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Severance: Work-Life balance in overdrive



Severance: Work-Life balance in overdrive

This show brings new meaning to the term “office gossip around the water cooler


Of late I’ve found myself struggling when it comes to watching series or anything new on TV if I’m honest. That has me diving into beloved movies and series, which reminds me, I’m rewatching Inception this week, YAY! The one show I’ve recently watched and loved is Severance.

Firstly I find it funny how Adam Scott, the main actor in the series, resembles Tom Cruise. It’s slight but it’s there. I’m also thoroughly impressed by Ben Stiller, the director of several episodes. As always I digress. The basic premise of the show is as follows, Mark a despondent man steeped in mourning opts to work for a firm, Lumen, which requires you perform Severance.

This is the altering of your mind to permanently separate your work life from your day to day existence. In essence once he signs in for the day, he loses all awareness of himself and becomes his “innie” the proverbial term for the alters they adopt when they sign in to work. Here’s the kicker, how bad must your life be for you to seek complete oblivion for 8 hours of your day? The question of work life balance came into play. It’s important to have separation between your work and home life, a rising source of crisis and internal capitalism. The scary thought this evoked is the dystopian future we’re heading towards, this could be a trend in future. Firms could opt to have severance in order to protect trade secrets and industry advantage. This is reminiscent of Black Mirror and the fast evolving nature of technology. It’s not my hope to inspire fear of the future and technology but rather food for thought.

What struck me most was the journey of the “innies” as they navigated their lives, confined to the 9am to 5pm slot. It seemed an analogy to our lives in the burgeoning hustle culture that plagues us. So much of our existence lies in the pursuit of wealth so much so that moments of respite are still shadowed by our work. Do we ever really leave the office?

Once severed, the “innies” mimicked new borns in the way they perceived their world. I’ve given an example. When the team met their targets, obscure repetitive tasks that led to no discernible outcome, they were rewarded with a Waffle Party, not a raise not a promotion but a Waffle party. I don’t want to delve into the intricacies of the show as I’m really hoping you’ll give it a try yourself but it reminded me of burying myself in work in times of distress.

It was painful to watch Mark bawl his eyes out mere seconds before he entered his work space and completely melded into his “innie’s” world. How often do we hide from our personal struggles by drowning ourselves in work? How often do societal expectations and pressure force us to work our 9 to 5 jobs only to come home to side hustles in a bid to gain ill-conceived wealth as our chosen form of happiness? Where do we draw the line between our work and home life?

What I enjoyed most about the show is how it explored the idea of self-determination and free will; somehow Mark is exposed to material from the real world. A self-help book coincidentally written by his Brother in law. As he explores this forbidden text, he comes to question all he has ever believed and the down ward spiral of finding out the truth of his existence begins.

This show brings new meaning to the term “office gossip around the water cooler,” as is highlights poignant relationships amongst the multi-faceted colleagues as their outer work and home lives bleed into each other.

If you were to sever yourself, in this analogy, bury yourself in your work, the question I leave you with is what would drive you to the depths of denial? Would you do so out of guilt, out of ambition, out of internal capitalism or as a means to an end?

Please do check out the show and shoot your thoughts my way. This one is joining the ranks of House for me.

Any who off to work, these bills don’t pay themselves!

I’ll be back, till then quack!
The musings of a Whimsical mind


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