Culture Shock—Why Going Back to Work Isn’t So Straighforward

Last updated on January 29th, 2013 at 01:38 pm

My office at work, where all the magic happens
This is where all the magic goes down....

The first day back to work after a lengthy vacation is usually a pretty strange feeling—but for me this time, it was even more different than what I was used to.

In the past, I’ve mourned the loss of freedom to while away hours as I pleased, the choice to wake up when I wanted—these things were always replaced with alarm clock-reveilles and the feeling that I wasn’t getting anything done quickly enough.

But this time was different—for the first time, I’d come back with a single question:

“Why?”

Before I’d left for Tanzania, I was pulling 12- to 16-hour days trying to wrap up as much work as possible before leaving. It was as if the fate of the world depended on me getting all of my work done right there and then.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks and I’;m sitting in a hut the size of my office and made of dirt, wood, dried grass and cow dung. It fits six family members, and no one complains about the snug fit, for this is all they know. (We didn’t take pictures, since we thought it would be disrespectful.)

Yet I’m back here and I’m hearing the moans of people who hate their job and others who feel stressed trying to get reports in on time.

However, I still understand how we can get so wrapped up in the madness of our jobs. I woke up this morning to a flurry of emails on my BlackBerry marked “high-priority” and “important”, and while I know it’s going to be a busy day, is that a good enough reason to get myself worked up?

Stop. Take a moment. Think about it—I mean really think about where you are in life and what really matters in your world.

Perhaps you too can experience a much-needed paradigm shift.

–case p.