Friday, September 10, 2010

Apathy

Apathy: 1) Lack of feeling or emotion, impassiveness; 2) Lack of interest or concern, indifference.

I realized yesterday as I left work that I am suffering from a frightening, almost toxic level of apathy about my job. It's not to the point of making a serious error, but it is to the point of impacting my ability to do my job effectively on a daily basis.

Why is this?

I'd like to say that it is something that is being forced on my by circumstances beyond my control, by individuals and movements and events which I am a victim of. That in fact no matter how hard I can try, it's like walking uphill against an avalanche.

I'd like to say that. The reality is, while it all may very well be true, they're only excuses, not reasons. The reason that I don't care is that I choose to not care.

Ouch.

Why do I work? This was the question that confronted me as I walked through this exercise. Obviously it's not because I am deeply impacted by what I do - I should want to do a good job, but there is not sense that what I do impacts my life. I attempted to walk through this exercise by doing a Logic Tree - an exercise where one asks "Why?", then lists possible answers, then asks "Why?" again and lists more answers, and so on. This exercise, also known as "The Five Whys" will eventually lead to the root cause of an event or action.

Or should. My Logic Tree was not very persuasive. Moving from why I work is to get money, I then went to "Why do I need to get money?". My eventual answers - Because I'm the dad and it's my job, because it allows me to be a good Christian witness by supporting, tithing, and being and good employee, and that it allows me to pay for things for Na Clann - were not the sort of answers that made me excited when I looked at them.

The bottom line why I don't care: I choose not to. Why do I choose not to? Therein lies the rub. All the answers that come to my mind - it doesn't matter, it's not important, it's not relevant, you benefit others who would cast you aside in a moment if needed - all in the end condemn me. They may be true, but they are things that happen outside of me. The apathy is within me.

Why don't I care? Because overwhelmed with the sheer number of tasks to be accomplished and an atmosphere of indifference, I have made the conscious decision that I would rather do little than do a lot because me feeling like I am doing meaningful work is more important to me than me being one of the few that cares, even if it gets me nothing. I would rather wallow in indifference and failure than expend effort on something which benefits my life no more than allowing me to make a salary. I have chosen to accept that my emotional fulfillment is more important than doing the right thing, even if it means I will not do the things I think I should do.

And that constant note of me, mine and I does nothing to present either a good witness for Christ nor a good example to my family of how one works even if one doesn't care for what one is doing.

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