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The perpetual stress machine December 18, 2006

Posted by Andreas in Life, Society, Work.
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It’s my last week at work and I’ve been really stressed lately. Ordinarily I’m not the kind of person who lets work pressures get to them very much and my job is not particularly demanding, physically or mentally, in fact, it’s positively cushy.

I guess it’s been a combination of last minute, end-of-year jobs and chronically misbehaving equipment. The constant underlying hum of the silly season, unbought Christmas presents, the ongoing traffic nightmare, endless queues at the post office and the annual influx of holiday makers don’t help either.

All of this makes me wonder how on Earth all of those folks who do have genuinely stressful jobs cope at all during this time of year.

It’s not just the season, though. It seems blatantly obvious that this lifestyle, predominated by weeks of dull drudgery punctuated by the odd joyous moment, which so many of us (including myself) lead, is not good for the psyche.

Most of us are perfectly aware all this. We spend many a coffee and lunch break moaning and commiserating about it. From sometime on most Mondays we pine for the weekend and from sometime in February we can’t wait for our next holidays.

Why don’t more of us extricate ourselves from this hamster wheel? Why don’t I?

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of love and beauty in my life and I don’t really hate my job any more than the next person, but I do find myself wondering more and more if the remainder (i.e. mostly the parts related to my status as a wage slave) are really worth it.

Derrick Jensen’s statement about “the culture… being so extraordinarily destructive of human happiness” springs to mind. He asks: “What does it mean when the vast majority of people spend the vast majority of their waking hours doing things they’d rather not do?”.

The following quote from Sean M. Sheehan’s book, Anarchism, also rings terribly true:

Many anarchists want to insist on the sheer shittiness of most work and the way in which life’s routines become subordinated to the demands of work. So-called leisure time becomes increasingly occupied by preparing for work, shopping for it, dressing for it, travelling to and from it and, most of all, recuperating from it in order to be able to get through the next day, the next week…alienation is real…

So here’s a New Year’s resolution for me: find the red pill, inject the antidote, open your eyes, see the matrix for what it is, extract yourself from it and build an new and better life.

Just slightly ambitious, you say?! Ja, forget about the New Year’s resolution bull and let’s just make this more of a long term project. Baby steps, here we go!

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