Angry Administrative Assistants · Books · Unhappy Employees

Why the 4-hour work week is a trick

I bought Timothy Ferriss’ book with all the hope in the world that it was the answer to my problems. A 4-hour work week? Please, sign me up. I’m ready.

The cover says, “Escape the 9 – 5, live anywhere and join the new rich.” Again, yes and yes please. Who wouldn’t want this? It makes the unbearable reality of the 9 – 5 that I’ve come to hate seem like it could have a positive ending.

I mean, I don’t even have time to read, which is a death sentence to a writer. No time to read, hardly any time to write. I listen to books these days. I did manage to get through the back cover and its warning “not to read the book unless you want a new way of living.” Still on board. Definitely need a new way of living.

Here’s the thing, it’s been months since I bought it, and I haven’t cracked the book open yet. Why? Because I don’t have time to read. And while I’m sure there are some stellar ideas in the book, not reading it leaves me unable to figure out how to get down to a 4-hour work week. If only I had more time.

I find myself thinking that daily. I need more time. But is more time really what I need? Isn’t the issue really a matter doing more of what matters to me with the time I have?

If I had the chance, I would write all day. If that were my “real” job. If I could do it the way I want to – setting my own hours, writing about what matters to me, having a positive effect on someone. It would be something I could do for the exact same amount of time as my corporate administrative job. But at the end of the day instead of feeling run over, I’d feel accomplished, positive, even happy. I would feel fulfilled. Why? Because I would love my job.

Why would I want to give only 4 hours a week to that? The honest answer –  I wouldn’t.

If, as a writer, I could write all day every day, I would want to work hard, long hours. I would find it satisfying instead of soul sucking. It would be different from the 9 – 5 corporate gig because I would want to be there, wrestling out sentences and paragraphs and stories. It would be a worthy fight. I would be a champion at the end of every match.

But if I’m trying my hardest to work less hours, to steal back my time to enjoy my life more, then I’m doing something wrong. I’m doing the wrong job.

A job that requires you to work 12 hour days, not have time for vacations, miss your kids’ baseball games, forget your anniversary and family’s birthdays and other significant dates, causes anxiety to the point that you’re taking pills, makes you hate your existence to the point that you start drinking or can’t stop smoking, and eventually develop a hair trigger temper that in its friendliest form comes out as Tourette’s cannot be described as a job that you love.

That’s not me of course. I don’t even have any f**king kids.

How could you not want to run away from that? It isn’t natural to make peace with something that you resent more and more. But that’s exactly what we do, every day, for years. While we look forward to retirement to start living.

Right now, I feel every moment of every day that I spend working for big corporate as a waste. All through the day, I’m antsy and unhappy and constantly counting the minutes that I could be writing instead. So, I feel every hour as if it were three hours. At the end of the day, with all of my energy used up in working hard at my job and hating how hard I have to work at my job, I have almost nothing left for what I really want to do. (Almost nothing.) For this existence, a 4-hour work week would be just the thing. Because it is not where I want to be. It is not what I want to be doing. It does not make me happy.

But if I were able to write all day? How could 4-hours ever be enough?

So, you see, it’s a trick. A 4-hour work week is just another Band-Aid on the infected, oozing, turning green wound of being in the wrong job in the first place. Not even cutting down the torture sentence to 4 hours a week could fix that problem. And it is a problem. One that needs a cure rather than a patch.

Angry Administrative Assistants · Unhappy Employees

The Angry Admin Chronicles 1

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Dear Corporate,

You’ve existed for decades. You’ve created markets, supported expansion, and built empires. Through depressions and recessions, you’ve endured.

But things are changing. You are running out of time.

After you’ve analyzed your shares and productivity and market saturation, after you’ve re-evaluated, restructured, and revamped, after you’ve made countless acquisitions and integrations, you will be left with the only question that matters – how will you survive without employees?

Loyalty to the company is no longer the norm. So, you have a lot working against you now. And it’s coming from inside the company.

Your employees have been deep in the dream of ‘this is how it’s always been done.’ They are slowly waking up to the fact that the way it’s been done for decades is not the only way. They are realizing that the hard work that provides security only means they get to continue their hard work. Hard work that ultimately provides real security for someone other than themselves.

Your employees are tired of the fight for work-life balance. It’s either the job or the family, the job or the hobby, the job or the life. They are tired of fluorescent lighting and spaces with no windows. They are tired of spending their days surrounded by people who are nothing like them, who don’t share the same values, or ideas, or outlook on anything while being forced to collaborate and build teams with these same people.

More and more, your employees are turning to entrepreneurial adventures in the form of start-ups, freelancing, online businesses and even food trucks. They are forming and joining communities of like-minded individuals, while trading in same-minded institutions. Your employees are making a way rather than following a way. They choosing to be free.

The time of working at the same place until you retired or died is over, long over. And the ones who still feel that way are getting old – fast. When they retire, who is going to replace them? The young people today? Millennials are notorious for moving on if they are not getting what they want. When all else fails, they go out and get it instead of waiting for someone to give it to them.

There won’t be a way to convince another generation that security trumps all. People shouldn’t be treated as if they have no other choices.

Corporate, you need to wake up. Your revamped offices and fancy furniture with open workspaces and video games will only hold people there for so long. You will need to constantly look for ways to get people in. But if the same ole still continues on the inside, people won’t stand for it. They won’t sit in your designer chairs for it. They won’t bargain away their personal time and family time and even sick time for it.

When bosses start treating their employees like people, like co-workers instead of doormats, like humans instead of machines, then maybe there will be a chance. Otherwise, where will you be in 10 or 20 years? What will your workforce look like then? Robots? I hope they’ll be up and running in time.

RobotWorker

Books · Movies · Sci-Fi

Women in Sci-Fi – What do you want to see?

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The writer in me would like to know…

What would you like to see or learn or read about when it comes to women in sci-fi? And I don’t mean, what does Ripley eat for breakfast? I’m talking about what kind of heroine or character or even alien would you like to see in a sci-fi movie or story that hasn’t been done to death already? Or do you want to know about the women who write science fiction regardless of their main character’s gender?

Warning: I am a writer. I’m asking these questions to either get story ideas or develop ideas that I am already working on. So if you don’t want me using your idea, don’t respond! Please. Cause if it’s good, I’m running with it.

This will be an ongoing series on my blog. I’m currently working on two completely different stories, so I’m curious about what people want to read about in sci-fi and fantasy. Because I write sci-fi and fantasy.

Please post your responses!!

Random Writings

Fearless Youth

When I was young, I had no sense of fear. Maybe I just didn’t have any sense. But I wasn’t afraid of anything. We had a Doberman that used to growl or attack every time I walked by him. I understand that I used to poke at his balls with a stick. I forgot about that, but he didn’t. Still, I never stopped trying to play with him. I knew what would happen, but I was not afraid enough not to try. Eventually, we became good friends. The growling and teeth filled close-ups stopped. And I’ve never been afraid of dogs – ever.

Jack

This was how I spent most of my youth. I would sing at the top of my lungs or dance in public, even though I couldn’t do either thing. I hung out on the roof of the house, never thinking about falling. I spray-dyed my hair blue in sixth grade, not worried about the fall out. Okay, so it was Halloween, but still. It was a private school and all hell broke loose. I just didn’t care. I didn’t worry. I was so brave.

I’m still trying to figure out – what the hell happened? How did I become this wimpy, I need permission for everything, I still really want blue hair but I wouldn’t dare kind of person? Where did that awesome kid from my youth go? When did she just up and split, leaving me in her place? Me, who is afraid to put her own name on her own website so that people don’t actually find her. Me, who has tattoos – that no one can see and who is planning the strategic placement of more ink so that no one can see those either. Me, a writer since birth, but who is afraid to let people know that because… I’m not really sure why. When did my personalities split like Sybil, with the one cool chic taking off and leaving me, and several fear filled versions of that scaredy-cat, in her place?

Life has definitely kicked me in the teeth a few times. But right now, I feel like I’ll never get up again. Who doesn’t get back up after being knocked down? My younger self never got knocked down – she bounced. How do I get back to that? How do I just brush off all the bullshit, hold my head up, and keep trucking? How do I go out and get the life I want without waiting for permission from people like my boss at the most evil job I could have – doing invoices. I’ve consistently failed math class since second grade. I am presently living in mathematical hell. How do I just put myself out there in the internet ether and wait anxiously for comments or replies? Right now, if someone commented I’d probably have a nervous breakdown. How do I become J.K. Rowling, Anne Rice, and Maya Angelou all wrapped up in ink covered skin and blue hair?

My younger self just checked in.
She said – one post at a time.

JackieSmile

Random Writings · Thinking Too Much

Waiting…

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3:22 am
I’m sitting around waiting
Waiting for things to get better
Waiting for things to change
Waiting for the inspiration, for the right moment, in the right place,
at the right time
Not really sure when or what “right” is any more
I’m wondering if anyone is waiting to hear from me
Waiting for a time when I don’t feel like I’m on a clock that is ticking away
while I sit waiting

 Feeling like the end is closing in on me and I haven’t accomplished half of what I planned when I first set out. What has kept me from it? Waiting.  And other things at times. But it’s been mostly me, just waiting for a better time to write, a better place to live, a better job – or even better – no job. Waiting to win the lottery so I can pay off my school loans, because that is the heaviest burden on my shoulders at the moment.  It’s weighing me down and causing all of my energy to be lost in continuing day to day under the weight, while I wait for things to change.

 Much too much of not enough – that’s the thought that clouds my mind. Waiting until I don’t think that way anymore. Waiting until I feel differently about a situation that isn’t going to change until I stop waiting. Held in place in time in thought in action – or lack of action – by waiting for… me. The me I set out to be. Watching myself become the me I swore I would never be mostly because I’ve been waiting for the me I want to be to just show up and take over. She’s taking her time. I wonder if something has held her up – oh yeah – waiting.

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 So it’s time to go forward, to move and stop waiting, to stop hesitating, to do and move with purpose, more purpose than just getting by, doing just enough to watch as things happen to me instead of making things happen for me. 

Waiting for a time when I can sleep through the night
Waiting for the day when I’ll finally eat right
Waiting for the love that I know is there
Waiting for the day I stop waiting and dare
Waiting for the brilliant spark of an idea
That will change everything and get me out of here
Waiting until the waiting ends
Now just… hit… send…

Random Writings

For Ash! (Ambirge)

I pledge allegiance to Ms. Ash

A Queen of online entrepreneurship

And to the Middle Finger Project for which she stands

I’m out of the cubicle, with blue hair, self-sufficient and no fear

I’ll work hard and build my business to the best of my ability

So it will be my truth when she says,

And never depend on other people for your dignity

– and livelihood – again”

Thank you Ash for the inspiration (and the step-by-step walk through) to just create the blog already. I’ve been agonizing over this for years.
Literally, years.