I love the weekend. For the most part, everyone is off work and I get to see my friends at social events and activities.
Everybody needs time off from work. Getting away from the job is a healthy thing. Nobody can, nor should, work all the time.
But what if, as Sunday draws to a close, you find the dread creeping in? Monday is coming, and that means returning to work.
For too many people that means five days of discomfort, stress, deadlines, and other unpleasant and negative things. Work is the place you go so that you have the money to pay for food, shelter, clothing, and any and all necessities. If you didn’t need the money and/or benefits, you wouldn’t put in 35–60 hours a week there.
Humankind has evolved from hunter-gatherers to agrarians, then an industrial society, and now to a less-well defined society, commonly referred to as post-industrial or information society.
As an agrarian and then industrial society, people still performed tasks that included a lot of physical labor. This allowed humankind to be more creative in multiple ways. As more and more cultures gave way from monarchy to either democracy, socialism, or communism, people previously with little to no power became empowered.
In the information society of today, though, the vast majority of people perform a service of some kind or other. This ranges from doctors, lawyers, and business moguls to teachers, admins, secretaries, food workers, and first responders.
A great many people perform tasks that are repetitive, menial, or seem rather pointless at times. While they need to work 35–60 hours a week on them to get paid, the truth is that this is an old, non-functioning ideal.
Why you might hate your job — part 1: time
I’ve been involved in jobs doing tech support, benefits administration, administrative support, retail management, paralegal work, and more. More than once I was underpaid.
More frequently than that, though, I didn’t need 35+ hours to do my job. Many, many times I only needed to work a couple of hours a day, at most, to get everything done.
Yes, I recognize tech support and benefits admin requires more availability…but when there was downtime did I really need to be dressed in business casual where no client would ever see me? Couldn’t I have been set-up online in a virtual situation and worked from home?
The point is, there are numerous jobs where the standard 9–5, 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week model is ludicrous. I can’t tell you how many of the admin jobs I performed included vast swaths of downtime where I either invented busywork, surfed the web, or to be honest, snuck in time to work on my writing.
The post-industrial society of today has not acknowledged that the 40-hour workweek model is obsolete.
What makes it obsolete? It was invented to protect the workers of the industrial society.
Fat-cat tycoons and wealthy businessmen (because in this period they WERE mostly all men) didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything but profit. Safety regulations? Breaks for your employees? Fair wages? Working less than 15 of 16 waking hours? Not if it impacted the profit margin.
The unions came into being and got laws passed to create things like a standard workweek, overtime pay, OSHA, safety standards, and a lot of things people take for granted (which the current government would LOVE to take apart since you’re not paying attention).
Great for an industrial society. Does the 40-hour workweek still make sense in an information society?
Why you might hate your job — part 2: pay
After a week or two of working, you get a paycheck. Look at that, you have money to pay your bills, get supplies like food, shelter, and other necessities for you and your family. Isn’t that wonderful?
But how much money do the big bosses make? Is someone or multiple someones at the head of the company you work for taking home your annual salary daily? Or maybe even hourly?
Like the industrial society, the top is still living off the majority of their workers. The unions and federal regulations made the top a lot more accountable, and many of those big businesses started to create some programs to reward the loyalty of their employees. The government made it in their interest to give back to their employees.
Then we hit the 1980’s. Now, almost 40 years later, we are learned just how badly the policies of the government of that era have screwed-over everyone but the ultra-rich.
Most people have little to no job satisfaction. They are trapped in a situation where they have either no or odd accountability, and since no one cares to be accountable they find themselves constantly reacting to problems, emergencies, and issues that wouldn’t exist if there were clear lines of communication.
For the most part, a job becomes part of your identity, like it or not. When that happens you feel a level of personal responsibility. When you work your ass off and come away with no real satisfaction because your work goes unnoticed by the top, and you are not being paid nearly enough for your time and effort, you start to resent it.
Let’s not even get into the current trend of contract employment or hiring less-than-full-time to avoid benefits and paying living wages on the part an increasing number of employers.
Why you might hate your job — part 3: resentment
Not so long ago, many big businesses offered pensions to help you through retirement. Also, the government created a few programs for your retirement, too.
Of course, nowadays a pension is rare, replaced by the 401k or IRA where most of the money put in for your eventual retirement is by YOU. Maybe, if you’re lucky, your company matches it by a percent or two.
The government has refused to raise the minimum wage for over a decade. Nobody anywhere in the country can live off of just minimum wage. Certain leaders in the government want to either privatize or take apart both Social Security and Medicare, because average people certainly don’t need that, right?
The people at the top will be fine. They can afford the best private medical insurance, have enough savings for two or three lifetimes, and don’t get me started on what they currently pay in taxes.
Is it any wonder so many people are resentful of their jobs? If you work for a big corporate entity whose top leaders make obscene money — while you’re struggling or doing ok but could be doing better — that makes sense.
Meanwhile, if you work for a smaller business where the top is better paid than you but is doing the best they can to compete with those corporate entities, it’s still hard not to be resentful.
Why does society accept this?
The short answer is because that’s how it has been and changing it appears to be virtually impossible.
The long answer is that people do not recognize their own empowerment. Facing a fear-based society constantly under threat of lack, scarcity, and insufficiency, you accept your lot in life and do what you have to do.
Why? In the 1930s and 1940s, the laborers of the industrial society fought hard to get regulations and laws in place for their protection. Sure, the labor unions had some issues later on with greed and corruption, but the principles they were formed on remain.
The laborers of the post-industrial society are more diverse, have a broader range of job identities and types, and a government that makes it very clear they mostly support the ultra-rich at the top.
And, just to add another wrinkle, there are still people who are part of the industrial and agrarian societies that are also struggling. They, in particular, get the biggest dose of fear when it comes to the stability of the work they do. This is because automation, foreign competition, and too much focus on profit above everything else tend to eliminate the jobs they do.
Be that as it may, this can be changed, turned around, and fixed.
Mindfulness opens doors
Mindfulness opens you to awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. When you are conscious of these, and not letting your subconscious control you, you become empowered.
When you are empowered you can take control over your life. Guess who hates empowered people?
Maybe hate is too strong a word, but a people who are empowered need less leadership and governance. Those “in power” are all-too-aware of this truth. And too many of them don’t like it.
If you end your weekend dreading the coming workweek, it’s not a surprise. I’ve been there. I am working hard to build up the career I desire to have for myself because I’d rather not return there.
I recognize how fortunate I am to be in a position to currently be taking the actions that I am to create my own life. Because I am pretty sure I can find a menial job to pay my bills if I really need to I have a fallback.
Frankly, everyone has this power. You may find that hard to believe because some would really rather you didn’t believe. But you do have the ability to choose your life.
The time is coming for the post-industrial workforce to take a stand. If you don’t believe that this is going to occur, I suggest that you read some history texts. The people always take back their power at some point. That is due to empowerment.
When you work on being mindful you become empowered. Empowerment leads to new options, and the potential to create opportunity to not just live for the weekend alone.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter, and you shouldn’t just live for the weekend.