Busy-Ness

Business…I got that word wrong on a test in elementary school. I was forced to spell it over and over again on the chalkboard to get the spelling correct. The way I learned how to spell it was exactly how it looks: ‘bus-I-ness…busy-ness.’

After working in the corporate environment for years and seeing that people could actually get their work done in a lot less time than they are actually there, I realized working in a modern business was busy-ness. The corporate culture rewards ‘productivity’- whatever that means. It seems like our culture rewards time spent away from enjoying real life.

I’ll never forget one day while I was working at a bank (the one who recently lost 4 BILLION DOLLARS). We worked 9-6. I was walking out the door at 6 and one of my co-workers asked “half a day?” I was like… Man, I gotta go! I have a daughter who I want to spend time with, and I have things I want to do that actually make me HAPPY! Not sit up in this crooked a$$ bank ripping people off.

Well, it didn’t come out like that but, um….I did leave, on time. I hear in many parts of the world, the entire society shuts down so people can go spend time with family and friends. Imagine if in America, we had things like siestas? Things shut down from like 2-5?

In this article, The Busy Trap, Tim Kreider explores this cultural phenomenon. He starts out with statements that I’m sure we have heard in many a conversation:

If you live in America in the 21st century you’ve probably had to listen to a lot of people tell you how busy they are. It’s become the default response when you ask anyone how they’re doing: “Busy!” “So busy.” “Crazy busy.” It is, pretty obviously, a boast disguised as a complaint. And the stock response is a kind of congratulation: “That’s a good problem to have,” or “Better than the opposite.”

It’s amazing how we tend to miss out on living when we spend so much time working. Especially working for someone else in a job you hate. Hey, we gotta do what we gotta do, but, like the author says at the very end: Life is to short to be busy.

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