Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Modern Work

There is a deep fog this morning. Fog always reminds me of the classic 14th century spiritual treatise entitled "The Cloud of Unknowing".

It would be an understatement to say that my days have been a bit hectic. Even when I took my lunch break in our office breakroom yesterday, I felt like I was in the middle of a riot. My favorite times of day at work are the early morning and the late afternoon. These are the times when it is quietest and I am most able to be centered. During the middle part of the day I sometimes feel like one of the steel balls in a pinball machine. I can deal with it and I can handle it but I am probably not at my best. During these times I must constantly re-focus and try to remain centered. My office is no different than most modern workplaces. Everyone I know who works in an office environment finds them chaotic, fast paced, and routinely frustrating. I think it's because there's rarely time to breathe. I am not sure why modern work must be this way. Even white water rafting has periods of calm. I have never white water rafted but I know that rapids are rated based on their intensity. If the scale for rating rapids is 1-5, many workdays feel like you approach the river with your canoe and immediately hit the level five rapids and they do not diminish until you exit the river. I guess this is exciting for some but I wonder if we all shouldn't try a little to influence this by trying to bring some calm to the workplace. Everything can't be urgent and everything can't be on fire. If it is, we're doing something wrong. Craftsmen, such as silversmiths or carpenters, tend to be calm and focused in their work, often creating things of beauty and durability. In the frenetic way that most modern office workers and others tend to work, I wonder what we are creating that is beautiful or lasting?

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