So, recently I’ve started working my first 40 hour work week job. At first, the impact of the 40hr/week lifestyle was a shock but I’ve adapted. This scares me.
The obvious thing I’ve given up is time. 40 hours of work really means 50 hours of lost free time when lunch and travel are included. Furthermore, after grinding at work the last thing I want to do is work on personal projects and do anything that requires more mental effort. These last few weeks, I did something I swore I would never do. I watched a TV series from start to finish. Ew.
This made me think.
Call it capitalism. Call it society. But our lifestyles are designed and shaped by the 40 hour work week. By limiting time, the desire for convenience, quick payout, and consumerism increases. As a minimalist, my relatively unusual lifestyle has been easy to adopt and maintain sustainably. Until now. It’s much harder to go for that afternoon run. It takes convincing to not stop for some sushi after work.
Furthermore, it has been shown that the average office worker gets three hours of work done per eight hours. The origin of the 40 hour work week comes from the industrial revolution in France. It was enacted to prevent factories from abusing employees with 80+ hour work weeks that were mandatory. As time moved onward, technology has been able to increase output per hour from factories. I would argue that white collar and intellectual jobs do not serve to benefit from a 40 hour work week.
As a single 20 something, I’m able to sustain my desired lifestyle while also holding a full-time job. Barely. If I wanted to have any friends, meet people, or even get a dog, I could see myself slumping into a life of fast food, eating out, TV, and dare I say it: sports. I don’t want to be that person. I know I would be miserable.
I am lucky enough to have my passions and skills align in such a way that I can market them and make a living. I’m thinking that if I’m doomed to work for 40 hours each week I might as well be working for myself than lining the pockets of someone else.