I bet there are millions, if not billions of us. We are plodding away at jobs that are meaningless to us, desperately trying to see something meaningful in them but not finding it no matter how hard we look. Why are we doing this? We either rationalize the question away (to pay the bills – from stuff we don’t really need; to put the kids through college – so that they can do the same we don’t like to do). Or we numb it out. We are doing this because this is what we’re supposed to do. Society (us) expects us to work 9 to 5 most of our adult life. And then there is the whole industry that is built around the attempt to find alternatives. From self-help book to self-styled coaches (a non-regulated industry), we are bombarded with the idea that if we only buy that book or hire that coach our life will change forever and we can free ourselves from being a wage-slave. Well, certainly if we are one of those authors, we can. Given that the overwhelming majority of working folks don’t particularly love their jobs, so I assume, there is a huge market for this kind of stuff out there. It builds on the dream that we as individuals can change reality. We are told that somewhere under a stone, the secret of our life lies explained. We just need to look harder, buy more books, sign up for more survey, hire more coaches (but you can never find that stone). It ignores the bigger picture, the interconnections, the societal responsibilities. Sometimes I wonder if the reason we don’t have universal health care in the US is because if we did, most people would stop putting in so many hours. People would be more inclined to work less if they knew they would be covered if they’d lost their jobs. Yes, there is overconsumption but I am not sure if it’s the driver of all that work or if all that work drives us into overconsuming. To fill the void that our meaningless and draining work creates. It’s probably both, which makes for a nice circular self-feeding machine. In German, a vicious circle is called a circle of the devil (Teufelskreis). How appropriate.