Work responds by telling a story

Ángel Marroquín

Work has changed since the pandemic began. Unusual things, such as teleworking, Zoom-meetings or telecommuting, became the new normal. Meanwhile, countries do everything possible to return to pre-crisis productivity levels and support the economic sectors such as tourism, hotels and restaurants, which have taken longer to open their doors to their customers.


So far, so good. Everyone is optimistic, and those who have been able to save are preparing to spend the money on vacations abroad, renovating their houses, or crowding the newly opened shopping centres. Owners and shareholders rub their hands thinking about their future earnings and the end of this financial hard time.

In this context, it is difficult to predict the direction in which the world of work will move and if this direction will change some features that have become quite repetitive of today’s work: physically strenuous, precarious and low wages jobs for the poor, youth and immigrants; highly competitive, cognitively demanding and equally precarious jobs for the middle class and managerial luxury for the remaining 1%.

We know that the world of work will not be the same after the deep existential questioning experienced during the Covid lockdowns. After all, we have had time to think about the essential things in our lives: whether or not we like our current job, whether or not we love our wife or husband and so forth.

The answers to these questions are there, and they have revealed how we all kept operating on automatic pilot before Covid 19. (Spoiler Alert: Yes, divorces, domestic violence and the use of alcohol, consumption of pornography, antidepressants and drugs increased). But let’s get back to the point.

Am I willing to sell my time and talents to make the owners of this company richer? Is it possible to live in a different way than the one that takes me home from work every day and vice versa? How can I work without work dominating my entire life?

At this point, as in the classic tale, the work faces the Sphinx of Thebes in order to save the land from a pestilential plague that has the hard-working servants, enthusiastic worshipers and employees of the month in a dire state.

The work should answer this question:

Why continue working in a world that is dying?

The work then responds by telling this story:

A honeycomb sensor has recently been developed. This sensor reports in real-time the temperature, humidity, movement and sound inside the combs. If the temperature is very high inside the honeycomb, the bees stop producing honey and try to cool the honeycomb through the movement of their wings (thus, stop ‘working’). The sensor helps honeycomb owners to maintain the temperature at an optimal level that allows the bees not to be distracted and work until death in the production of honey.

The sphinx vanishes, the city is freed from the plague, and everything returns to normal.

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