How school preps us for workaholism
Whether on purpose or not
People have so often made the point that school educates us in compliance above all, it’s almost cliché at this point. I’ll belabor the point with a loose list of the precise ingredients we pick up in school that later turn us into full-blown workaholics:
Grades train you to judge your work according to someone else’s standards rather than your own--perfect for feeling like you always need to overdeliver
Consequences of your performance feel permanent: your grades become your record become your sense of self-worth as a “good” or “bad” student (again, all externally determined)
By virtue of having new teachers every single year, people rarely get the chance to know or value you beyond said record of grades or “references” from others
Of course, there’s the obvious parallel of teachers and managers, report cards and performance reviews, and both being weaponized through family shame
EDIT: Oh my god and homework! Homework, getting you used to bringing the job home with you
I know many amazing teachers and don’t have strong takes on a better education system. I’m just saying, anyone struggling to understand their workaholism can do much worse than unpacking their experiences at school and the stories they now tell themselves as a result.
By the way, Jules Henry’s Culture Against Man is a dense but amazing ethnography on American schools (as well as American culture generally).