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Dormant Versus a Bias Toward Action

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The Shroud of Tuesday

What if your work stopped—on purpose?

We celebrate and expect constant productivity gains in our culture. Wall Street rewards those gains as they decrease the expense line of any business. We congratulate those people in constant motion who have momentum and trajectory.

But is constant forward motion sustainable?


Sure: looking back over the arc of our life we can cobble together a story about how we were always moving toward this invention or position or conclusion or achievement. That bit of personal cinema we learned from the biographer’s art.

In the moment, however, there are dormant times: work goes south, dries up, gets boring. There are times when it is not at all clear what to do next, which way to go, or even if this work will succeed at all. Doubts interfere. Even if you have a boss telling you what to do, there can be internal fallow times where you silently rethink your commitment to this job or that project or that leader.

We hate those times when work goes dormant.

We love movement and purpose, followed by lots more movement.

But dormant is not the same as death, despite how being laid-off feels like a mini-death. And when a work-stoppage happens it is hard to believe the rejuvenating effects of a release from movement. And yet, most of us do make it out the other side. And typically we have a new grasp of where we need to go and what we need to do.

I’ve always wondered how any living thing survives the bitter cold of the northern United States. Every winter I am amazed that cars start and water flows and life continues at 20 degrees below zero (F). Then March and April bring thaws and by May that dead-looking Maple blooms all over again.

Every year.

Maybe the cycles outside my window are a better analogy for work: there are ebbs and flows. And maybe it is worth building up a bit of patience with slower times, and even to embrace them and allow them to do their hidden work.

Even on a Tuesday.


Image credit: Kirk Livingston

Written by kirkistan

December 9, 2014 at 9:24 am

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