9
   

What is the difference between your Work and Play?

 
 
chai2
 
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 12:59 pm
Why is one activity "work" with a negative connotation, and other "play", which is positive?

Why is it at an early age we learn that putting our toys/clothes in their proper place is a chore, but fitting a puzzle together, putting a ball through a hoop is fun?

Why is trying to get the vacuum into a tight space to pick up the dirt there a pain in the ass, but maneuvering a row boat through a narrow gap fun?

My neighbor told me when she was little, her mom would tie dust rags to her knees, feet and hands, and let her crawl around into tight spots. She loved it and thought it was great fun, until her father came home one day, and got mad.

So many times while on my knees gardening, various people passing by will comment what hard work it is. I'd rather be doing that than running around a tennis court, jogging down the street, or riding a bike.

Why do we work in the garage on our car or other hooby, calling it relaxation, but dread going to an office?
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 01:09 pm
@chai2,
Some people go to gyms and pick things up. Then they put things down. They park as close to the entrance as possible so they won't have to walk so far.

I won't try to explain any of that.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  2  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 01:45 pm
One difference is that people pretty much have to work, whatever it is. Less choice, more duty.

Sometimes my work was play, which I count myself lucky for.

I used to love looking in the fluorescent microscope and assessing what I saw, used to totally enjoy routine hematology work in an early lab, and got a kick out of the work our later research lab did based on conjectures. Once it was even better when the conjecture was dead wrong and the surprise result was of great interest.
Next work I did was site design in landscape architecture. That was really fun most days, stressful as all get out on other days and late nights. But the nub of it was the pleasure of playing "what if"?
With both of those careers there are down sides, but that's the way of it.
For a long time my paintings sold pretty well, so aside from the pleasure of playing with paint that was also sort of a career with little stress, more of a do as you feel like thing. JLNobody and I have talked sporadically online for years about the element of play in painting.

This is all aside from making money, which was always on the low side as income, not a heavy interest for me (alas, but true). I supported my husband for half our years (while he wrote), and I'm still not sorry about that, however financially stupid it was. Fascinating years I wouldn't trade.

So, what? If circumstances let you in these job and money tight times and you are making long term work choices, look for possible play-at-work options. But that's so obvious - if possible, money being equal or similar, wouldn't anyone choose work they'd be apt to like over work that would drive them nuts? The trick might be figuring out what you find fun.

This whole thing brings up the age old question of what happens if you turn a side interest into a way of making a living? I've seen that go both ways, ruin the hobby, or turn out terrifically. More often terrifically.

0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 01:57 pm
Actually, I was (clumsily I guess) trying to make another point.

All activities being equal, i.e. pushing a vacuum as opposed to pushing a curling broom, why is one considered work, one play?

Like roger was saying....people wait in their car running their engines, until a close parking space opens up....then, they go inside and run on a treadmill.

At work we deal with all kinds of personalities, both good and bad, and call it work.

We come here and deal with all kinds of personalities, both good and bad, and call it relaxation.

Why do we instill the mindset that doing the same activity, climbing a tree or climbing to our roof to clean the gutters, is so different?
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 02:01 pm
@chai2,
I see I did veer off of your point. I guess that mine was - that my work has been play a lot of the time.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 02:05 pm
@chai2,
The big difference for me is that one is voluntary and the other is mandatory (since I can't live without getting paid).

I am a computer programmer. At work I open up an IDE and write and debug code. When I get home, I often open up the same IDE and write and debug code.

The difference is that at home I am writing code that interests me. I have a couple of things that really fascinate me and I find getting these things to work the way I want them too is both relaxing and rewarding. At work I write code for customers and for the boss. I have to do whatever needs to get done whether it interests me or not. And, if something at work stops being interesting, I still have to finish it on a deadline.

It is funny to me how I can do essentially the same thing at home that I do at work, but at home I always enjoy it.
Mame
 
  2  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 02:38 pm
@chai2,
Because often at work we're being bossed by someone, we have to put up with ****-heads or other negative factors, and we're tied there for x hours, whereas, on your own time, you can quit when you want, deal with whom you want, and change what you're doing when you want.

Basically, it comes down to choices.

There's no difference in effort in curling and sweeping a floor, but if you're getting paid to do it, you don't own your own life. Howz that?
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 02:45 pm
@maxdancona,
Yes, I was starting to say "obligation."

There are some obligations I enjoy, though. Some of my work I enjoy a lot, and some household chores I enjoy.

Other parts of my work and some other household chores aren't enjoyable at all.

So the line doesn't really seem to be between work and play per se. I think the categories might be "flow" or not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f6/Challenge_vs_skill.svg/300px-Challenge_vs_skill.svg.png

The stuff that engages me, gives me quick feedback, and is a meet-able challenge are the things that I enjoy (whether they're officially "play" or "work").

The stuff that's overwhelming, ill-defined, or just terribly boring are the things I don't enjoy (whether they're officially "play" or "work.")

Household stuff I love:

- Organizing (I'm currently completely reorganizing our family room, which includes my and sozlet's workspaces, and all of our books, which has so far involved making five large pieces of Ikea furniture, moving a bunch of furniture, moving a bazillion books, and doing a bunch of paperwork, art and office supply organization, all on my own).

- Cooking (that's relatively new, I used to hate it, because I didn't know what I was doing and it wasn't a flow experience).

- Dramatic cleaning (immediate noticeable effect).

Household stuff I sometimes hate and sometimes merely dislike:

- Sweeping, dusting, etc. If it's gotten really bad I don't mind it and sometimes really enjoy it. When it's just maintenance stuff where you can't even really see the difference I get really bored.

- Gardening. I try to like it but my yard is so overwhelming and I still haven't gotten on top of it. I keep hoping it will change a la cooking but it hasn't yet. It doesn't help that I'm allergic to something out there and a day of yardwork pretty much always leads to a couple of weeks of feeling like crap.

- Bathroom cleaning. Same thing about dramatic, maintenance stuff bores me.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 02:47 pm
@maxdancona,
When you say the work at home you do is interesting, but the actual "work" is mandatory....

Even in our most favorite activity there's going to be aspects that are necessary, but not really interesting.

You want to ski down a mountain, you have to adjust your gear exactly right...boring.

Even making love, you may have to make time for the condom to get put on. etc.

So what we call play isn't all carefree, just as I suspect that unless you're utterly miserable every minute at your paid work, a large percentage of your day is actually fun, interesting, rather nice.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 02:59 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

Yes, I was starting to say "obligation."

There are some obligations I enjoy, though. Some of my work I enjoy a lot, and some household chores I enjoy.

Other parts of my work and some other household chores aren't enjoyable at all.

So the line doesn't really seem to be between work and play per se. I think the categories might be "flow" or not.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f6/Challenge_vs_skill.svg/300px-Challenge_vs_skill.svg.png



Hey soz, I just took a first look at this chart, let me see if I understand something...

According to the lower right corner, if your skill level is high, but the challenge is low that's "relaxing".
I would term that "boring"

Where the chart says "control", I would call that "relaxation" high skills, medium challange = only slight pressure to perform.

I'd tend to call the charts "flow" area to my "control" When something is difficult, but I'm up to it, I'm controlling it.

Also, there would be a blurry line for me separating the worry and anxiety areas.

Interesting.
huh, so basically, for the lower and right side of the chart, I'd push everything back counter-clockwise.



sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 03:05 pm
@chai2,
Yeah, I was trying to pick something from the wikipedia entry to quote, decided to go with the chart. It's imprecise, I'd recommend reading the whole thing.

I agree about high skill + low challenge being more boring than relaxing.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 03:09 pm
@Mame,
Mame wrote:

Because often at work we're being bossed by someone, we have to put up with ****-heads or other negative factors, and we're tied there for x hours, whereas, on your own time, you can quit when you want, deal with whom you want, and change what you're doing when you want.

There's no difference in effort in curling and sweeping a floor, but if you're getting paid to do it, you don't own your own life. Howz that?


Howz that?
It sounds like someone who is in the position of being utterly miserable all the time at their job, with nothing about it they like.

Using words like "tied there" makes it sound like you're being held hostage.

In our own time we also deal with ****-heads, negative factors, where you can't walk away. That's life in general. I'll freely admit that at my prior job my employer drove me crazy, but the work was fine. I did have to make a choice to stay as long as I did, for good reason. I'd do it again. Now that I've been gone for 5 months, I haven't regreted a day. I'd go back to the same work which could be quite fun (to me), but not the same boss.

If curling and sweeping the floor are the same thing, and someone's paying me for one of them, I'd feel like I owned the activity I was being paid for.

There's lot's of things I do for "fun" or pleasure that I can't just stop in the middle, or change what I'm doing midstream. Not if you're in the middle of a process.

I dunno, it just seems we hold onto this idea of work being less fun in general, and I just question that.

Perhaps it's the attitude.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 03:13 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:

I dunno, it just seems we hold onto this idea of work being less fun in general, and I just question that.


I think that's where obligation comes into it too, though.

If an obligation is not enjoyable, we do it anyway because it's an obligation. (Work.)

If a non-obligatory activity is not enjoyable, we don't do it anymore because why the heck do something unpleasant for no reason? (Play.)

So of course play is going to be more enjoyable, overall, than our work, even if work has enjoyable parts to it.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 03:19 pm
@sozobe,
I guess the word "obligation" has changed it's personal meaning for me over the years.

Or better yet, I've drawn lines past which I refuse to be obligated, so anything below that I'm totally willing to be obligated to.

If I'm willing to be obligated, I've made that choice, so can try to make it fun, or play.

0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 03:46 pm
@chai2,
Ill shut up but In my world, Id do my job for free (and often do). I find it challenging, stirring, phsyical, mental, problem solving, writing, thinking, using muscles to get to where the action is. Im indoors or outdoors as much as I want.

AND
would I do it all over, you bet.
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 04:02 pm
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

Ill shut up but In my world, Id do my job for free (and often do). I find it challenging, stirring, phsyical, mental, problem solving, writing, thinking, using muscles to get to where the action is. Im indoors or outdoors as much as I want.

AND
would I do it all over, you bet.


No, don't shut up, I always love reading you.

You know, this makes me wonder why we went (and send our kids) for all this edumacation, spent or will spend all this money so we could be prepared to do stuff that makes us unhappy.

Even if we didn't have official places of employment that pay us, we'd all have to do a variety of activities to ensure our survival.

Yet, whenever you read or hear of societies that more manage without "jobs" you never hear them say "oh ****, it's the Fall, I gotta go slaughter that hog and make hams" or "these clothes got torn, I have to sew them" It's just part of what you do, and today, going to a job is what most of us do.
In fact, they really couldn't stop until a job was done, whether they were tired or not.

Correct me if I'm wrong farmer, but I remember hearing a long time ago that, in general, the Amish don't (or didn't) have a strong sense of separation of work and play. True?

farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 04:26 pm
@chai2,
very true and Kraybill, in his books on Amish culture repeats tha as a fact.They have the strong sense of community and duty so work and play all serve the same clearly identifiable purposes to theoir commnity. Yo will never see AMISH engaging in individual recretional activities. Even when they go fishing its a group thing. The kids all play volleyball or cornerball or baseball and the girls and boys play together for most of their lives until about their "wild days" of Ruhmspringe.

Ive always sbmitted that, if youre gonna go farther into academics for higher degrees, yo damn well better love what your getting into or it just dont make no sense for all the hard tedious work. If theres some way that some aspect of yor pro life can be a hobby, I think youve attained a higher sense of peace and worth to yourself.
If you hate what you do as your career, thats a whole bunch of your year thats just a waste of time IMHO.

0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 05:13 pm
my "play" activities usually involve as much work as my money making activities. farming and gardening are what I enjoy, but I sweat and get dirty a lot...

my work has finally gotten to the stage that it is mostly fun. I still accept car jobs I know Ima regret, but I always make sure they pay well. and a lot of the work I do is actually very fun. I'd do the stagehand thing for just the experience and the free t-shirt if I had to. fortunately it pays very well in addition to the fun times. and I enjoy fabricating stuff for folks with the welder.

I cannot imagine going to an office everyday.

even when I had a job with an office, it was just a starting point for the day most times...
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 06:02 pm
@farmerman,
I love my profession. I don't love my job so much. Part of it is that with the constraints of work I don't get to fully engage creatively the way I can in my own projects.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sat 24 Mar, 2012 06:29 pm
@chai2,
There should be little difference in fact, or your wages will never be enough... creation should be recreation!!! As Aristotle suggested: people do well what they enjoy, and enjoy what they do well and to this they give the chief of all their days... Now, life being what it is, people are not only alienated from the product of their labor, but from any understanding of their place in the process.. jobs are reduced to meaningless repetition which devalue honest labor with worthless returns ; but bosses too, squeezed for profit often demean further those getting the bulk of their meaning, literally, what they are by what they do...
0 Replies
 
 

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