Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Whose woods these are.

There’s an old phrase I’m thinking of that is as out-dated as an inkwell:
“out of the woods.”

We used to say, “We’re almost out of the woods,” when we had gone through a lot and we were nearing completion of a tough or onerous task.

Like seven weeks into an eight week pitch.

Or 22 miles into a marathon.

Or even if you had completed filling out most of your tax paperwork.

You’ve probably said it to yourself.

But in the new world, I’m afraid we’re never out of the woods. That tasks, burdens, hurdles to clear (I’m mixing metaphors here) are like waves in a stormy sea: they just keep coming.

Some of this never-out-of-the-woods-ness is surely driven by personal pride and ambition. We work hard at our work and at our careers.

But more, I’m afraid is thanks to macro-economic realities. Old people are devalued and have to work ever-harder in a world where experience no longer counts. Wealth and power is concentrated in fat, pink plutocratic hands. And original and insightful work is as devalued as the German mark during the Weimar.

So we endure the abuse, the crap, the hardship of never being out of the woods.

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