The other day I heard a student say to her friend disparagingly in the Student Union shop 'I don't want to end up in some cr*ppy 9-5 job.'
I half sympathised, half thought 'Well what does she think most jobs are? Thrill-a-minute white water rafting perhaps? And that's supposing the young madam's lucky enough to find more than a 9-1 when she graduates!' It was tempting to let on I'd overheard her, but who was I to rain on her parade that not only are most jobs 9-5, but most are getting duller and more hamstrung by red tape and other people's obstructions, not to mention lack of care for colleagues and customers alike by the minute?
Most, worse still, are victims of creeping corporatisation, if not the recession.
Corporatisation, that insidious process whereby every last ounce of creativity, humanity and job satisfaction is extracted from a role to leave a paid automaton in corporate livery who undertakes the corporation's bidding without question or contribution, taking away only a pay packet and an anti-depressant prescription. Net result: poor value on both sides it seems to me, and nothing that benefits humankind one iota (which you'd be forgiven for assuming this whole work/benefit thing was for).
Not that I should complain on a personal level as my department is probably as good as it gets. We all like each other, pitch in to help, bring in cake on our birthdays, use deodorant, acknowledge each other as human beings and do a pretty darn good job even if we say so ourselves. Though of course a Sword of Damocles is seldom far away these days and our department is no exception, try as we might to answer our calls within 5 rings and reply to every e-mail within 24 hrs in compliance with our declared 'customer charter' - well harder than any other department, it seems.
One day we shall remember these halcyon days before the corporeal hand of corporatism (not to be confused with capitalism) turned us all into a faceless One-Stop shop of the living dead, twice removed from our customers and rendered too scared to print a document on the wrong branded stationary, or take a day off, lest we lose our jobs.
What I should have said to the sneering girl in the student shop is; 'So, what is your big plan for the future to bypass the 9-5 then, and can I join you?'