James J Griffin

Investor. Writer. Philosopher. Social Entrepreneur.

Stress and Being Busy in the Millennial Job Market

I grew up in a wired world. Not quite as connected as we are today, but certainly connected. As part of the cusp of the Millennial generation, born in 1982, my brother and I were treated to the on ramp of the Information Superhighway. Dialing into Prodigy at school on a 1,280 bps modem and loving the blazing speed of surfing AOL on a 386 HP desktop with an external 2,400 bps beast. Waiting for a gif or jpg to load was an experiment in agony. We had patience. We weren’t busy. We were little Zen masters and we didn’t know how good we had it.

Can't stack. Too Busy.

Zen Stones by Richard Rydge

Little did I know how quickly information would spread or how quickly we’d all become a series of always on, always reachable worker bees. First there were cell phones, then “crackberries,” and finally iphones or Android devices. Mine never leaves my side. I feel naked unless it’s in my pocket. I have phantom rings and phantom buzzes for text messages never received.

Cracking Under Stress - Bernard Goldbach

Cracking Under Stress – Bernard Goldbach

So, it’s really no surprise that I, like so many of my generation fell completely head first into the myth of “being busy.” The activity trap had us firmly in hand and we never even saw it coming. Like a frog being obliviously boiled alive, we just didn’t see the small increments of our sanity we were giving up with each technological step forward.

How Being Busy Creates Stress

And with that came stress. Stress like you wouldn’t believe.

The problem is that most of us ignore these signals and continue to go about our busy lives. In fact, we’re quick to find reasons to “prove” that the signals we’re receiving from our bodies aren’t serious. We say things like, “Oh, I just didn’t sleep well last night, that’s all. I’ll be fine tomorrow.” Or “It’s probably just something I ate.” That’s why it’s important to know the most commonly reported physical symptoms associated with stress so that when they appear in your life, you’ll recognize them and take action. Link Here.

Aside from the OBGYN issues, the pattern of symptoms fit me to a tee and it was crushing me. The palpitations had me laid up in the ER struggling to calm down, struggling to breathe and struggling to discover what was going on. GI symptoms followed and my appetite disappeared. I began to experience overwhelming fatigue and inability to focus. All the while I was filling google calendar with as many meetings, conference calls and social appointments as the blank white column would allow.

I was broken. I didn’t truly appreciate that being busy does not equal being successful or even productive. Of course we know that now academically, but the stigma of not being busy still pervades this economy’s life blood. If you were lucky enough to make it through the great recession job intact, then you were by far one of the lucky ones who was then expected to cover the workload of three.

Enough is Enough

We’re being buried alive and I for one am done with the stigma. I’ve long since embraced the novel idea that productivity and value are not derived from one’s desire to or ability to be busy for busy’s sake. The appearance of activity is usually one of the greatest indicators, in my opinion, that nothing of substance is actually being done.

Stress by Rafael Castillo

Stress by Rafael Castillo

Human beings are contemplative beings. It’s at the basic core of the meaning of our existence. Cogito ergo sum. Existence is thinking. It’s all that is required to exist. There’s nothing about how much you’re thinking or how busy you are contained within that simple dualism.


The Millennial “Business Busyness” Manifesto

So, in short, I’m finished. You should be too. This project is in its infancy but I’d like to see you dear reader to go along for the ride with me. Along the way you’ll see what it truly means to be productive, what it truly is to create value. Be that value in the workplace, in your relationships or in your own mental development. I hope through this project that I can add not only significant value in your life, but within my own as well.

I look forward to seeing you on the trail. Reach out to me in the comments or on twitter @jamesjgriffin.

About James

James is an investor, itinerant philosopher, startup entrepreneur and writer living in San Diego. You can follow him on twitter @jamesjgriffin or on Google Plus +JamesJGriffin. He is also the founder of DesignYourJoy.co, a community focused on self-development and self-actualization. James lives with his wife Kate and giant beagle, Libby.

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