The art of work

Avantika Sinha
Sep 05, 2012

There are no great poems about office life. Nor are there movies or stories or paintings or comics or songs that celebrate the day to day challenges of work. Every other conceivable topic gets covered through these art forms – love, parenting, college, friends, sporting triumphs, wizards, dinosaurs and even aliens. But inspiration for the arts from our regular jobs seems to be in short supply.

We live in a world where work is seen as a drudgery to escape from. The very phrase ‘work-life balance’ implies that we see our lives split in two: One of those components is ‘life’ where we by definition ‘live’. This implies that the other component, ‘work’, is separate from our ‘life’ and, by logical extension, that when we are at work we are dead.

The best managers don’t work in this zombie-like daze. They don’t see work as a chore – they see it as a subject to be learned and mastered.

The truly great managers see it as even more than that – they see it as a medium of self expression. People like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, etc don’t do their jobs so they have enough money so they can ‘live’ during their non-work time. They produce art during their working hours. And people admire the art these great masters produce in the same way that they admire the paintings of a Van Gogh or the symphonies of a Beethoven.

Are you treating your work as a job or as a canvas?