To preface this…I generally sit down and come up with a week’s worth of topics at one time, meaning that I often struggle to find things that I actually think are worthwhile to talk about. This one came about at a time in which I was feeling particularly unhappy about my job (about three weeks from the time you’ll read this, yesterday from the time I’m writing it). I’m a lot more cool about what had inspired the idea for this post, but I’ve come to the realization that this isn’t an entirely superfluous idea for a message for the day…hence my keeping it…even if the title isn’t as appropriate as it initially was.
I’ve long struggled with what I want to do for my career. For a number of years I thought about being a teacher (even studied to be one for nearly as long as you need to in order to actually be one). Another few I considered the craft of acting, as I find myself feeling quite comfortable on stage (although my talent as such could be questionable). Right now, of course, I’ve put considerable amounts of effort into my writing…effort that’s really quite difficult to walk away from at this point, even if I find myself considering that very idea on all too often of a basis.
But throughout all of these different career paths, I’ve always had to work a real job, you know, one that actually pays the bills. Most of those jobs have been ones that I haven’t really enjoyed…in fact, found myself in many ways despising.
After recent events, I actually sat down to reflect on my reasons for disliking my jobs so much over the years. Sure, there’s always the interpersonal issues, the boredom issues, and a whole host of self-respect issues that all come into play…but many of these feelings I’ve had toward my jobs as of late have been the same no matter the job, as varied as my many places of employment have been over the course of my lifetime.
In fact, there really are only a handful of places in which I didn’t spend at least a portion of my time being employed there just absolutely hating it….unfortunately, they were all minimum wage positions, and oddly enough, were the only jobs in which I actually had to work hard the entire time I was at the job.
It was under this understanding that I came to realize something very important about myself. Something I’ve always known, but something I didn’t quite fully piece together into the puzzle.
I hate wasting time.
So many jobs I’ve had over the years required me to wait out the clock. This is understandable in many retail settings, as someone just needs to man the store until it closes. In other settings…I can’t help but think it’s the stupidest idea in the world.
I’m a pretty fast worker, mostly because I spend a lot of time, when doing repetitive tasks, asking myself how I might be able to go about doing them more efficiently. As such, I generally complete a list of tasks a lot faster than the average worker. This means that I often times spend a fair amount of time doing the equivalent of twiddling my thumbs to ensure that I get my 8 hours in on a given day.
I hate this.
I may have completed everything in front of me, but that doesn’t actually change my expectations on the job. I’m still supposed to be there from 8-4, monday thru friday, regardless of what my actual workload is. It would be different if there were additional workload available…at least, I believe it would be. However, in many of these jobs, what I’ve found to be the answer to asking for more work is the same answer I got as a grade school student when I finished working on a specific in-class assignment first…Busy work. Heck, I’d even take the old, “Put your head down on your desk” response over busy work.
The reason I’ve disliked so many of my jobs boils down to one simple thing: They can’t give me enough legitimate work to fill out the hours they expect me to stay at work.
Now, this isn’t me complaining about my workloads as much as it is me complaining about the current work environment in the world today. At my current job I can always find new things to explore, which is one of the nice things about my position as a person who is supposed to seek out new efficiencies that can be created. But, when the job is done…what’s the point in fulfilling the hours requirement?
Seriously…the concept of hourly employment is dumb, in the majority of situations. Why reimburse people for their time? That seems a waste. You can pay people for their time all you want, that doesn’t mean they’re going to work. Instead, it seems much more important to reimburse people for effort. Sure, there may be a difficult issue in determining metrics for many different employees, at least when dealing with more corporate atmospheres, but many of those employees are salaried anyways. Those folks are technically reimbursed for their effort, whereas the people who are more likely to just sit around and twiddle their thumbs instead of actually put in any extra effort when having free time on the job are paid just to be present.
That’s absolutely ridiculous. It’s not only a waste of time, it’s a waste of money. Why pay people to be present (you know, unless you just need someone to work a counter for so many hours a day)? I realize there are certain federal and state regulations that come into play here…but I also realize that we’re dealing with some very antiquated notions. In fact, I have a feeling that if you did any form of looking into the history of our current ideas behind wages, you’d find that it has a lot more to do with limiting the amount of hours a person is required to work during a day than it is for reimbursing them to be present.
You ever wonder why so many employees out there are so damned lazy? It’s because that’s what you’re paying them to be. People aren’t paid to get the job done, they’re paid to be there. Just think of how fast things would get done if you simply said, “I’ll pay you $50 to complete X task” as opposed to “I’ll pay you $3.00/hr if you will complete X task”. The second option definitely gives good reason to move more slowly.
The reason I’ve been drawn to things like teaching and the arts is simple. Reimbursement there has nothing to do with fulfilling a time commitment, it has to do with completed a job.
Now…if I could only find someone who would hire me on as a consultant….
Almost complete with the time quota for today…
Have fun out there!