As for why we are dissatisfied

Written by on August 21, 2011 in Faith and Spiritual Life, Notes By The Way with 0 Comments

This review of a new book by Cathy Davidson rings so true:

We’ve been trained to assume that working hard means focusing on a single task to completion, then doing it again. But, says Davidson, “the new workplace requires different forms of attention than the workplace we were trained for…

The result is that we feel anxious and guilty, convinced we’re not getting enough done, not achieving an honest day’s work, failing to live up to the iconic model of our hard-working, brick-and-mortar grandparents.

I am working on many things at once. I trust and hope they will all converge, but I don’t know if and when. I’m over my head trying to engage in a very complex world. That’s just as true in Cambodia, or more so, because the representatives of the developed world are here in full force trying to “help” and “make a difference” with so many anticipated and unanticipated results spiraling out of sight. This country is change too fast for anyone to keep track of. Sometimes I crave just one thing to do with my hands with simple results I can measure.

For any one of us who has been panicking about how to adapt to constant, ubiquitous demands on our attention—how to achieve relevant, quality work, even as the workplace is shifting beneath our feet—it’s comforting to know that most people have yet to figure this out, and that it’s not a reflection on our natural capacities or intelligence.

Do I need focus? Must I cut back my tasks and simplify my goals? Or do I need to embrace multitasking and a diversity of aims? Accept my inability to control results? Learn to think and focus differently? Find new and better ways to collaborate?

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About the Author

About the Author: Andy Gray is a writer and photographer living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and working with Alongsiders International. You can find him puttering around the streets of Phnom Penh on his Suzuki Viva 125, running stoplights and driving on the wrong side of the road or on the sidewalks like a local. If you see him in a coffee shop, he'll be the one typing and deleting the same line over and over again. .

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