In a World Gone Berserk,
Time spent in contemplation is seen as odd, anti-productive and dangerous.
Joe was screaming and everyone in the boardroom was trying to look elsewhere. But it was hard to pretend you were checking Facebook when someone was turning purple and thumping the table with both of his hands.
I was the focus of this tirade. His spittle was striking the table in front of me. I watched as it formed into tiny pools and flowed towards the sunken power strip.
We didn’t have the paper ready. I wanted more time and contemplation from the team. This required us to get more context on the problem the client was facing. And I had made the mistake of asking my new boss for said context.
My boss couldn’t handle my questions.
He took them as an attack.
In a world gone berserk, anyone who wants to stop and contemplate is suddenly the crazy one.
We have to be busy, so busy we can’t even take the time to even explain why we are so busy.
Double booked is now for amateurs.
Status in companies is built by being triple and even quadruple booked. If one of those can be in a different city, you get triple points and a pass to scream at your assistant.
My mistake. Screaming at subordinates is always allowed.
The new white collar worker takes pride in being so stressed out that they are on medication and even seeing a counselor for their “problem”. Or rather, they would be if they didn’t keep cancelling because of their assistant quadruple-booking them as instructed.
So instead, they just fly off the handle and then write it up as battle wounds or some bizarre new form of PTSD they’ve invented. There was a rumour that my last boss was autistic. I’m pretty sure he started that rumour.
All of this is pretty much why I left the business world.
I was burnt out. Toasted. Done.
And worse, I had developed a negative association with contemplation.
The idea of taking a walk and doing nothing else caused me to break out into a sweat. I couldn’t even eat a meal without stopping to check my phone at least a dozen times.
It would take me years before I could begin to enjoy time spent in deep thought. Or the idea of going somewhere without my phone. Okay, I’m still struggling with that last one, but I’m working on it!
There are days where I don’t feel like I have time to take a morning walk and so I put it off. I focus on getting my work done. After all, that’s the responsible thing to do, right?
These are always the worst of days.
And then there are the days where I remember to get up thirty minutes early. Where I don’t take my phone with me and I spend an hour walking with my dog, just being present with my thoughts and emotions.
These are always the best of days.