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.

Friday, 11 March 2011

The Injustice of White Collared Time Crime.

In most civilized countries, it has become customary to avoid taking items which do not rightfully belong to you. Were you to take a friends car and exchange it for a handful of  shiny coins, not only would your friend be motivated to re-evaluate your companionship  but you would also, most likely, be granted an opportunity to familiarise yourself with  the interior of a police cell. In the world of work the rules are slightly distorted and it has become acceptable for your employer to consume your time without proper reimbursement. The theft I am referring to is not of the contracted time for which your employer pays you, but rather, the time spent travelling to and from your place of work. As employers increasingly choose to situate themselves in business parks and busy towns, The Daily Grindstone questions how this phenomenon has come to such prominence.

In days gone by, employees would have lived within a short walk or bicycle ride of their employer's business. The commute to work was little more than a 5 minute stroll and gave workers the chance to meet with colleagues, indulge in a sneaky cigarette, and discuss the news of the day. With the advent of the internal combustion engine, employees were no longer tied to the locality of the workplace and began to move further away. Initially the car allowed workers to travel longer distances in shorter times, but as prices fell and more vehicles took to the road, increasing congestion saw journeys times rise exponentially.

The average commuting time in the UK currently stands at around 45 minutes ( This means that each day, the average worker sacrifices 90 minutes of unpaid leisure time to travel to a job that they are enslaved to by rent, overdrafts, phone bills and all manner of direct debit. Since travel time is essential for carrying out the duties of your job, it would not be unfair to seek financial compensation. Incredibly, the brainwashed worker accepts that he must surrender this time and instead of seeking recompense, uses it to conduct work for his master on a portable computer. The free labour that a lengthy commutes provides, encourages the profits of large companies to swell and bloat like feeding leeches. Despite the injustice of this white collared theft, we, the impotent masses, refuse to utter as much as a whimper of protest.

Even if you are not spending your commute working for free, do you really enjoy waking up at 7am to travel to a place of work? Would you not rather spend the time asleep or watching GMTV? Leisure time should be spent engaging in activities that you have voluntarily chosen to pursue, allowing your employer to take it for free is no better than opening your wallet to a Fagin styled pick-pocket. Given that business leaders will cry out about lost productivity whenever they hear the mention of a new bank holiday, we, the employee, should demand reimbursement for the time that we have lost travelling on their behalf.

It is time for a revolution and that revolution should start at 9am on Monday morning. Rather than sitting at your desk like a trained Labrador, casually leave the comfort of your home and let your employer pay for the time that you waste stuck in traffic behind an overturned caravan.

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