Between economic crisis and debacles on the family environment, one of the most significant questions of our projection does not seem to have enough protagonism: work and the way of dealing with it.
Firstly, this reflection always appears as a clash of already determined interests, forces oppositely orbiting as the only factors involved: work and family, pleasure and “what you do for a living”, alienation and the dreariness of retirement. False dichotomies make it difficult to visualize where the real problem lies at the same time they naturalize discomfort. It could be quite logic to deduce incompatibility or tension arises as a consequence of the design of the hegemonic models themselves, and not because of the pirouettes needed to articulate their different components. It is not about focusing all the resources on going through these contradictions, but creating configurations which do not presuppose a renunciation of desires and purposes. On the contrary, one could easily fall into an ideological fight against all these patrons(professional-work environment and family) which fiercely attempt to elucidate which one has greater influence on humankind.
In this context, there are some people who try to analyze the phenomenon connecting it to an integral reasoning about satisfaction and plenitude, and arguing the expectations raised by this appraisal are so high that they generally result in strong frustrations. This interpretation could sound quite whimsical if we notice the problem usually lies in the shape these pretensions take, and not in its endogenous character. This invitation to reduce aspirations seems to be a heavy backdrop which is only opened in order to show complaisant perspectives.
In an attempt to clarify the general matter, the vocation placed at the pedestal of the individuals´ strategic development is one of the main myths that should be buried. In this way, something preexisting guides the most important decisions of the personal projection, being presented as an entity that has life of its own, while men only content themselves “by letting them go” as if they were a docile leaf dragged by the wind. The future only appears as a result of that “moment of epiphany”. Thus, it is not surprising that for many people it is difficult to imagine themselves outside of the specialization mandate, or to feel complicated the fact of predisposing to observe how this command may limit future aspirations or be a brutal determinant of their identity construction.
Therefore, identity starts to play an important role in this analysis, and the discussion usually turns around the professional frame, a delimitation of the personality based on variables like a certificated degree, or an almost exclusive dedication to certain practice (which is not a distinctive sign of the academy, but it is also common to other areas, such as sport or art). When this does not take place, instead of creating an embracing view, one usually succumbs to another reductionism: to state work does not say anything about the one who performs it. Both dispositions share the same logic of dissociation and fracture.
When analyzing these issues, indulgence is sometimes overwhelming and the points of view rarely put what is established at risk. Alain de Bottom, the author of self-help books, whose opinions accurately represent the current culture, poses the finitude of human life and the immensity of collective plans make the connection between daily labor and its respective aims inaccessible. Consequently, it could be about simplifying the tasks in such a way that every man be able to contemplate the product of his efforts. From this outlook, the idea one could project oneself as a whole with a clear connection between the job carried out and its implications in one’s existence does not seem to be feasible without giving up complexity.
Should we waive the construction of complex identities, should the disposition of rethinking these problems is abandoned, the naturalization of discomfort, exhaustion and stress probably prevails, as if there were no possibility of a more enriching living. Driving approaches may be rarely found while the fact that there are saner and more encouraging orders in which work could be included is not considered. In this broken routine, it doesn’t raise any suspicions that lots of people try by all means to elude any reflective instance. The phobia about holidays is often a reflection of this tendency. There are too many resources to deceive the mind, from workaholics to the ones who constantly change their jobs in an attempt to find themselves, but always following the same paradigm. The guideline establishes “the show must go on”.
Others have thrown themselves into exploring the work area chasing the conquest of a satisfactory horizon, whether it be an environment in which an efficient structure with autonomy and personal development are combined, or procedures aimed at obtaining “communitarian benefits” (but without revealing a critic gesture about these benefits). Although these views are more encouraging, they are still placed in a traditional field, reinforcing antique bastions, such as the vocation or profession.
It would seem that before such an important question, similar postures to those of a Daruma doll are adopted, that Japanese piece without legs who is incessantly knocked but who finally always resumes its verticality warranted by an inner counterweight. The point is to analyze which counterweight that is, to what it responds… In some cases, it could be about a mere automatism before the lack of an occupation that does not nourish life, or that is divorced from the great questions of said life.
Thus, it is logical that an independent view involves a twist on the use of time and resources, a bet on the own and global development with a possibility of mixing a solid and communitarian structure with a self-generation component. There, the human level would play a meaningful role. It would not be about considering the ones who share the labor environment as simple mates occupying the same situational space, but as people carefully chosen with whom a common and inspiring destiny could be thought.
If one tries to be in line with a genuine search of integrality, one surely has to investigate how the different vital facets are assembled in such a manner that they may be compatible among themselves, and at the same time to analyze if they provide an answer to the essential interests, to a way of influencing the world positively.
Perhaps, another challenge of modern times is to abandon the constant waste of resources, or even worst, the energies usually devoted to areas and projects that have nothing to do with personal illusions and wishes. Because, in short, one is also what one does, in all the aspects of life.