Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Fairly Typical Rant About Work and Money

Today is the first day since October 9th that I haven't been working or, in the case of three of the days, working a day and a half. I'm helping put together a course for the Army, which means that there are more demands on my time than usual.

I still love the work, but there are definitely times when I wish I had a 36 hour day. Or, failing that, that I could start sleeping whenever I have an extra 5 minutes to spare. I mastered that particular art when I was away on leadership training, but it seems that one of the prerequisites is having only slept 4 hours during the previous week. I'm tired, but not that tired.

The condo is really coming along well. We're still missing a fair bit of our furniture, but I suspect it won't be long before we'll be able to book a house warming party. The kittens seem to have adjusted, though they were none too pleased when we took them for their annual check-up. In a surprise move, the vet made no mention of brain trauma - I guess they're just like this normally.

I intend to make today a proper, lazy day. That means that the only way I will be changing out of my fleece pajama pants is if we decide to play tennis. The only thing that I will be getting caught up on will be my XBox games, or possibly some Robert Heinlein dystopian fiction. I will be drinking coffee on the balcony up until 12:01 pm, at which point I will switch to Boddingtons. I will finally have a listen to the Cake CD that I've been unable to play in Mercules. And I will be in bed by 9:30 pm, so that I can get up bright and early and walk to work the next day.

Speaking of time off, I wonder when it'll be that we'll actually realize that, in our modern day and age, working 40 hours a week is just a little bit silly. I mean, think about it - were you to have an extra day off each week, and were all the shops and office to be open at that time, think of all the money you'd be able to save by being able to comparison shop, haggle, repair, or simple do yourself.

I'd be willing to bet that, in many cases, you'd end up ahead of where you were before, even with 20% less cash in your pocket. I certainly tend to throw money at problems to make them go away, even if it is done in a carefully researched, semi-frugal kind of way. And think of all the benefits - the part of your income that you're giving up is the part that's most heavily taxed, and the extra hours you're giving up are your least productive. There'll be 20% more work to be done, which means that there'll be more jobs to go around.

Of course, it'd never do. Everyone needs the latest laser-powered super iPod (now with sparkles!), and lives from paycheque to paycheque in order to pay for it all. But that's not the worst of it. The real problem is that we know that, by only working 80% of the time, we'd be committing career suicide.

Who knows where we'd end up if we showed anything less than cutthroat ambition this early in life? We'd probably be cleaning out the ashtrays in airport limos. Or living in France. I'm not sure which is worse.

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