When work is the drug that keeps us from reality

I hope you are not like my friend Damascene who becomes sad when Friday arrives. While the rest of us could not wait for the long weekend, courtesy of Women’s Day, the fellow was almost hysterical. To him a three-day’s break was unthinkable, obscene almost. Don’t start thinking that he’s the loser. He is a smart, social and happy- or so it seems. The problem is his job, like many out there, is the drug that keeps him from reality.

I hope you are not like my friend Damascene who becomes sad when Friday arrives. While the rest of us could not wait for the long weekend, courtesy of Women’s Day, the fellow was almost hysterical.

To him a three-day’s break was unthinkable, obscene almost. Don’t start thinking that he’s the loser. He is a smart, social and happy- or so it seems. The problem is his job, like many out there, is the drug that keeps him from reality.

Have you ever experienced such a feeling? Did you ever realize that your workaday routine was cushioning your fear? Is there an underlying fear in our daily life; something that does not always manifest itself because we have developed techniques to repress it?

More and more people search for remedies in order to repress their feelings. That is why some people abuse drugs and alcohol while others opt for other forms of consumption like watching television.

There are statistics that report the predisposition to addiction has spread. In the above context, addiction can be perceived as a reaction to unbearable feelings, by which people manipulate their feelings, thoughts and actions, be it through the intake of drugs or a behavior that stimulates the production of the body’s own drugs.

If we perceive addiction in this way, we can easily speak of an addictive society: our modern capitalist society, by causing stress and fear, is permanently producing an ‘addiction’ society.

From economic history we know that in a certain stage of capitalist development an “inner market” becomes essential. That is the point of time, when addictive buying and consumerism can become a mass phenomenon.

It is an addiction directly tied to capitalist dynamics. An even more sophisticated kind of addiction in this sense seems to be “work addiction,” which is not simply a problem with working too much.

There is a progressive obsessive fixation on work and/or working. People may literally escape into work. It’s a sad thing to watch

Experts say this behavior becomes understandable from the logic of our purposive socialization into a performance-based society.

From early childhood almost all institutions of society reward you for your achievements. It seems that not everyone is equally able to develop this kind of addiction. Many of us have a job that gives so little scope for organizing that we literally have no chance to make work a drug. In these cases, the preparedness to work overtime may be a warning signal.

Justification, a typical characteristic of addicts, is easy: you need the pay to feed your family, pay this and that. Work addiction can even spill over to leisure time by organizing leisure activities around principles of efficiency.

In short-the virus of work addiction has infected our modern society. Let us stop looking for artificial means to repress our fears

badthoglous@yahoo.com

Emmanuel Nyagapfizi is a Management Information Systems manager

 

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