Some of us are lucky enough to have jobs that provide a lot of downtime. That’s why you go to college. So you don’t have to get some shitty $12 an hour job without benefits. It could be worse. You could work at an important job where people outside of your office rely on you to get work done, like an air traffic controller or a doctor. There wouldn’t be much time to fart around on the internet in a hospital, or the control tower at DFW, I would assume.
But no, you’re in the corporate world, where there’s actual work to be done…most of the time. Going to class sucked in college. It wasn’t fun, but there were a lot of people there, it only lasted an hour, you only had to go three times a week and could study whenever the hell you wanted. Now at work, you’re not afforded that luxury. You’re in a professional environment and are given a long leash, the proverbial “self-starter,” whatever the hell that means. It’s like people who write job descriptions on the internet hate the word “initiative,” because that’s actually more descript than the old “self-starter” crap that’s pasted on every job board posting.
I digress. Now, you’re tasked with important work, but some days you just can’t take it. You’re a person, too. You gotta keep your sanity somehow. This is one of my biggest pet peeves of the American lifestyle. While we are afforded the freedoms that come with living in the self-proclaimed greatest country in the world, the American workweek is complete bullshit. Where do these people get off telling me that I have to spend 40+ hours of my week planted behind some desk, working for “the man?” I say mutiny. Did you know in France it is a government mandate that the mandatory paid vacation time for a full-time employee is five weeks? FIVE WEEKS! Almost an entire month and a half of paid vacation. Also, if you average more than 35 hours of work a week in a calendar year, you get an additional 22 days off, totaling eight weeks of time off. EIGHT WEEKS! In fact, the US doesn’t even mandate employers to give employees vacation. Your company could work you 24/7/365 and wouldn’t be breaking any laws. Goddamn bureaucrats, I tell ya…
But fuck France. This is America. The official nation of wasting time, energy and resources. You know why? Because we can (or at least we could). America’s all about stickin’ it to the boss man and not taking their shit. Why do you think Stone Cold Steve Austin was so popular? It’s because the Texas Rattlesnake didn’t take any of his boss’ guff. If he got screwed over, he hunted him down with a hijacked Zamboni or wrecked his big ceremony with a beer truck and sprayed him down in front of all his colleagues.
But you can’t do that. You have your life to think about and you don’t get paid millions of dollars to flip people off on national television and act like a pissed off redneck in jean shorts. You have a job. So you can waste a little time here and there. Go ahead, you deserve it. This is one of the most overworked and underemployed countries in the world. Your reward for that college diploma that you worked so hard for is to not have to greet people at Wal-Mart, flip burgers or lay down asphalt in 110-degree heat. You have earned the right to waste time.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. You gotta let off the steam somehow. I’d wager I probably do five hours of real, actual work during the day and I bet it‘s the same for most people out there. It’s not the bare minimum either. Because the difference between ordinary and extraordinary…is just that little extra. At least that’s what they told you at the training seminar. Putting in extra work is important. It’s necessary to ensure work doesn’t actually pile up on you, but to expect me to actually WORK for 8+ hours on a normal workday is just flat out insane. So sue me for wanting to spend hours on IMDB and YouTube. I feel like I’m entitled to a little break now and again from the monotony.
When you want me to work, I’ll bring it. I’ll bring the fuckin’ thunder. Because if there’s one thing my grandpa taught me, it’s to answer the bell when it rings. But let’s be honest here, there’s no possible way that in a corporate setting 40 hours of actual work a week is a realistic thing. There’s this little thing that office managers and HR blowhards love. It’s called “time theft” and it’s ridiculous. You can actually get fired for this. Yes, the company is paying you to be at work from 8-5, but the real time theft is the bullshit that most companies love putting employees through. If I get my work done on time and a little bit early, I’d like to leave early and not be judged or punished for it.
I’m of course speaking for the corporate world here. Like I said earlier, there are very, very important, vital jobs out there that absolutely require 40 hour work weeks like those in the medical, accounting, education, law and political professions. But with the average college degree carrying the weight that a high school diploma did 25 years ago, it’s kind of tough for kids to really go for their dreams anymore. So, we’re put into the meat grinder right after graduation. Maybe we’re trained for it up until the moment. I get it. Some people like going to work. I have a job that I absolutely love and I get to write crap like this on the side to supplement myself. But I also have friends who make decent money and are absolutely worn down by the time Friday rolls around and can’t even stomach the thought of Mondays.
This is the most first-world of the first-world problems, but I think it’s important. We’re overworked and overstressed in the good old USA. I think it could be a possible answer to so many of the problems we have here. We’re trained to think that our work is what defines us as a person. It does, to a degree, but in the end, the relationships that you make with others in your life are the things that matter the most.
Give us a little more time to do those things.