Case study: workaholism

Workaholics were all around her, that’s why they became a natural object of observation. Almost a case study. They were so different in characters, all physical and mental parameters, except for one single obsession – workaholism.

One was a loud type. Every morning he turned to the office looking as, at least, Charles Darwin who had just published “The Origin of Species”. With his every word, every motion he sent a loud message “I am so busy!”. His desk had a full collection of paper, dust, envelopes, pencils and, probably, many more things, buried under a tick layer of everything else.

Another one was a diligent type. All life interests of this guy were sacrifices for work. Work was a kingdom and he was a king and a subject in one. Trying to perform a million of tasks with an excellent diligence, he enjoyed being busy in a masochistic way – grumbling about it every moment but still enjoying it. He felt nice about himself, he felt useful. Maybe once somebody told him that we live to work and he decided not to question it. Maybe work for him was a way to keep his minds busy and free from other thoughts and doubts. Actually, he was a nice guy, much nicer than other two.

The third one was a complete freak though. She never managed to reach her own standard of perfection. She exhausted herself chasing this perfection in every tiny detail. This case was particularly curious – all people around her were classified as “professionals” and rubbish. Professionals could be described as always polite smiling robots that were ready to perform any task given by their superiors.

These three had one (maybe the only) similarity – all of them were sure that being busy makes a person more important, more useful for society and that society needs to be grateful in one way or another. The first one was a biologist, the second – all about maths and physics, and the third one was an administration queen. The biologist, who called himself a scientist, was rather an expert in self-promotion. He made it look like there would be no phytoplankton in the sea without him (not the other way around, no). He demanded admission for lack of free time and was totally convinced in his importance. The administration girl did not even doubt that without her input the whole institution will stop. The maths guy really loved what he was doing.

That is it! When someone is really in love with what he is doing, he does it for his own interest. I love those nutty and inspiring guys who have a true deep passion for what they are doing, no matter whether it is science, administration or even being a cleaner – every labour is respected. Being a scientist does not necessarily mean a higher social importance. Great minds were appreciated in all times and I am one of most passionate admirers, but not all working in science-related areas have great minds. And if their main claim for admission is sweating for their own promotion (ops, I meant society) then it is a delusion to ask for admission.

Getting back to the obsession of keeping busy: “doing something is better than doing nothing” is ambiguous. It all depends how you define “doing nothing”. Sometimes sitting and staring at the sky has a higher intrinsic value than just looking at the monitor checking one more report that will dust on shelves. I believe, reduction of working hours may enrich us emotionally and culturally. Leaving slavery mentality to live for work behind, we can enjoy beauty of this world and cherish it much more.

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