When I run out of money, I sometimes have to accept tedious jobs. Last weekend, I was transcribing and translating interviews with patients receiving biopharmaceuticals for what seemed like a very serious disease.
Asked about the worst part of the treatment, one young man replied that he hated having to sit still while getting an infusion: “I completely lose these two hours. I cannot work during that time. I cannot even make phone calls because I have to keep my arm still. My clients cannot reach me and I need to delegate and organize everything. It’s terrible.”
He had to get the infusion once every six weeks. So he “lost” 17 hours a year. 17 hours in order to stay alive and, as long as the medication remains effective, to live without major problems.
I guess a lot of people only are workaholics because they can’t think of anything else to do with their time. If you can’t read or listen to a book for two hours, if you can’t listen to Brahms or the Beatles for two hours, if you don’t have any friend who would accompany you for a talk during that time, if you can’t sit still and just dream for a while, then I feel pity instead of the admiration that you think you deserve because you are such a successful businessman.
If you are suffering from a serious disease and your biggest concern is that your clients can’t bother you for two hours, you may have your priorities mixed up.
By the way, it was a disease of which some say that it isn’t exactly helped by stress. I wish doctors could order long walks in the forest (without a phone, of course) or reading a novel. The Magic Mountain would be a good start.