Friday, 18 February 2011

Elitism and the 9-5

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?'


Martin H. said...

Well put. It might interest you to read a piece I read recently on the Idiotic Hat blog.

Steve said...

Never has the 60's ideal of dropping out appealed to me more... but alas my creditors have me by the short and curly and I find myself only grateful for my humble 9-5 (well, most of the time) but also grateful that it is only 9-5.

Fran said...

9-5? I wish.

Owen said...

Can't agree with you more Laura... I suspect far too many workplaces are becoming or have become heartless nightmares dominated by MBA-speak finance-rules mentality. A sad world we live in, where work is an inhuman affair, and vast numbers of people want nothing more than to drop out, one way or another, many who dream of winning a lottery or some such madness...

Glad to hear you have found or created a good environment for the time being...

rb said...

Yes, you are lucky to have a decent working environment.

I work for myself so obviously my boss is a wonderful woman and whilst my working environment is a little messy, I can work in the garden when I please and talk to the cat. But I spend a lot of time either at the pool or ski club chatting to people who work for others and they are nearly all dissatisfied and demoralised but also glad that they have a job to pay the bills.
Surely it should not be this way? Shouldn't we all have oodles of leisure time and fulfilling jobs - surely that's what we were told back in the 1970s.

Steerforth said...

In my experience, the people who utter vacuous statements like that have invariably sold out by the time they've hit their mid-20s and end up being the most faithful foot soldiers of the corporate world.

Homo Escapeons said...

It's a shame that our system is under such needless tinkering. I remember being a teen back in the 70s and it seemed like everything was going to sort itself out.
I never suspected that it would take 30 years to figure out that letting the "holy market" take care of itself and kowtowing to greedy bankers and CEOs as they reinvent ways to screw the system and siphon imaginary profits from a bankrupt ghost model of voodoo economics...and instead of converting a consumer nation back to a producing goods and services they bail out the bastards that drove us into the f*** iceberg in the first place?!?!?!?!
Somedays I really hate my species for being such gullible douchey twats..seriously why aren't we storming all the Bastilles?

Now we're watching the young people in the Middle East show us how it's done. Nobody here in the West even knew that this was in the cards? All the Western leaders are stumbling around trying to figure out what they're supposed to's amazing theatre and it should be a wake up call for us to fight our Conglomerate overlords.
Wow, sorry for going off there but I'm trapped on Facebook and rarely make it oot here...forgot you could write more than a sentence aboot a subject. :)

Gabriela Von Bohlen said...

It would have been interesting to know more. Apparently a lot of young women dream of marrying a rich man these days.

Wisewebwoman said...

I commented when you first posted, Laura and it seems the goddess of the interwebz took it to her breast and refuses to release it.
What did I say to your oh so good post? something along the lines of when a number of these young adults were interviewed in the US and asked what they wanted to be, the majority answered 'famous'.
That says it all, n'est pas?

Nota Bene said...

Methinks this is what we all say before we climb onboard.

Of course she may have been OK with a 'fun 9-5' job?

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Thanks Martin, the Idiotic Hat blog post on employment was a cracker.

Steve, how I'd love to be a drop-out too if only I could afford it.

Fran. Sorry to hear it. And welcome.

Thanks Owen. Yes, it's sad how many people have their hopes pinned on winning the lottery, despite their minute chances.

RB; I fear that you are luckier than me. I should buy that dream boss a big chocolate cake if I were you!

Steerforth, as insightful as ever. I am sure you are right.

Homo Escapians. I think you are right that we should look to the Middle East for inspiration. And shared your naive optimism as a young child in the 70s that the world was run by grown ups who would eventually sort things out.

Gabriela, welcome. I understand wealthy young men are at a premium these days.

WWW. Sorry to hear your previous message was lost in cyberspace. Famous, huh? Well I couldn't possibly knock it until I tried it!

Notabene. I don't think she merited a 'fun* 9-5 job. If there's any of those around, I'll have one please, having served my apprenticeship in office tedium.

belts said...

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The Poet Laura-eate said...

Thank you belts. What a nice thing to say and thanks for visiting.