advertisement
advertisement

Work/Life: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Dysfunctional Work Obsession

 

 

advertisement
  • So this time it’s a Crystal Skull.  When it started it was Lost Ark.  When is Indiana Jones going to own up to his work obsession?  Hint: probably about the same time asSpielberg and Lucas own up to theirs, which won’t be anytime soon given theirpenchant for doing anything—including reviving a long-dead franchise—just togive themselves something to do. If one thinks about this too long, one ends up in an endless vortex ofquest-obsessed people, from the fictional character who is trying to fill theemptiness inside him by obtaining still more storied artifacts, to thefilmmakers who are inside their own story about men who seem hard-wired to makesure their own artifacts (their movies) continue to insure themimmortality.   Please, people,just calm down and take a personal day, will you? 
  • One look at Indiana Jones’ background and you can see he’s awork/life balance head case.  Heclearly alienated his ex Marion by putting his adventure-seeking above theirrelationship, and he devalues the one area in which he could make adifference—his teaching career—by channeling all of his mania for history intohis job, thereby only fueling his desire to hit the road and start anotheradventure as soon as he can.  Thisnot only deprives his students of a quality education, it holds Indy backemotionally.  Okay, so he marries Marion at the end of the latest story, and even starts a family with the son he never knew he had, but given his history, it’s a shaky foundation.  
  • Why?  Well, of course, on the surface, we all want Indiana’s life.  Outrunning boulders, punching outfascists, crawling under moving trucks…it’s a lot more attractive than puttingtogether an effective Power Point, isn’t it?   But since we don’t spend our time running around dustylocales with a bullwhip, we funnel that sense of adventure into our work justenough to keep us as blind as Indy is to what we really need.  Here’s what the movies don’t show usafter the fade to black: Indy has completed his hunt for another preciousartifact, and now everything else seems dull.  He spends months in a depression because going on a nicedate (human connection) or taking a peaceful walk in the park (essential downtime) just isn’t cutting it.  Afterall, what joy can be found in snuggling or daydreaming when a while ago yousuccessfully fell out of a helicopter into some raging rapids in an inflatableraft?  
  • The weirdest part is that all the Indiana Jones movies areset fifty or sixty years ago.  Soeven if they continue to make sequels, his character will have been long deadeven before we get to the “greed is good” period of the 1980’s.  Poor Indy.  He probably would have gotten a free pass for hisdysfunctional behavior if he’d only made it that far.  

 

 

 

 

advertisement
advertisement