Work and Escape 💨

My wife and I started Severance this weekend which made me think a bit about work/life balance.

The premise of the show takes the idea of separating employment and the rest of life to the extreme by examining what might happen if our corporate self could only exist at the office, and vice versa. For the uninitiated, the characters in the show voluntarily receive a brain implant that prevents them from remembering anything about their jobs while at home, and anything about home from nine to five.

While watching the show, something that struck me was how the ideas of work and escape are intertwined. The main character, Mark, (played by Adam Scott) elected to undergo severance because his wife died and the thought of grieving for eight fewer hours per day was appealing. On the other hand, many of us see our jobs themselves as something from which to escape so that we can live the rest of our lives.

We all gravitate toward one extreme or the other, but it seems to me that the healthiest relationship to work is somewhere in the middle – neither using it as an escape nor fleeing that ~33% of our lives, but approaching our jobs with a mindset of craftsmanship and presence.

On that note, I'm about one month into contracting with a new freelance client. Things are good, and I think this arrangement will be a solid fit with the mix of small bets that I've made. I've got a few other things in flight and am looking forward to sharing them with you soon.

Pete's Picks

  1. What I'm Reading: I heard George Saunders on a podcast and then picked up A Swim in a Pond in the Rain. Saunders is America's leading short story writer, and the book is a condensed version of a course he teaches at Syracuse on Russian short stories. I'm only halfway through and this book has already changed how I read literature – high recommend.
  2. What I'm Watching: In addition to Severance, I've also started The Patient and finished Archive 81. They're pretty different from one another, but both are great.

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