Once upon a time there was an elf. No, not the Santa’s helper sort; a proper kind of elf. Every day she worked hard making shoes for unicorns, starting in the stables until lunchtime then crafting them in her forge until late at night. Weeks went by, and she kept going; but whenever anyone asked her if she needed help, or how she was doing, she’d just smile and say she was fine, doing good thanks.
The Lord she worked for ran a huge stable, and every week he’d buy more horses, unicorns, and sometimes even pegasi. Since the elf always seemed happy and cheerful, he didn’t hire any more blacksmiths/stable hands to help her. He assumed that, since everyone else came to him with their problems, she’d do likewise.
Time passed, the elf got more and more tired, but she kept on and kept smiling; though even the unicorns she shod were starting to notice her fatigue. They urged her to take a break, but she wouldn’t hear of it – she was needed after all. Finally she became ill to the point of being bedridden.
The Lord himself came to visit her and asked why she hadn’t spoken before;
“I love my work, it was no bother.”
He hired more stable hands.
Now, before anyone starts panicking – I’m not that ill, just a bit of a cold. Further, I’m not that overworked, just starting to feel a little tired. The reason I’m sharing this story with you (made this particular version up, though I’ve heard similar many times) is because we all live in a society where we’re expected to work hard.
All the time. We’re taught that in general we’re not going to enjoy this work, and what we’re meant to aim for is work that we will enjoy working hard at so that it won’t matter that we don’t get to rest. The danger I see there is in loving your work, and still never taking a break. Further, we never ask for the things that’d help us even though the people we’d ask would be more than willing to give them to us!
Is anyone else falling into that trap? How ill would you have to be before you stop for a while? What would make your life easier that you’ve just never asked for?
Also, does anyone want a guest post? Just checking.