Re: Remember folks.
My apologies for the long post
This is the last 20% of https://annehelen.substack.com/p/the-wages-of-overwork
and yes, I did suffer (?) from that condition / syndrome to the point of burnout a couple of years ago and am heading that way again despite understanding the clear stupidity of what I am doing.
...Now, we see the logical conclusion of that bargain: a society in which overwork is so thoroughly normalized that anything less is interpreted as “lazy,” “lacking hustle,” or “your generation doesn’t want to work.” On Twitter, I’ve seen plenty of self-proclaimed progressives call the protests against changing the French retirement age the actions of an entitled society with no work ethic — instead of understanding that our reaction is deeply colored by the understanding that people should basically work until they die.
Overwork culture is the ideology of the “right” to work at its most perverse. It may monetarily advantage a handful at the top, but the societal damage is tremendous. Most of our acute societal ills are directly tied to poverty, and as numerous studies and pilot programs have shown, could readily be ameliorated by the very simple step of giving people money, whether through programs like the child tax credit (a tremendous success) or UBI (read a great, nuanced explainer here).
But there are second-tier problems that spiderweb around overwork — problems related to community-building, child and eldercare, community wellness, overall health outcomes and plain-out happiness and satisfaction and civic engagement. Turns out it’s incredibly hard to build community, to forge social safety-nets, to agitate for larger social change, to even give and receive care when you’re dedicated, willingly or not, to the culture of overwork.
Maybe this doesn’t sound familiar. Maybe you told overwork culture to fuck off during the pandemic or a decade ago, maybe you live elsewhere and have always considered it a sort of pathology. But maybe some it — the struggle to find the time to do anything but work and raise your kids and recover from work, the philosophical support of unions but a struggle to see the need for one in your workplace, a general inurement to overwork culture — feels comfortably real.
Maybe you feel like you’ve woken up and realized that you’re pretty bad at community, bad at leisure, bad at rest, bad at sustaining friendship….bad at most things, really, that aren’t work. At that, you’re an expert. And in that case, it’s worth asking yourself, again and again, until you can stare the answer straight in the face: at what cost, and for whose benefit?