From the outside looking in, my job’s really cushy. I work in this air-conditioned office and is supplied with high-tech tools like a laptop and even an additional monitor. But more importantly, my workstation is strategically located (yeah, nobody can pay a surprise visit from behind). They were even so nice to have issued me a privacy screen filter for my laptop. Awesome!
Furthermore, I am on pretty good terms with my direct supervisor (in case your mind runs wild, she’s old enough to be my mother) and the workload is really manageable considering I rarely work overtime these days. The annual compensation is also pretty generous at around $65,000, an amount which is definitely higher than what the average 27 year old earns.
“So what the f*@k are you complaining about, you ungrateful moron! Stop daydreaming about your 15 hour work week. It’s time to repay the faith shown to you by your supervisor/boss/company/country by working 11 hours a day like what a fifth of us do!
The Amount of Time it takes
Fortunately, we live in a society democratic enough for one to choose whether to work or not. Or at the very least, how much he wants to work. And the one BIGGEST problem with my job is the amount of time I spend on it. I actually have to clock 42 hours a week based on my official working hours, amounting to half the time I am awake for 5 days a week.
If you think that’s already a lot, this 42 hours hasn’t even accounted for the indirect time associated with work. The most obvious and time-consuming would be the daily commute. It’s fair to say that on average, most take at least 1.5 hours to travel to and from work, from the doorstep of their house to their workstation and vice versa. And it’s not like we’re getting chauffered around. If you’re driving or taking the bus, there’s the daily jam at PIE/BKE/blablabla road that you worry about. Otherwise, it’s the prospect of the smelly armpit of a sweating passenger that you’re pressed against on the packed MRT.
And how about the time spent to iron those power suits and shirts? Or wash the socks? If the official dress code wasn’t imposed, I am pretty sure most of us wouldn’t really want to wear long sleeved shirts and socks in this hot and humid weather (which really explains the popularity of dress-down Fridays). Once you total up all these niggling indirect time spent outside of the working hours, I am not exaggerating to say that my job actually takes up more than 50 hours of my time each week.
Centre of My Life
I wake up at 6:30am to prepare for work and then get back home at around 6:30pm. A nicely symmetrical 12 hour shift. Since I like to be in bed by 1030pm to *chat* (we are newlyweds, get it?) with my wife for at least half an hour, I actually have about 4 hours left every weekday for other activities. So what options do I have for these few hours?
Swimming in the sun?
Hiking up the hills?
Cycling in the beach?
Out! Out! Out! Wait. These 4 hours of time we have outside of work are in the evenings, after 6:30pm when the sun has already set. It’s the time when we sink into the sofa and swtich on the TV, mostly exhausted after a supposedly productive day in office. These fun and exciting activities I have listed above would then have to be grudgingly reserved for the weekends.
Instead of basking in the glory of the sun and soaking up the wonders of nature in the afternoon, I am required to be shuffling papers in office. In fact, due to the desk-bound nature of my job I rarely see the sun for more than 2 hours every weekday (which still doesn’t help explain why I am fairer than the lady). With the 40 hour work week as the centre of my life, it largely determines/constrains my schedule for the week.
Will you Report for Work tomorrow if you’re not Paid?
There’s some of you who argue that your job can really be fun, engaging and exciting (Really, you don’t have to lie since your boss isn’t behind you). However, it’s really hard for me to imagine someone enjoying a job that requires a commitment of 40 hours. For those who claim to love their job or vocation, I am really curious to find out if they would still report for work tomorrow even if they are not paid a single cent. Kudos to whoever that passes this ultimate litmus test.
Nonetheless, it seems that almost everybody has given up, judging from the frowns I see every morning during rush hour. Many have accepted this status quo and default of a 40 hour work week in exchange for material comfort and societal acceptance. However, I believe that I wasn’t born to live this life of comfortable misery and have even started planning my escape. How about you?