‘We Need New [Work] Role Models’

By Rachel Kaufman Comment

Americans often cite their “Puritan work ethic” as the reason why they’re a) so productive and b) the only industrialized nation without mandatory maternity leave; all manner of other work-related issues can be traced back to our Puritan roots, scholars argue.

But Dan Pallotta, writing in the Harvard Business Review, reminds everyone that worry isn’t the same as work.

“Worry isn’t work. Being stressed out isn’t work. Anxiety isn’t work. Entertaining a sense of impending doom isn’t work. Incessant internal verbal punishment isn’t work. Indulging the great unknown fear in your own mind isn’t work. Hating yourself isn’t work.

“Work is the manifestation of value, and anyone who tells you that a person whose mind is 50% occupied with anxiety is more likely to manifest value is a person who isn’t manifesting much.”

He argues for taking care of yourself–exercising, meditating, taking a long lunch, going on vacation, even going to church (or a movie if you’d prefer).

After all: “The Puritans had a strong work ethic. They also burned witches at the stake and massacred Native American women and children. We need new role models.”