Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Worker's Revolution

No, I'm not talking about the failed Communist movement or even Socialism, both of which have been shown to be failures - but that's a whole other story. What I'm talking about is the over-worked American worker. Downsizing by companies has the effect of separating the wheat from the chaff, but at a certain point you're throwing perfectly good wheat away.

They fired someone at work yesterday. Probably the best thing for the company and for the fired person. It however further affirmed something I have been noticing lately, especially in the IT sector. People are fed up. 60-70 hour weeks are no longer unusual, leaving people little time to have away from work, and it seems on the surface that they are working so hard and gaining so little from it. Sure, they can have four or five TVs in the house, three cars in the garage, and all kinds of material things - but there is a lack of 'life enjoyment'. I've noticed more and more people getting pissed off and leaving for other employment, or working for themselves. A scary prospect, not having that employer 'net' that gives you that paycheck every week or two. However, we need to support our extravagent lifestyles.

Now you might think that I am saying there is something wrong with material gain. There isn't - however I think the mental price people are paying to have all their 'stuff' is too high. I say that, yet I am sitting in a room in my house with 4 computers - one for each member of the family. You think that would be enough, yet I still want more. I have so much stuff I never touch, so why would I want to add to it?

I don't. In fact, I stopped buying a lot of the things I would want in the past, knowing that it would only end up in some box in the basement never to see the light of day again. But I digress...

Anyway, I see a slow movement away from the 60+ hour weeks and back to the 40 hour weeks. Away from the high-pressure but high-paying jobs back to something more sane. I've made that decision myself. Money will be secondary to having a job that is more fun and having less responsibilites. Well, maybe not less responsibility, but allowing me to have a life outside of work where I don't think about it when I'm not there.

So, if you are one of those people who work 12+ hour days and never see a weekend free, think about why you are doing what you are doing. Is it really worth the effort? Do you really think that you are going to get rich by working for someone else? Probably not. You have to take that chance and strike out on your own if you want to make it big and are willing to put in the hours. Otherwise you are just letting your current employer take advantage of you, and they would drop you like a hot potato if it would raise the company stock prices.