Disclaimer: The views expressed within this article are entirely the author’s own and are not attributable to Wessex Scene as a whole.
‘Your productivity doesn’t define your worth.’
A mantra fit for the collective neo-conscience against wearying values and ethics born of bone-deep capitalism, these words have found special significance in our current mercurial days, owing to fickle governance that many have judged to have forsaken its people. (This will resonate far beyond the UK.) On days when the peeking daylight stings your eyes; when your numbed skin against sheets feels like sanctuary; when opening your eyes likewise opens the door to an inner cacophony of reminders, agendas and promises, just remember: your productivity doesn’t define your worth.
And that’s kind. It’s a kind thought. But my worth, as inherent and inflexible as it is, isn’t what I depend upon. To speak of worth in circumstances where conventional progress and indeed living rely on what you can do for and show to others above you, is telling me I have a heart of gold in an economy of diamonds.
You may be a student; you may be on minimum wage; you may be a professional; you may freelance; you may be an apprentice; you may own a business; these words have their relevance to you regardless. You’re productive to earn your supposed place in the job market. You’re productive for the transfer that puts food on the table and credit in your meters. You’re productive for the scarce, glittering opportunities you see to, ironically, afford to be less productive. You’re productive because certain expectations have been set of you in return for something vital. Life, as we know it, is a continuous contract.
So on the occasion you accept you’re overwhelmed and give in to being human, you wake up next to guilt. You scramble to see it out, of course. Many of us would race to words of solace here and slogans are pithy, easy to recall.
‘Your productivity doesn’t define your worth.’ Repeat it enough times, caress it around your mind like a balm. Sometimes, it takes. Other times, the rest of your day remains overcast. But as with anything that attempts to address trouble at the surface, are you surprised?
You see, words like these would have you settle on the idea that preventing guilt and self-loathing is an inner journey, a call for meditation and introspection. It is not. The dissonance you feel within is appropriate and permanent. No one has taught you to decouple your sense of wellbeing from your productivity—what you actually need—because that would be fraudulent. Your prospects, your security, your future—all that upholds your sense of wellbeing is earnt in this society, and well, you need to work to earn.