We Should Lower The Hours In The Working Week: 2015-07-06
I have an idea, or I've gleaned an idea off the internet anyway, that I think it's time we reduce the working week. Either a four day 8 hour work week, or a five day 7 hour work week, or maybe even a combination, a four day 7 hour work week. I welcome the automation and technological improvements of the working world. I would love to see millions of jobs eliminated, in favour of higher paying jobs where you work less hours. And I mean every type of job, entry level, menial labour whatever, we all deserve to make a living working the hours we do, without having to work a second job.
At the same time we should dramatically increase minimum wage, so that shift workers don't get screwed over working less hours. We should raise it enough so they don't need a second job, that everyone can get by and live happily, with the pursuit of leisure. I think as more and more jobs are lost to improvements, increased efficiency, automation, we will either find ourselves with huge unemployment, or we can take action and maybe try to make us all happier. I think that should be the ideal, the person who tries to spend as much time outside of work as possible, not the hard worker who stays an hour after every shift.
Whatever happened to that as the ideal? Wanting to work less hours, not more. Not making work part of your life, steering away from that. Making friends and family and leisure time your life. Now you are seen as lazy if you want to work less, if you don't want to dedicate yourself to work. Especially in the industry I'm in there's a real peer pressure to work overtime, to spend time outside of work researching and studying, devoting yourself to it entirely. You get seen as lazy if you want to leave early, or if you try to schedule things so you can go to events or something to enjoy yourself you get hated on for being unavailable. I'm tired of living like that, I live to live life, not to be at work.
I really don't think this is that radical an idea. We've done it before when we first created the forty hour work week, we did it in the industrial age when we first found a lot more leisure time, no longer did people have to work from dawn to dusk all the time. We did it when we created the minimum wage. We have taken big steps in the past, and I believe it's time for another big step, little steps only take us so far. We shape our lives, not companies, so don't let them. Maybe even a guaranteed minimum income should be considered, ensure everyone has a minimum life.
***I did type this out twice, I believe my first version was better (more clear and concise) and longer (with more details, and my voice had come through more), but a cat jumped on my keyboard and refreshed the page, losing everything I had typed. It's quite annoying having your voice silenced by a cat as you try to express your ideas, but I shall live, and so shall the cat. As I re-type this all now I'm still a bit angry and quite frustrated, so unable to concentrate as much as I wish. I'm not as satisfied with this version, but what is lost is lost. I don't feel I've expressed myself, my ideas or my voice, as well as I've wanted, and it's quite frustrating not being able to have an outlet. Like it's still in me wanting to get it out, but it got trapped and lost forever. I miss writing and blogging. I'm not happy with this at all, but I don't think I can ever quite get the words back I wrote in the original, this re-write will have to do. I currently can't edit it as looking at it makes me quite livid, maybe in the future.***