Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wondering: the future of work?

I think we’re entering a time when people are going to work less and live more, or maybe that’s me being hopeful after ten years in the work force, post-doctorate, realizing work brings little to no meaning or happiness to my life. Perhaps I’m projecting my thoughts onto others. If by choice I could not work, I wouldn’t.

In the past, work ethic, long hours, establishing careers, and creating a path toward retirement were valued. People who wanted to work less, they were whispering conspiracy theories, crazy thoughts. I was one of them.

I work to live the other half of life. Work impinges on my creativity, my freedom. Yet at the same time, work is what allows me the freedom to travel and create by providing financial security. But what is financial security in the age of financial volatility, housing crashes, and fraud? It seems like working for safety and stability is an oxymoron.

What is the American dream of chasing house and partner and cars and prestige? It is a presentation of Ego, our grand selves. When acquired, what feeling does it bring? What purpose?

After I’d achieved most of the American dream, I felt emptiness. I felt I’d chased a soulless god, a hopeless demon. It was a relief to step off the escalator of life, going nowhere, and start in my own odd direction of hopes and dreams and questionable decisions. For four years now, I have been on a fringe career path, and I’ve never been happier. I hope that the future of work will allow everyone their own path, and that we’ll not be controlled by expectations, acquisitions and fear.

No comments: