Viewer Obsession Advised

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As is common with Netflix making so many movies and TV shows so readily available these days, I’ve been watching a lot of the show “Bones”.  If you don’t know, the show is about a forensic anthropologist (someone who learns information by studying human remains, i.e. bones) who partners with the FBI to help solve murders.  Obviously that’s a general summary, but you get the idea.

When I say I’ve been watching a lot of “Bones”, I mean I’ve been watching a lot of episodes.  Some days I won’t watch any, but on the days that I do get a chance, I watch multiple episodes.  “Binge watching”, if you will.  I’ve even had a few dreams about the show, mostly just with the characters speaking in the scientific and matter-of-factual way that they do, nothing like I’m one of the characters or anything like that.  It’s kind of like watching an episode.

I think that the creators of Netflix had a really great idea.  If I wanted to watch a TV show before Netflix, I’d have to buy a season in order to watch a show when I wanted to, or hope that I would find all the episodes in the randomly selected TV lineup.  Now I can watch whatever I want (if it’s on Netflix) whenever I want.  I can even watch Netflix on my phone if I’m in a bind.

Now that it’s so easy to watch so much TV, I wonder if more people are spending their time in front of the TV than they were before services like Netflix.  I know that I personally spend more time watching TV episodes than I used to.  My work environment seems to enforce that mindset of mindless TV watching too.  I don’t mean that we just watch TV mindlessly at work all day; but in this “blue collar” job, a lot of people go home tired and just want to relax in front of a TV that distracts them from their day/life.

When I worked in a “white collar” environment though, more of my coworkers tended to discuss books they were reading and TV they watched.  They were more selective in what they watched.  Sometimes they would watch something just as an escape, but most of the time it seemed like my coworkers were choosing what they watched purposefully, whether it was because they wanted to educate themselves or because they wanted to be able to join in on the discussion of something at work (usually on an analytical level).

It’s interesting for me to see these two sets of work environments now that I feel like I’m more educated than most of the people I work with at my “blue collar” job.  I don’t mean to come off as mean or condescending, but when the people around me do nothing but talk about their personal drama, or read each other the text messages their ex sent them yesterday, or my boss thinks it’s confusing when I use words like “indecisive”, it dulls the brain.  My coworkers are not intellectually stimulating.

I’m sure someone out there has done a study connecting work environments to intellectual capacity or interests; I’m just basing my comments on pure observation.  Obviously the things I’m saying are not exclusive to all types of work environments, but I find it very difficult to think creatively in my “blue collar” work environment these days.  Sometimes I’ll have a creative burst now and again, as you can probably notice based on the frequency of my blog posts these days, but most days I feel brain dead when I get off of work.  It would be nice if there was a perfect work environment that ideally balanced challenging the body and mind…

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We Are What We Let Ourselves Be

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Last week I neglected to post anything on my blog.  I could defend myself and say that I didn’t have any creative energy, forgot, or had too much going on.  Most of these reasons are true, but really I think it just comes down to the fact that I was too lazy.

I’ve been good about posting for a while now, but have noticed that since I started working at my current job, I’ve started to become lazier in the creative sense.  I am on my feet for my entire shift, aside from one 15 minute break and any trip to the bathroom.  So yes, it can be tiring.  But I’ve noticed as well that a lot of my coworkers are…well, lazy.

I know we’ve all heard the saying “you are what you eat”, meaning if you eat poorly, your body and energy levels will reflect your food decisions.  I’m not sure if there’s a phrase for “you are who you hang out with” though, at least when you don’t have a say in the people you have to work with.

As hard as I’ve tried to not fall into patterns and behaviors that I see in my coworkers (I try to work when I’m at work and not waste time—you know, take some pride in my work even though it’s not what I want to do as a career) it can be difficult to resist mentalities that you are around almost every day.

Of course everyone’s entitled to be lazy or spend their free time as they wish.  I think that when we’re at work we should work though.  The interesting thing is that I haven’t adopted the lazy attitude of many of my coworkers while I’m at work.  I’ve noticed however, that instead of thinking about creative or original things while I’m working, I kind of zone out.

The work I do as a cake decorator is repetitive.  I can’t experiment with new ideas or designs; I have to make the cakes that the store wants me to make.  Now that I don’t have to think quite so hard about how to follow the exact guidelines I am given, my mind is able to wander while I’m working—unless of course a customer has a question or needs help.

I enjoy my work.  I don’t dislike it.  It’s not a place that gives me free reign of course, but not many jobs are like that that I know of.  I’m curious how other people approach their work days.  Do we all space out until it’s quitting time?  What do we do when we’re done for the day?  Do we all just go home and continue to be mindless zombies?

Now that I’ve caught myself falling into these patterns, I’m going to make more of an effort to stop myself from zoning out.  I should stop focusing on the fact that my feet hurt, or that my coworker is annoying me and instead focus on challenging my brain instead of letting it be lazy.

I hope that all of us are able to find hobbies that we enjoy, and also challenge us when we aren’t at our mindless jobs.  If we’re just going through the motions every day and really have nothing original to be proud of, what’s the point of doing what we’re doing?