Friday, March 12, 2010

"Why don't they run that class at night" - unwarranted corporation intrusions of job life into personal life

For most of 2009 I was unemployed (like many people) and (unlike many people) attempting to make a living using this blog. Recently I rejoined the workforce to have a job (and more stable income) and being employed again has given me perspective on the role of working for a living. What I want to write about today is a comment by a co-worker that represents a typical intrusion of the corporate needs into personal life. I've never liked how our corporate masters feel they can require any obeisance including neglect of our personal lives in order that the corporation flourish. Having spent a year working for myself it reinforced for me the wrongness of a corporation demanding intrusions into employees personal time.

Just now I was standing next to a co-worker, he noticed a list of corporate training classes being offered and remarked how it would be more convenient for him if the class were held at night. I think his view is he's too busy during the day taking care of job stuff, and a night time class wouldn't interfere with his job duties. Uh..

The time we have to live this life is limited by the number of breaths between our first squeal at birth and our last gasp at death. In between those two breaths we breath in and out several times a minute, and have a life to live while taking those breaths.

What's the best use of that time? Is it the best use of our time to spend 24/7 at the job or otherwise taking care of job stuff? Or is the best use of that time to lead a life of balance between work, pleasure, home, travel, etc?

Maybe you know some people who conceptualize that the best use of their life is to spend it on the job. Obviously I know at least one person with that idea. Heck, I used to live that way myself. But after some time, and after being laid off a couple times, it became clear for me: the company doesn't care about me. It doesn't matter how they dress up claims that a given corporation will take good care of their employees, the bottom line is that companies drop their employees in a moment if the money in the balance sheet says they have to cut staff.

Why then do employees give any loyalty to the company if the company has no loyalty for them?

To make a few guesses...

Adrenaline: Some people get high on working hard. Corporations are all too happy to find an employee who'll work 24/7, maybe because that person will replace hiring a couple more people.

Fear: Some people fear the unemployed life, don't know how to survive without employment, and need someone to give them something to do.

Normality: The normalthink is that people have a job and the boss can tell you to do anything. There's a lot of laws behind that normalthink.

What I believe is that my time is the period where I can pursue my own interests. The time I give to the corporation is when I have to deny my interests and do what the company says to do. At the times I've let the company intrude their demands into my time I was completely unable to pursue my interests, and that caused a lot of internal pain.

To put a boundary between my company and personal time my employment, now, is on a contract basis. It means there is a strict set of hours I'm on the job, the corporation can't demand I work overtime, and my time is my time. Speaking of which my lunch hour just ended and I have to go back. Cheers.