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Work/Life: Back To The Work/Life Future

CEO Dad’s Tuesday Tirade…. We have to blame somebody. After all, this dog-eat-dog existence we find ourselves trapped in, this rat race that promises more than one way to skin a cat, has become the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and nobody wants to look at how working too hard is quite the bear, or at the inescapable truth that the pursuit of material success is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Honestly, I can be such an animal.

CEO Dad’s Tuesday Tirade….

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We have to blame somebody. After all, this dog-eat-dog existence we find ourselves trapped in, this rat race that promises more than one way to skin a cat, has become the 800-pound gorilla in the room, and nobody wants to look at how working too hard is quite the bear, or at the inescapable truth that the pursuit of material success is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Honestly, I can be such an animal.

The point is, every so often I get the feeling that it isn’t our fault, this insistence on over-scheduling our lives, thriving on more tasks than we can handle, feeling like it’s the only way we can come out ahead of the other guy. So when I discover an historical tidbit that just may explain why I ended up having work/life balance issues, believe you me I cling to that factoid like a politician clings to the idea that they can actually do some good. My research this week revealed that on this very day in the year 1457, the first known date book was put into use. An ancient Palm Pilot if you will.

Hearing this made me feel so much better. As far back as the 1400’s, someone had the compulsion to start breaking off their life into a grid and filling each square of that grid with something to do. Goodness knows what it would have been back then:

Tuesday, 6 am. Rise, brush teeth, thank the sun for not melting and consuming all of civilization in a fireball.

Thursday, 4pm. Meet with supervisor about promotion to overseer of heretical stone tablature archives. No one deserves it more than you!

Friday, 2pm. Set Tivo to record “Desperate Midwives.”

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No matter what the ancient civilizations felt compelled to schedule, it was heartening to know that this impulse has been around so long. See, we’re not just bucking the CEO Dad tendencies of our parents and grandparents, we’re part of a rich tradition of avoiding our inner problems through compartmentalizing our whole existence: a tradition which goes back many centuries! This excuse will not cut any ice with the friends and family who are waiting for you to take a little more time off, but with such historical precedent at least you can sleep at night. Assuming you’ve made time to sleep, that is.

I’m sure there are other ways history justifies a lack of work/life balance. Know any?