As another weekend draws to an untimely end, 35 hours of soul destroying tedium circles through your conscious like a corporate feathered vulture. Sunday's television schedule does little to distract you from the thoughts of a job that you once donned your finest suit to secure, and here, in a moment of depressing clarity is the realisation that, "this is your life." Instead of a red book filled with your greatest feats and wittiest one-liners, the best that you can achieve is two pages of Arial 11 point detailing your employment history and one or two hobbies that you added in a desperate attempt to make it sound as though you were a true team player and not the mis-anthropic, work-hating malcontent that you actually are.

If this sounds familiar then fear not, you are not alone. The Daily Grindstone is here to help you through the perils of employment and give weight to your long held belief that, despite the hype, work just isn't that great. So... make another cup of tea (remember that a full kettle takes longer to boil and can add minutes to your break), get comfortable, and prepare to adjust the scales of the work-life balance a little more in your favour.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Time: You can't buy more, so why give it away?

In almost all aspects of life, punctuality is seen as, at very least, a fairly desirable quality. So why is it that the modern workplace employs such confusing etiquette when it comes to personal time keeping? A fly on the wall in almost any British office, could easily be forgiven for thinking that the working day started at 9am and continued on until six, seven, eight, and in some cases, nine o'clock at night. When the fly, lets call him Brian, eventually called it a day and returned to his family, one can only imagine their disbelief as he recounted this tale of super-evolved apes, dressed in the finest "corporate casual" clothing, working from sunrise until the very depths of night.

Sadly, Brian's inferior intellect (prior to his days as an office observer, he had spent his time vomiting on faeces and insufflating it through his nose) had prevented him from understanding that what he had seen the previous day, was only part of the sorry story. You see, not only were these super-evolved apes working through the night, but once the hour hand had passed five o'clock, they were actually doing it for free. But why would anybody choose to work for free when they could spend the time with their family, or learning to play the banjo, or even forging meaningful relationships with their neighbours. The obvious answer would be that they are unable to tell the time and therefore work until they are tired. Amazingly, the answer goes a little deeper than that. Not only can they tell the time but they are actually choosing to work for free in order to show the world what a very committed worker they are. Why should you want a life outside work when you can gaze morosely at a computer screen in grateful servitude to your masters? It has become like a nuclear arms race, with each employee competing to dedicate more and more of their leisure time to a faceless corporation, in the futile hope that this will go noticed by the powers that be and they will secure one more step up the greasy pole of employment.
The biggest crime of all is that, whilst you can sell your time, you can never, ever, buy it back. All those hours spent "working late" can not be redeemed like Clubcard points when you come to life's final checkout. So I say to you, buy a watch, set an alarm for 5pm, and when that alarm rings, leave your place of work and don't look back until 9am the next day. Embrace punctuality and reclaim your birthright of leisure time.

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