Work for Work’s Sake

Is work valuable for it’s own sake?  That’s the question out of the box this morning.  I do believe it’s good to work and keep your body and your brain in some kind of functioning order. Although sometimes it feels like we’re just digging holes and filling them up and the biggest decision we have to make is maybe where to dig first and where to dig next.

Mom always warned us if we had nothing to do she could put us to work. So work was supposedly better than nothing.  Or more likely, better than complaining and whining to your  mother that you were bored.  I’ve always believed ‘nothing is better than work’, and often put nothing first.  But even the most enjoyable activity can become tedious if somebody tells us we HAVE to do it.

Last night at work I helped a grand total of two customers between six and eight o’clock.  Sane people decided to stay at home I guess.  I occupied my time by going through the accordian file of Rx copies, making sure they were in alphabetical order, and cutting off and throwing into the paper shredder all extraneous paper.  There were some weird things filed in there, which I also took it upon myself to get rid of.  We photocopy patient’s prescriptions onto 8×10 paper, so there’s usually a lot of that sheet that’s blank.  I was cutting off the blank parts.  It makes for a much more compact accordian file.  I went to school all those years to finally end up doing this.  Amazing.

If I’d been merely sitting there gazing off into space the time would not have seemed to pass as quickly.  It might have appeared to anyone who happened to look in my direction that my job consists largely of doing nothing.  Appearing to have some important duty to attend to is valuable for the sake of keeping one’s job in cases like this one.

I’m not a big fan of make-work projects.  I’d much rather be doing something that I can at least pretend is going to benefit someone when it’s done.  But there’s mindless work that keeps you moving, and keeps you from thinking too hard about things you shouldn’t be worrying over, and keeps you breathing and keeps your heart beating and makes you look slightly more useful than a coat hook.  And it gives you something to talk about – oh, my! I got SO much work done today! – so that’s a big value all on it’s own.  If we didn’t work, we wouldn’t appreciate play.  It’s nice to find some kind of balance between the two;  mix them up together if we can.  Or better yet, do something we love to do and call it work, even if it’s not.