(cw: suicide) This is a difficult topic to talk about, but we need to be talking about it: When does making a living become making a dying?
As I write this, it’s Labor Day weekend in the United States, and I just read about two recently completed suicides at workplaces. Two people, both at well-known companies, on opposite sides of the world from each other. One in her thirties, and the other, a CFO. While we don’t know all the circumstances, we do know that both were under extreme stress from their responsibilities at work.
Our work can serve multiple purposes for us, but for most of us one of those reasons is to take care of our physical needs. To earn money to pay for shelter, food, and clothing. Perhaps to pay for the same for our families, as well as transportation and education, with some extra left over. There’s more, of course, but the point is we work to earn money to pay for our physical needs for security, safety, and well-being.
We work to support our life. But when work is undermining our well-being, and the well-being of others, and of the planet, then something has gone upside-down.
This isn’t an original thought, or anything new, but I wonder what might happen if we spent more time asking ourselves the question: Are we making a living, or making a dying?
What would happen if we rebuilt our society from the assumption that work should support life, and not the other way around?
What is the first, smallest step we could take today, to start turning this around?4 September 2022