Thursday, May 25, 2006

Working For The Weekend

I work too damn much.

I know, I know, I hear my self-employed and otherwise hard-working cohorts everywhere snorting with disdain, but I do! I leave the house at 8 am, and I don't get back until around 8:30 p.m. most nights - Thats 12+ hours at, going to, or coming from work... So, just to be doing normal time, that's up at 6:30, (Gotta make sure Casey is up and out for the bus on time), back and settled in by 9:00, to bed by 11:00 - That leaves me about 2 hours of down time a day, maybe an hour to hang with Monica. I work half a day every other Saturday, just to keep up with it all. I also lead practice, do the Sunday service, and prep everything for church each week too; let alone researching new music, composing, transposing, etc - Add about 7 hours a week - That's roughly 72+ hours of work-work a week - That's work-I-gotta-do-to-make-money work, not work-I want-to-do-for-fun work, like building, house projects, playing music, hockey, etc.

There's got to be an easier way, something that only takes, truly, around 40 hours a week to do, but I've just never found it. Is it out there, or is all that fantasty in this day and age? Monica works just as hard as I do, no doubt about, and about as many hours. Does everybody have to work that hard to get by? Most all our friends do - Some of them better off, some of them worse.

One thing's for sure, companies and corporations sure don't give a shit any more - The days my parents knew, the work scenario I grew up around doesn't exist any more: You know the drill, where you were expected to go to work or go to school after high school, and in either case, find the career and the company you wanted to work with and plan on being there for 35 years, and then retire with a nice pension and a gold watch at 55. Those days did exist - I know a bunch of people who did just that - But it's not there for us any more...

GM hopes to early layoff 100,000 people - Offer them $35,000 and an early out, with drastically decreased benefits thereafter. These are folks who averaged $50,000 in annual income, and have been there between 10 and 25 years. I heard one on NPR say,. "You mean they're going to offer me $35,00 a year? That seems kinda low..." "NO, Mr. worker, they're going to offer you $35,000 period, and then you're on your own - wanna take it?" What do you suppose his answer was? What about the same scenario, without the severence package, how would that sound? One of my old employers, Fleetwood Industries, walked in one day and announced they were closing their entire retail concern - In one fell swoop, thousands of folks were out of a job. Enron, Alcatel, United, Delta, Tandy, and on and on and on - Looks like the fell swoop is now pretty much status quo, and if so, we're hurtin' as a country. That said, why kill ourselves for too many hours, too many days, months, and years? There's no corporate loyalty to workers, so why should we remain loyal to them? I don't know about you, but... If they ain't gonna be there for me, I ain't gonna strain too hard to be there for them, y'all...

You know, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal all still have basically 32 hour work weeks. They also do some form of siesta - From outright shuttin' down for 2 or 3 hours in the middle of the day, to plain ol' long lunches in France. I've heard people sneer about that, "Lazy Europeans!" - But personally, I think they're way smarter than we are.

We're not the only country that works too hard, but we're the worst - Work your ass off for decades to 'enjoy your retirement' - Which nowadays means your late 60's at best - Those greeters at Walmart are not there because they just plain dig hangin' around people goin' shoppin', y'all... Yup, you're now invited to knock off right about when you're the most worn down, plain out tired from all that work, and when your health is no longer that great: Oh, also your benefits are non-existent, and the cost of living dictates that, realistically, you can't afford to enjoy yourself. How wise is that?

Maybe I'm a commie, or a Socialist, certainly a Pinko, 'cause I think we should have a more sensible balance of work, life, fun, and adventure, and I think that's a God given right we're not to ignore.

I'm 46 - I've got maybe 20 more good years of relatively hard charging in me. Here and now, I am going to begin serious consideration of what I need to do to bring a more sensible balance into my life - I hereby resolve to find a way, no matter what it takes, to work less, play more, love life, enjoy, explore, and make it all work. I believe that where there's a will, there's a way - I've got the will, I'm, for one, am going to find the way.

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