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Alright. I'll share two things, including why I'm hoping someone has some insight. What prompted me was mainly my own anecdotal observations of work. Earlier this year I was at a warehouse, long shifts, and the contrast from student life was that much sharper than any other job I'd had. I take very good care of myself, physically, eating well, regular exercise, good hygiene, no drink/drugs, etc., but then I noticed that the toll of the work was mainly psychological. I would struggle to concentrate on complex ideas, even though I kept my old study habits as best as I could. Media I'd have never watched before suddenly gained appeal because of its simplicity (mainly Hollywood films, sitcoms, work-based reality shows). Even though I was conscious of it, I would get sloppier in my mental habits, how I articulated thoughts. How I thought, altogether, really.
I conferred with a friend who is very much like me in temperament and willpower, and he confirmed he'd felt the same, despite working a more fulfilling and less taxing job. He also said he'd got into the habit of splurging, buying things to help himself feel better. Both our jobs were based in heavily consumerist areas (fast food and online retail). It brought me around to debating with myself whether the creation of boring/mentally fatiguing jobs and how they seemed to fit hand-in-hand with increased individual spending was a happy coincidence of market philosophy or whether it was a known and deliberate policy.
The other thing that got me thinking about this has already been mentioned in this thread. Research about shift work especially has shown to deteriorate cognitive function more rapidly than other kinds of work in the long term:
I will admit it's not something I've researched heavily yet, but that's another thing I'm looking for from this thread, I suppose. Not just for evidence to back up my suspicion, but also to see whether anyone agrees with the connections I'm making, or if research actually points in other directions.