I’ve written before about my challenges with this culture of productivity we live in (Read it here). We always need to get the highest mark, the best degree, the most elite job, earn the most money, have the nicest property, etc. This competition is bred into us from the second we start school and continues until we die. This is why people who can’t be stereotypically productive fall through the cracks of our system. It’s an age-old story that I’m sure you’ve heard many times before.
Along with this, people who do care work are forgotten. This might be because they need to miss work to take care of themselves, their children, their parents, etc. If they are missing work then they are missing out on opportunities to advance their career and be a competitor in this productivity game. Or if people are employed in care work – it is often seen as a last resort or a transition job (just a job until something better comes along) because its not competitive. Care workers in any capacity are (definitely) not in it for the money or the power they are given in society (at least I hope not). Perhaps this is because caring is not seen as productive? It’s not competitive nor money-driven so it gets forgotten or not seen as a legitimate career choice.
Obviously, I don’t believe any of this because I actually believe the opposite to be true.
Caring is the most productive. I would argue that caring is the most productive thing we can do as humans.
If we do not care for ourselves our bodies and minds won’t be healthy. And if we don’t care for those around us, we’ll be doing life alone.
It’s productive to care for those around us because if we climb this huge productivity ladder to be the best we’re going to be up there alone – and what good does that do us? If we don’t remember to care for ourselves and others a long the way, I know that view and life at the top of that ladder is going to be a sad one.
Sure, we all still need money to survive, and work/productivity helps us get that money. But making all our choices based on making the most money and becoming the most successful is not always be the best move.
What if we exerted less effort on being the best in the game and instead cared for our fellow players? Why do we have to keep getting better and better and better and richer and richer and richer and more powerful and more powerful and more powerful than the next person? If we cared about the person standing next to us we’d rise up stronger.
When we deem unproductive people as lesser, we will all suffer. Because there will be a time in all our lives when we are less productive than the next person.
Right now, our world places so much importance on money and competition which leaves little room for stepping back and caring for ourselves and the people around us. We need to have the best and most expensive degree to even think about getting a steady job. Or we need to work our butts off every single day to advance our careers and prove our worth.
I think we often hear people pushing back against this narrative of hustling by arguing that self-care is productive. I totally agree with this. But I think we should expand this to include taking care of the people around us.
It has taken a pandemic for the government (and much of society) to understand the worth of care work. The government finally realized the sometimes tough realities of the caregiving field and offered a temporary pay increase. I hope this trend will continue.
Because caregiving is literally the most productive thing we can do. And I think we should start treating it that way.
Follow along to hear all about the ups and downs in direct support work, young adult life, and allyship – it sure has given me lots to write about! Enjoy some casual, light-hearted tales about all my adventures along the way.