I Like Work; It Fascinates Me. I Can Sit and Look At It For Hours: Meaning and My Take

picture of a famous quote by jerome k jerome

Jerome K Jerome is known for a lot of things. And being funny is right on top.

I was surfing the web randomly one fine day – I chanced upon this quote by Jerome K Jerome:

“I like work; it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”

Mind you, this was one of those days where I started off searching for a newly-launched flavor of ice-cream, only to see myself desperately looking for life advice from Epicurus precisely five minutes later.

The journey from ice-cream to Epicurus was of the speed-of-light type, and I would certainly not bore you with the chain of search terms that led me there.

Anyway, coming back to the topic, when I read this quote by Jerome this time, it did more than just make me smile. Of course, I relate to the quote, I do find myself staring at the huge pile of work, frozen, from time to time.

But the “staring at the amount of work that I need to do” thing does not happen frequently enough for me to take a spiritual trip to rethink my life.

Then I started to wonder: what’s the frequency that would actually raise red flags?

I wanted answers. So naturally, the place I went to is Google.

Turns out there is no definite answer to this complex question. The answers that I found on the internet were more like “42” to the “ultimate question of life, the universe and everything” (this is a reference from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy).

Disheartened, but now with a purpose of the day, I went back to Jerome’s quote, looking for clues that I might have overlooked.

I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.


Was he promoting mindfulness? Totally immersing himself in the moment? Enjoying looking at the work, deeply immersed in the moment and deriving inexplicable pleasure in the process?

I can easily imagine why doing that would be fascinating. And somewhere in the world, Thich Nhat Hanh, would take pride in having another illustrious figure (Jerome of course!) join his Mindfulness movement.

Was he a ninja planner? One of those ‘Type A’ personality people that absolutely love breaking down their work in a series of measurable milestones, so that they can derive immense satisfaction when they check them off upon completion?

You and I both know many people like that.

This definitely makes sense.

So, he was a mindful planner. He derived immense pleasure staring at his huge pile of work.

Darn! Now we have even more reasons to look up to him.

He can make us smile.
He can make us laugh.
He can make us laugh very hard (trust me , I have come close to peeing my pants reading Three Men in a Boat)
He was mindful and enjoyed every moment.
He was a Ninja Planner!

Phew! Too much inspiration from one person for a day. We need a reward. We need an ice-cream.. right this moment!

By the way what’s the latest flavor of ice-cream that Ben & Jerry launched recently?

I know whom to ask.

*picks up the smartphone

“OK Google”


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