Earth: Home of the 24/7 Workweek


Going through the job  interview process within just over the last year, I have taken a little bit of time recently to reflect on where I have ended up from what I was thinking at that point in time last Nov/Dec when finally accepting a job offer with my current company.

One of the most common phrases I heard from companies when I was interviewing is that they are “not your typical 9 to 5 company.” This, of course, referring to the 9-5 workday that we are so used to hearing about, even in Dolly Parton’s old, “9-5.” Every company I talked to said they are not the typical 9-5. But, how typical is it, if no one is talking about it anymore and no companies are eager to boast their “old” ways at career fairs and through the interview process?

The new workplace is 24/7 accessible. This can be good and bad. Good because you’re able to work from anywhere whenever you want to in order to get your work in on time, without necessarily being near those you report to. Bad because it has become what a cell phone may have initially become to many of us, a virtual leash by which those in charge of us can access their workforce 24/7 to be able to get work done, no matter what hour of day/night it comes up. While “not your typical 9-5 job” sounds pretty great to many of us, because we think of the endless possibilities that come with such a phrase, it means that work no longer fits into the boundaries of 9am – 5pm. Now, our parents might say that we need to “get real” and understand what the work world is really like, but it is an entirely different work environment than we were even tought about in school.

It has become so difficult to mentally pull yourself away from work. When I’m at home during the weekend, I come closest to shutting out the work week, but when I come home after work at night, when I can’t achieve any of my errands for the day, I am bound to think about the next day and what needs to get done. Especially if I get a few emails later in the night, or a call to wake me up in the morning, describing what I need to do before work the next day. It’s work, with homework, that may not give us enough time off to actually finish the homework. It’s a tough gig.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m just trying to make an observation of the occupational shift within our country in comparison to many of the things we learned growing up about going into the real world. The “real world” as we remember being taught of, has shifted entirely, into the “new real world,” which many of us are seeing upon our departure from college. Many of my friends that graduated with me recently from undergraduate studies have yet to enter this “new real world.” They are prolonging the magic through either travel or more likely, graduate studies immediately out of school. While I don’t criticize either of these approaches, it seems so rare for me to find people my age, right out of undergraduate studies, going into the work force just as I did. Kids become comfortable with school, even when the loans ring in over $1million dollars. It’s a way to try and continually prepare for what the “new real world” will bring, yet it still never seems to prepare those enough. 

So many of us continue to hold on. To parents, to comfort, to many different things. I was one of these people too. However I’ve learned that it’s most important to take the dive into something that you want to make the best of, something you enjoy doing, and something that lets you fall flat on your face. Yes, not meeting a deadline at my work recently wasn’t the greatest, but I love the challenge of trying to do it again, and learning more from the “new real world” than from much of the schooling that tried to prepare me for it. I am fortunate enough to have a job in this current economy, but that doesn’t mean new graduates need to stop trying. I’m not a professional, by any means, so it’s hard to make too many recommendations, without bringing up questions about myself. But I wanted to point out some observations about the world around us, and the recent release of the class of 2008 into the “new real world.”

Let’s hope we’re just a world-changing as much of the world has put pressure on us to be. 🙂

~ by trentgillaspie on January 18, 2009.

3 Responses to “Earth: Home of the 24/7 Workweek”

  1. Re the last line – “yeah, yeah, no pressure…”

    Good post. Thought provoking. I know for me the choice to go back to school was because what I want to do requires a higher degree. I can’t really get around not having it.

    le sigh. If I could have done what you did, right out of my bachelors, in what I wanted to do… sign me up.

  2. I believe it depends on what field you are going into and the connections you have in that field. I have a few friends who have recieved jobs with companies requiring masters yet they only had bachelors, this do to the connections they had. Also I believe you hit it right on the head when you mention doing what you love, if I remember right growing up parents would say “I have never worked a day in my life” for they were doing something they love. While times have changed it is still very true that if you are doing what you love you will not really care to work over time. I believe to many people look for a job in a perfect career or perfect pay and forget about the industries demands (time off, family, on and on). One must prioritize their life before they ever jump into a job or once they are in will they realize what they really wanted. Just remember The man who does not work for the love of work but only for money is not likely to make money nor find much fun in life.
    Charles Schwab

    *I always arrive late at the office, but I make up for it by leaving early. *


    Saw these two on my interwebz trolling and thought of you. 🙂

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