We have been reflecting on the amount of time that we spend at work. Having a ‘good work ethic’ can start out with good intentions, but all too often translates into many hours of unpaid overtime or being given more and more work. There is always more work to do and we feel that our ‘good work ethic’ is verging on becoming nothing more than corporate slaves. Shantideva makes this comparison:
73. Some are wretched in their great desire,
But worn out by their daylong work,
They go home broken by fatigue
To sleep the slumbers of a corpse.
In other words, by becoming a corporate slave we give all of our energy and focus on to the goals at work, fulfilling the objectives of the company but with nothing left to meet their spiritual objectives. The phrase ‘corporate slave’ is strong but it evokes the idea of somebody that is overworked, lost in the busyness of the modern work environment with these features:
- The shifting landscape of project priorities.
- Tightening project deadlines.
- Noisy open-plan offices and loud coworkers.
- Distractions from multiplying communication channels, including phones, SMS text message, online discussion groups, document collaboration, traditional email, and many more.
The verse in this article was taken from this translation of the text by Shantideva:
‘The Way of the Bodhisattva’ by Shantideva translation by Padmakara Translation Group