Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wasting Time

'We'd be amazing if we learnt useful things.'
– Comment at work from Admin Assistant

During World War Two, the test to become a code breaker at Bletchley Park was completing The Times crossword and playing chess (and, okay, presumably hailing from Oxbridge). Nowadays a similar job would involve a degree in maths and years of experience. The 1960s heralded a time of apparently being able to walk into any job. The TV series Faking It demonstrated that actually anyone can do anything (apart from a handful of occupations that require years of training: lawyer, doctor, etc), with a bit of training and the right connections.

I had a drunken argument with a random man about this last Friday night: I believe from school we are stifled into accepting our role in life, and this continues into work (though we really should be told to make the most of our school days – oh, days of actually learning stuff; being able to fight someone you didn't like; endless holidays. Saying school is preparation for work is a slight fib – prison would be more a more apt description). Most jobs tend to under utilise people, belittle them, keep them in their place, put them down, crush their ambitions and possibilities.

What if your calling was playing the cello or surfing or being a photographer or a paleontologist or an installation artist but you just never got around to it (what if you were born in Iran or the Congo)? What if you never found your calling? Chances are you probably didn't and won't, and you'll settle for something mediocre: you'll be working in an office, wondering for years if there's more to life than this. Then it dawning upon you that there isn't. Those who realise their vocation from an early age are very lucky; the rest of us just stumble along blind.

We waste most of our passion, energy and time on things that are completely pointless, mostly work-related (but also TV and football-related). But imagine, say, serial killers could be more constructive as paid assassins or soldiers. Jilted ex-lovers who are good at stalking their ex-partners online could become researchers or spies. Hackers, fraudsters and con artists would do well in (legal) buisiness. I recently saw the aggression and passion of football fans on the way to a Millwall vs Leeds match. All that hate against the opposite team, if only it was used to do some good. Their chanting could be singing in a church choir instead. Something negative and aggressive could become positive and joyful. The same with the legions of office workers and their futile existences. They could actually transfer their skills and do something useful with their lives.

Previously on Barnflakes:
Four-day working week
Absolutely Famous
Aspire to be Average

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