Equal But Different

Equality of the sexes is right.

That doesn’t preclude the fact that equality does not mean being the same.

A case in point is that at the place I spend some time, men do the physical work, and the women do not. I have no problem with that. What I don’t like is the corporate unwillingness to acknowledge this fact. Females in particular specialties have the same job and title and pay, and yet the men have additional physical and implied requirements.

Realistic, yes. Transparent, no.

Whither Work?

The model for lazy entrepreneurs is Tim Ferriss’s book. I haven’t read it beacause…well, because although the idea of a four-hour workweek appeals to my inner sloth, having it as a goal seems altogether too pat.

I am wrong, of course. If I thought I could manage making hour a day count as much as eight or ten (or twelve, as I used to) then I’m all in. Who actually wants to work four hours in the morning and four hours in the afternoon to make money to pay the bills? More important, who doesn’t want to do that?

A few questions arise. The first one is, what if you enjoy that eight hours? Complementarily, what if you find the idea of having most of your days vacant a horror? It might seem counter-intuitive, but some folks much prefer the idea of a structured work life, because it then gives structure to their private and leisure life. Whether this results from conditioning is the big point.

Another way to look at this is: What would I do with the time I have not working? The answer to that will very greatly from individual to individual, of course, but it’s not as simple as all that. I am particularly bad at figuring out how to play. Swimming, walking, reading, drinking coffee, writing and being with friends pretty much covers it, but these are easily accommodated with the space left from a regular job.

So why do I want to work at getting my hourly value of work sky-high? Well, for one thing, actually having spare time will likely open paths unseen when our heads are down. The other is that we might be able to express our pleasures as income producing, which gets neatly to a point I aspire to: To work but have it not feel like work.

Perhaps that’s a better book.

Work

Entrepreneurs and business owners have a reputation for working hard, by which I guess people mean they work long hours. Whether that is factually true or not, I have no idea, but what I do know for certain is that I spend an inordinate amount of time at work. Sixty hours a week or more most weeks. Notice, not my own enterprise; another person’s.

Deep within me is a wellspring of thought that says:

Work hard, work long. It’s virtuous. Hours count.

I rationalize that as the echo of a mildly ascetic protestant upbringing, a kind of non-papist monkhood.

This is not smart. A quick search of academic research, business education and common sense points to the opposite: that a well organized and focused short working week maximizes one’s productivity health and satisfaction. Thirty-five hours stands out as around the right time.

Here’s the challenge. How can we own a business (or multiples) and yet still work less than forty hours a week? We know that leisure, sleep, family time and regeneration generally are crucial, but the demands of business will always creep into our thoughts.

We’re designing the perfect solution for this to all pan out.

Jobs

Work

Who wants a job in a factory?

Seriously. Who wants to join ten thousand other people clocking in and out once a day to be on a production line? To do the same thing again and again? To never once be creative or thoughtful, to never once offer ideas? To never improve?

I have worked these jobs. They blow. They’re physically and spiritually destructive.

Why is it then that so much hand-wringing accompanies loss of these jobs? Western countries – the USA in particular – have been losing menial manufacturing work for decades, both to other countries and robotics. Good riddance. Minimizing dirty, repetitive, soulless daily work should be a goal for humanity, not just rich countries. Viva the robotic revolution.

But here come the backward-thinkers. Economists, stodgy thinkers and the usual crowd-followers (ie: politicians) want more jobs like this. Of course they don’t want them; that’s obvious. But they want you and me to get beaten down for twelve bucks an hour.

Any suppleness of thought leads you to one conclusion. That conclusion is that we all need to drag ourselves out of the nineteenth-century model of work, and look forwards. We are poorly educated for such a process, which is an enormous part of the problem. We are afraid of the changes required to always have the flexibility to move with the new. Most of all we are passive in the face of all this.

Much simpler to make token efforts at reclaiming a past that will never return.