity we engage in brings real monetary gain, it’s not worth pursuing. Meanwhile following nothing but money in everything we've been doing has impoverished our soul and halted our progress. Greed or living on the edge of bare survival is the opposite of enlightenment.
A change is in the air
Today, even though so many occupations remain site specific, the question “where do you work?” has been replaced with “what do you do?” It’s not perfect but it’s better. “What do you enjoy?” or even simple “who are you?” could be the next step. Even before the pandemic, to ask “where do you work” would seem a little out of place because private entrepreneurship, home offices and telecommuting brought our work closer to home and merged the idea of who we are with what we do, not with where we work. Hopefully we are now beginning to understand: • that we and we alone should be in control of our own work • that our work should shape our workspace, not the other way around • that the value of an occupation doesn’t always translate into a salary. Stay at home parent contributes to society in immeasurable ways, alas without pay • that having to work around a bad environment just to get something done leads to failure • that not having a choice in what we do, how and where we do it is nothing short of enslavement If we understood it, we would embrace our work as a part of life to the point of losing the concept of work as something separate or even the concept of “work” altogether. With this mindset, separating our work from our life would be like separating a car from its engine.