I’m recently retired after fifty years in the work force, and I am loving every moment of it. I never understood why I had to work so many days, so many hours. At some jobs, I’d be done with my required quota after five hours, but not permitted to go home. My boss would simply raise the quota for tomorrow. I learned early on to comply with Parkinson’s law “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion” as I noticed my older co-workers moving slowly so as not to be burdened with higher quotas. Some jobs required 60 hour weeks, others 50, only a few, very few in those fifty years, were “40 hour a week” jobs.
Today, I am reading and listening to the chatter of the new generation of workers, in particular those who have, for the past year or so, been able to work from home. Many are discovering that they can complete their required tasks or reach company weekly goals in far less than 40 hours. When they were in the office, they would stretch the job to fit the time allotted, take extended Internet browsing breaks, or trips to the water cooler. However, at home, that was no longer necessary as they did not have to “look busy”.
But it appears they do, as it turns out, still have to “look busy”. One individual who works as a sales rep for a food supply company has been working from home for the past year, meeting or exceeding all of her company goals/targets, saving a bundle on transportation and clothing costs, but still expected to “log the hours” as if she was in the office. I was able to witness the madness of it all when I came by for a visit late one afternoon and while we were sitting on her back porch enjoying the summer day, the alarm on her phone went off and she excused herself to “Move that Mouse!”.
Her company had installed a monitoring device on her computer that tracks mouse movement. It was their way of making sure she was “putting in the hours” regardless of the actual results of her labor. I wondered how prevalent this was and quickly learned it must be widespread as some entrepreneur is selling these “Automatic Mouse Movers” on the Internet.
Sorry, but this is pure madness and proof that the American worker needs to rebel.
As we slowly emerge from the “work from home” world of 2020, I’ve noticed some pushback by workers who are now calling for three days at the office and two days from home, and why not? Perhaps there is a silver lining in this pandemic and it’s the end of the 40 hour work week? One can only hope.