Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Changing jobs

Just a third of British workers stick to their contracted working hours, according to a survey .

40% of workers do not take a lunch break.
A similar number for perform 5 hours or more of unpaid overtime.
One in three employees regularly check work emails during their spare time.
63% say work worries creep into their weekends.

Nigel Wallace, development director at Lifetime, said:“Amid the tough economic climate, these findings highlight just how hard the nation is working...More and more people are reporting an inability to escape work worries."

It is a little recognised fact that since the 1970s working hours have tended to rise. It isn't just a matter of the number of hours per day, week, or year. Working time has been "rationalised" as well as increased. That means greater intensity of effort and reduced opportunity for rest, social interaction. It means "variable" or "flexible" schedules – flexible for the boss, not the worker.

Yet workers are not shirkers. Some 57% of those polled said they dream of making a new career out of their hobby. A further fifth said they would love to turn their fitness hobby into a career.

The lines between work and leisure in socialism may well be much more blurred than in today's scenario. People will have time, time to be creative, to learn different and multiple skills and to enjoy the time they spend working. Leisure activities seen as hobbies now – vehicle maintenance, gardening, DIY home improvements, baking, the making of all kinds of hand-made items, giving or receiving educational and training courses – could well form part of one's service to the community, bringing a greater satisfaction and contributing to individual development generally, one of the aims of socialism. With more leisure time available it is also highly likely that more 'work' would be created in the leisure area, whether sports complexes, theatrical and music productions and educational courses in the widest sense and with unlimited opportunities for the active participation of those who choose it.

It is the nature of employment that makes it "work" instead of pleasure. In a socialist society, work will be a fulfilling and satisfying experience. It will take place in a society of harmony and equality, with no bosses and no petty workplace dictators. Producing for use will be rewarding in itself, and steps will be taken to make work as interesting as possible. While we cannot be precise now, it is likely that people will not do the same sort of work for years on end - they will change the kind of work they do every few years perhaps, or will divide their week among different activities. Under capitalism, many of the most demeaning and boring jobs are directly connected to the money system, and these will disappear immediately. Any monotonous work that remains can be automated, at least in part, or can be done by one individual for only short periods. Dangerous and unpleasant work will be eliminated unless absolutely essential. It may be reasonable in some ways to compare work in socialism with people’s hobbies now: things done for their inherent enjoyment, not because of the wage packet.

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