Work

Work – it’s what we spend the majority of our waking hours doing. Yet, it often feels like a Sisyphean task, as mundane and monotonous as rolling a boulder up a hill only for it to roll back down again, ad infinitum. This article delves into the absurdity of work and how acknowledging this absurdity can lead to greater resilience and satisfaction in our professional lives.

The Absurd Workplace

In the modern workplace, absurdity is not merely occasional; it has become hypernormalized. The absence of rationality is evident when observed practices starkly contradict rhetoric and official discourse. A common example is the pursuit of unrealistic targets set by management, which employees strive to achieve, only to have the goalposts moved once those targets are met.

Moreover, the concentration of wealth, influence, and power, coupled with the process through which this wealth is legitimized, adds another layer of absurdity. It’s not uncommon to see companies boasting about their flat hierarchies and inclusive cultures while maintaining rigid power structures and fostering environments that suppress dissenting voices.

Coping with Life’s Absurdity

According to Albert Camus, the modern worker “works every day in his life at the same tasks, and this fate is no less absurd”. However, recognizing this absurdity doesn’t need to lead to despair. Instead, it can be a source of liberation.

Just like Sisyphus, who found happiness in his eternal, futile task, we too can find joy in our everyday work. By acknowledging the absurdity, we can detach ourselves from the cycle of striving and failing, and instead focus on finding meaning in the process itself.

The Solution

The solution to navigating the absurdity of work lies in understanding not just what you do, but why you do it7. This comprehension is as crucial for the modern employee as it is for the modern leader. It’s about seeing beyond the immediate task and connecting with the larger purpose.

In a sense, the answer is a kind of soft masochism – to find pleasure in the struggle of working and striving to survive or thrive. Once we acknowledge the world’s absurdity, we can embrace it, smile at it, and continue to roll our boulders, finding satisfaction in the journey rather than the destination.

Work will always have its absurdities. But by acknowledging this fact and adopting a Sisyphean mindset, we can find joy and resilience amidst the chaos. After all, isn’t life itself a bit absurd?

Furthermore…

  1. The Absurdity of Work & Myth of Sisyphus
  2. How absurdity is hypernormalized in contemporary society …
  3. The absurd workplace: how absurdity is hypernormalized … 2
  4. The Absurd Workplace
  5. Albert Camus on Coping with Life’s Absurdity 2
  6. What do you for work? : r/Absurdism 2
  7. Dealing with the absurdity of work

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dabodab is a blog about various things DiY and the creative people and activities surrounding them. I am Briyan Frederick (aka Bryan Baker), probably best known as the publisher of GAJOOB and a founder of Tapegerm Collective read more.

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