How Work Became an Inescapable Hellhole

How Work Became an Inescapable Hellhole

The first thing I hear in the morning is my SleepCycle app, which is supposedly monitoring my movements in order to “gently” wake me as I emerge from sleep. I swipe it off and see the first alerts from the various news apps on my phone: bad things, getting worse. I check the Covid numbers in my county, then in my mom’s county. As I lie in bed, my thumb goes to Instagram for truly unknown reasons, but I’m less interested in seeing what others have posted than how many people have liked whatever photo I posted the night before. I check my personal email. I check my work email. I deleted the Twitter app off my phone, but don’t worry: You can always just open Chrome and go to

I get out of bed and yell at Alexa a few times to turn on NPR. I turn on the shower. As it warms up, I check Slack to see if there’s anything I need to attend to as the East Coast wakes up. When I get out of the shower, the radio’s playing something interesting, so while I’m standing there in my towel, I look it up online and tweet it. I get dressed and get my coffee and sit down at the computer, where I spend a solid hour and a half reading things, tweeting things, and waiting for them to get fav’ed. I post one of the stories I read to the Facebook page of 43,000 followers that I’ve been running for a decade. I check back in five minutes to see if anyone’s commented on it. I tell myself I should try to get to work while forgetting this is kind of my work.

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