Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Work / Life Balance

It's been more than a week since my last post, and I struggle (thanks to the real world) to find time to update. This is not a situation I wanted to find myself in, nor did I think it was a situation I would find myself in, after the last three years of solid dossing about. But there we go. Work / life balance is tough enough at the best of times, but when you try and add a third 'dreams' option, it all sort of goes a bit wrong, like Prince Philip welcoming a visiting dignitary - you can struggle as long as you want, but eventually something horrible is going to happen. But I am, oddly, more determined than ever to keep hacking away at it, because it's the only way to retain some semblance of balance. Speaking of which:
"At that time, he’d concluded Labour was failing to get to grips with the benefits system which was rewarding too many people who, in his view, did not deserve it and were not, like him, getting up at the crack of dawn each morning to bring money home for his family."
What's funny is that the electrician's initial reasoning for voting Tory was out of spite at those who he saw as 'sponging' from his taxes. But now that the government has branded his handouts as sponging, he's getting upset. Turns out it's easy to judge other people based on assumptions, but when you're on the recieving end of it, it's not so funny. The grammar is a bit odd as well, making it seem like he wants everyone in the country to bring home money for his family. But I digress. What really nags at me is the wording - people who don't get up 'at the crack of dawn each morning.' I - for reference - don't get up at the crack of dawn. I don't work late in the evenings, and I don't take work home. And you know what? That's healthy. That's sane. It's absolutely correct that I should have the right to spend my spare time relaxing and winding down. Taking life at a slower pace leads to less hasty decisions, a longer lifespan through avoiding stress, and a greater ability to look at the world without jealousy or spite toward those who avoid your pitfalls. If everyone was more in control of their own priorities, I can't help feeling there'd be less anger, less stress, and less people on the Jeremy Kyle show. But it almost seems as though people are determined to poison the lives of others, dragging everyone else down to their level to make things equal. But 'fair' does not have to mean everyone else's lives suck as much as yours. It's like the furore over public sector pensions. A lot of the red-tops got upset and asked why government workers should be getting something 'special.' The thing is, they're not. They're getting a good entitlement to a pension that everyone used to have before the Maxwells of the world decided pensions were an optional extra they could cull to net themselves another yacht full of prostitutes (an expense I believe you can still write off as taxable under the heading 'yachtstitutes'). We are not slaves, and the best proof of this is that we do have choices over how to spend what little time God gave us on this earth. Some choose to throw that time into a career. That's their choice. It's not mine, nor should it have to be. Getting up at the crack of dawn and working through 'til sunset is not something people should be expected to do, and yet it seems to be on the rise. Unpaid overtime, travelling to work, the great '37.5 hours a week' trick... To employers it seems fine to ask to you to put in the extra work, because they do too. Of course they do. That's why they're paid more. To compensate them for the extra work they're taking on. But it almost seems that the idea of money as compensation for effort or goods has been forgotten; it's just a thing that we all want more of, and expect more of as we 'rise' through the corporate pyramid. Now, it's gotten to the point that the people at the top are making millions, and for what? To sit in comfortable offices with secretaries filling out their paperwork, attending lunches and shirking responsibility down the chain when it all goes tits up. Getting up at the crack of dawn makes sense at the top of the pyramid, it doesn't at the bottom. If the economic truism 'time is money' really applies, then when companies cut into your time, you're getting a stealth pay-cut. But more and more, it seems that we're pushing backwards into an age where people are the property of their employers, and it's thanks largely to this creeping re-balancing of misery from people who want to see things 'fair.' You know, 'Redistributed evenly.' 'Shared.' Wait, no, that's Socialism. The tabloids hate socialism, so it can't be that. I'll leave you with this from Michael Crichton:
"Thirty thousand years ago, when when men were doing cave paintings at Lascaux, they worked twenty hours a week to provide themselves with food and shelter and clothing. The rest of the time, they could play, or sleep or do whatever they wanted... Twenty hours a week, thirty thousand years ago... I want people to wake up!"

- Michael Crichton, 'Jurassic Park'
Just imagine what you could get done in your spare time if you only worked twenty hours a week.