Reason for FIRE no. 302 – Looking busy is bullshit

I’m currently sat at work with nothing to do for the next couple of hours. I have a few tasks due next week and beyond, but I’ve got enough time to do those later…and what would I do in that allocated time if I did those tasks now? For some this surely sounds like a dream come true – being paid for doing nothing?! What could be better??

The thing is, my work environment does everything it can to turn moments like this into a form of spiritual violence against the soul. I work, as so many do, in an open plan office. This is to enable greater “collaboration.” From what I can tell, this is mainly moaning about children. Many of my colleagues collaborate in this way. These conversations usually end with a participant having an intake of breath and saying “right then,” by which they mean “I need to do something that makes it look like I’m busy rather than just chatting.” I’m willing to accept that there is something pressing for them to do in some of these cases. However, it is the looking busy bit that crushes the soul.

I know this is the case for others as, in private, they readily state as much. It’s exhausting and it grinds you down over time. I resent the pretense – why should mental energy be spent on this rather than the aspects of work one might actually enjoy? I love the chance to be creative and productive as a teacher, but this approach just leaves me tired and resentful. Why do we collectively accept it?

Another reason to pursue FIRE and FU-money – at some point in the future I will be able to choose whether I tolerate this or not. I will be beyond the bullshit and not have to worry about losing my job as a result of refusing to play. Until then its a case of using strategies to deal with the spiritual violence of it all.

I recommend Robert Wringham’s writing for ideas on how to do this. I liked Escape Everything! the most.