Modern Man

It did strike me as slightly ironic; I checked my emails just one last time before shutting down the computer and heading home for the day. And there it was, at 5.21, an email came through telling me it was national Go Home on Time Day.

It was a campaign organised by the Australian Council of Trade Unions to highlight the huge amount of unpaid overtime that happens all over Australia. But surely if they were serious about getting us to go home on time they should have sent the email before 5pm?

Now here I am, Tuesday night 9.27pm, staring at another computer while I try to belt out another Modern Man column because there is never enough time (or clear thinking space) in the day to get it done during work hours.

In the lounge room my wife is tapping away on her laptop because a colleague is away, so it falls to her to make sure the work is done.

And it seems this is not an uncommon experience in the modern world. As well as an ingrained sense of responsibility to 'get the job done', there has been a blurring of the lines about what is a work activity because of the uptake of mobile technology. Whilst having a smart phone or tablet device increases the amount of ways you can waste time in a day, it also means you never really disconnect from work. The research shows that the pressure to just keep checking those emails and messages is increasing and encroaching on our personal time.

Apparently Australians do an estimated two billion hours of unpaid overtime every year, worth around $72 billion to the economy. (No wonder we survived the GFC relatively unharmed - we're all working for nothing! You wouldn't see that in Greece or Spain).

Of course, we're not all stupid enough to work for free. At The Echo we have an advertising rep you can set your clock by. Each day at exactly 10.15am he goes out for morning tea and then you can guarantee his desk will be vacant from precisely 12.00 to 12.59pm for lunch.

I have a friend who started a new job where he noticed one of his workmates had a similarly rigid routine. So he thought he'd give it a go; in the door at 9, out at 5 with an hour for lunch and nobody blinks an eye. So I don't know why some of us think we have to work for nothing… Bugger it, I'm not even going to bother finis

Topics:  opinion

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