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The 9 to 5 Drudgery

Updated: May 26



“9 to 5” – is that even truly representative of the fate of employees stuck in a monotonous rut? How many people actually work those hours? I know that, for me, it was always at least 8 to 5, and that is without considering the travel time. For many of you reading this blog, it is probably way more than that.

When I visited India a few years ago, I found my relatives and their kids working crazy hours. My nephew, for instance, would leave home at 6am and never be back before 10pm – and he worked 6 days a week! All these hours on his regular monthly salary, which was “technically” for 40 hours a week. The question of overtime would never even arise! It was considered a normal part of being a “corporate” employee.

I recall in one my early jobs, I always worked late because I was a bachelor and I didn’t really have any pressing duties back home. I was returning to an empty house anyway. There was this one time, when my parents came and stayed with me for a few weeks. I started leaving the office on time, so I could spend more time with them. After a few days, my boss and I had a small argument on some professional issue, and he let fly at me saying I wasn’t being responsible anymore. When I asked him to clarify that statement, he said “you run away exactly at 5pm these days, that shows your irresponsibility”. I couldn’t believe my ears!! The management had gotten so used to my extra hours of work that they took it for granted. Sound familiar to any of you?

All these extra hours of work are fine if you enjoy your job and your work environment. What if you don’t enjoy your job? Even in the modern age of flexible workplaces, most conventional companies frown upon anyone who sticks to their normal hours. They are disparagingly referred to as “clock watchers”. This applies only to salaried employees who are on a fixed monthly income. For hourly wage workers, since the employer has to pay overtime, the company actually prefers them to stick to their contracted hours. See the double standards here?

I used to hate the yo-yo of emotions that I experienced week after week. The Monday blues would start setting in on Sunday afternoon, when my mood would start dipping. Come Friday, and suddenly things brightened up. Just the thought of not having to go to work for two days lifted my spirits. And I wasn’t alone in feeling this way. I came across a global survey which concluded that over 70% of employed people across the world hated their jobs. I have no reason to doubt that statistic – if I think back over the many different companies in my career, I would be hard pressed to come up with too many people who actually liked their jobs. In fact, 3 out of 10 seems like a best-case scenario!! They all worked because they had to, not because they wanted to.

Are you one of those who wishes you could break out of this rut and find a way to enjoy your work? After all, we spend a majority of our time at work – don’t we owe it to ourselves to find happiness in our work?

Ponder this – Is it possible to be happy in life if you are unhappy at work?

I would love to hear from you!!

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