The Myth of Sisyphus


The past few weeks have been a little weird on the blogging front. HR + real world obligations + social media + privacy + family = bizarre. I was talking to a friend who is in this industry and I used the word Sisyphean to describe my relationship with social media.

I wake up every morning and I make very deliberate choices in a terribly absurd world.

Turns out that my friend didn’t know anything about the myth of Sisyphus. Do you? I’m no literary scholar, but I explained that Sisyphus was a dick who was condemned to push a boulder up a hill for all of eternity. Every time he nears the top of the hill, the boulder rolls back down. Snap. Just like that. Forever. But he does it. And because of his tenacity, Albert Camus finds Sisyphus to be an absurd hero.

It is during that return, that pause, that Sisyphus interests me. A face that toils so close to stones is already stone itself! I see that man going back down with a heavy yet measured step toward the torment of which he will never know the end. That hour like a breathing-space which returns as surely as his suffering, that is the hour of consciousness. At each of those moments when he leaves the heights and gradually sinks toward the lairs of the gods, he is superior to his fate. He is stronger than his rock.

Sisyphus, although condemned to an absurd task, redeems himself by making a choice. He could complain. He could kill himself. But he doesn’t. He revolts. He rolls that rock up the hill and owns it. He is the master of his fate. He is superior to his fate. He has transcended.

And my friend goes, “Wow, that Sisyphus sounds like a pretty good guy.  A hard worker. Dedicated. I’d want him on my team.”

That’s what you get from the story? That’s what you heard? You would want him on your team? Like your sales or marketing team?

He said, “Yeah, totally. Talk about commitment and loyalty.”

Then my friend added, “I’m no mental health counselor, but it’s good that he doesn’t want to kill himself.”

Yeah. It’s nice that he doesn’t choose suicide. Totally. OMG, I had tears in my eyes. I was doubled over.

So it’s fair to say that the The Myth of Sisyphus resonates with me. Absurdity is everywhere. I like the idea of making a deliberate choice and making the best of an otherwise difficult situation. Nothing makes sense, anymore. And we have such a limited window into the lives of our friends and loved ones. We assume so much and we are usually wrong. People who seem to have the most amazing jobs still deal with absurdity. Just like you. People who follow their dreams are also tasked with stupid, pointless projects at work. Just like you. People with big hearts will interact with assholes and have to bite their tongues. Just like you.

Life is absurd and unfair…

…but successful people handle life’s most absurd moments with grace, poise, and professionalism.

And in that way, I admire Sisyphus. I would want him on my team, too. Good call.

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