When work becomes a place
Here’s something I have been noticing since I heard some people say it a few times:
I’m at work
When did ‘work’ become a place? Work is something you do, not a location. Your office, factory or classroom (if you are a teacher) is a location. Being in the office doesn’t mean you are working. Like holding a book doesn’t mean you are reading.
The Information Age
We live in the Information age right now. We call ourself information workers or knowledge workers. This means we consume (input) information, process and output information. Often, these are digital products like text, e-mails, documents, code and graphics. We exchange information in meetings, gather information on the web and publish information in all kinds of media. But it also means we store these products, information, in our heads.
Let’s say my job is customer support at a phone carrier company. If a customer calls for help, his or her question is my task. My answer is the product. ‘Making’ the product happens inside my head. Like a little brain-factory.
With this in mind, I can be at home in bed working. Or even taking a swim and still be working. Every time I’m letting my brain process questions and answers, I’m working. Work has become invisible.
Now for those who still think work is place. When you don’t like your work, not only the things you do will become unpleasant. Also the place you are at becomes the place you don’t want to be.
On Friday afternoon (TGIF!), people call their friends or family and say “I’m free from work” while fast-walking out of the office. Reminds me of the bell ringing in high school and the whole class jumping up and heading towards the exit. I’m free!
So are they saying work is like prison? What a horrible thing to have. Let’s enjoy freedom in our work. If you are reading this, there’s a 99.9% chance you are working out of free will. Not out of slavery.
It’s perfectly OK to discuss work-related issues or challenges you are facing in the workplace. Don’t get me wrong.
But please don’t say you HAVE to go to work. You chose to work there. If you don’t like it, leave. Change your mindset. Your working place should be your playground. Everything you’re good at and love to do should be done in the workplace. If I asked you “Do you love working?”, what would you answer? I hope it’s a big YES! If not, maybe it’s time to start moving. You are in control.
Recommended reading: REMOTE: Office not required