Friday, July 29, 2016

Stressed Out

My days at work consist of periods of controlled chaos / low grade panic amongst stretches of absolutely nothing while you wait for your earpiece to come to life, ready to spring into action. If computers were conscious I imagine they would feel the same way as we snap them out of standby and then become irritated if we have to wait a few seconds for something to happen. Most of my coworkers seem to be fairly unfazed by these random swings of the work pendulum but I've found it extremely stressful and had no clue why.  After waking up this afternoon from a night shift where I felt that all too familiar mental exhaustion I questioned why and a word popped out in 3D. 

Initiative, among other "character qualities" was ingrained into our minds as children as something we should assimilate into our subconscious. The idea was that you were supposed to see things that needed to be done and then execute the task all without being asked. I can't tell you how many times I've been told "you are too helpful" which at first astonished me because I didn't think that was possible. While there is nothing wrong with doing something like picking up a piece of trash on the sidewalk, there is a problem when you feel compelled to be constantly searching for "opportunities to serve". First of all, it's mentally exhausting because you are constantly analyzing everything wondering if you've done enough. Trust me, if you look for problems that need to be fixed in the world you will find an endless supply. The second issue (but possibly more important) is the fact that constantly being in your head keeps you from being you (whatever that is meant to be). Instead you are trying to figure out what other people want you to be and attempting to accommodate.

In this context, initiative is a defense mechanism to hopefully stave off the impending disapproval or wrath of the unreasonable "authority figures" you are responsible to by anticipating their expectations and doing your best to fulfill them. As with anything there is a balance between extremes - only doing what you are explicitly told to vs being in constant motion because there is always something to fix. This is all a new revelation to me so I can't say what the balance is but I will hazard a guess. Basically you are just aware of life and your surroundings and then do what is natural to you. If you are in the right environment you will fit like a square peg in a square hole. Initiative makes you try through mental effort to fit in every shaped hole you come in contact with. There's a word for that which I will leave out but the essence is - you are trying to find your value by sucumbing to other people's desires and expectations. 

Fuck initiative and live within your nature. 

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