Tuesday, 07 June 2016 09:28

Too many boulders for Sisyphus

Sisyphus - so many of him in Cyprus Sisyphus - so many of him in Cyprus

Last week I finally figured out that my writing job, which I do enjoy immensely, sometimes reminds me of a pop song I used to like as a teenager, called: ‘I am your Sisyphus, you are my rock’ – albeit in a much less romantic sense than in the song.

Mind you, it is not my work that is Sisyphean. I get to sit in offices and cafes taking notes while drinking coffee with almost always exceptionally kind, welcoming and often really, really inspiring people. Trying to get information on the phone is a different, much less pleasant matter, which shall be left aside here.

In face-to-face meetings, people are without doubt always very friendly.

What I frequently do doubt, however, is their effectiveness in their job – often they appear sabotaged into utter inefficiency and/or lulled into indifference by the very ‘structure’ they work for.

Yet, when I ask about their responsibilities, the list usually gets so long; I can hardly keep up with my notes, wondering how one single person could possibly do all this.

And I meet people who are highly efficient, with such great enthusiasm and determination, such innovative ideas – some even within the ‘structure’.

Mostly, I probably have only a vague idea of the huge obstacles they are facing, and yet it makes me think that they are true Sisyphuses. And they certainly don’t deserve their punishment like in the actual myth. They are pushing ahead an aim that may never be able (or allowed?) to reach its destination.

And when I compliment those hard-working individuals on their vision and their commitment, they will usually say they know what they are up against and will still insist that: “We need to change things." “This situation is unacceptable. People need to speak up!”

Sometimes I get to hear stories that are so disheartening, so outrageous, I’ll end up saying “But this is incredible, I cannot write this down”. And more often than not, the answer will be, “You don’t need to, everyone knows it’s like this”.

And then… for every Sisyphus, I will meet three ‘stones’ and catch myself thinking: “Oh my, you are exactly that stone which the person I just interviewed is trying to roll up the hill… and you are ‘heavy’!”

It really is mind-boggling and, as strange as it sounds, no one actually intends any ‘harm’. It’s just that too many choose not to look any farther than the end of their working day. Hopefully, all those Sisyphuses united will be able to extend their ‘field of vision’ even if they cannot get the stones up that hill.

Articles as published in The Cyprus Weekly of May 27, 2016

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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