Something broken about 5pm to 8pm routine

What you need to know:

Why do all bosses act perfect though?

Routine life: At what point in life did it hit you that everything you did straight from nursery school up until university had been to prepare you for the 8am to 5pm? Or is it hitting you at this point? Yet despite all the preparation, there is one public secret we all share; ‘the 8 to 5 thing is not working anymore. Something seems broken’.

We all know it, we all wake up to push another week into it, and we all hope that some special species from some random planet will come and wave a magic wand and transform us into the future.

You know that struggle with the alarm clock. You know that moment before going to bed, when you cut short every interesting line of thought because you have to sleep and be ready for the 8 to 5 maxima? How many ideas have gone to the graveyard because we are now more interested in being good servants to the 8 to 5, not the things we can make out of our awake moments? Who invented this thing anyway?

Covid-19 came, and then it dawned on us that maybe 8 to 5 was not the end of the world. That there was a world beyond 8 to 5, a world where we can all be productive without necessarily chasing that clock and doing all the things we do to try to chase that clock.

Don’t you know yourselves, with your kind of coping mechanisms? Should we talk about Tommy, the guy that spends his 8 to 5 streaming movies and when the boss comes to hover around his laptop, he switches to an empty word document or excel file. In those files, he has learnt to type random words, random numbers and yes, put up that working face. The kind that looks like he is cracking the world’s hardest problems.

What about Vanessa, the one that has transformed into a barista? She copes by scheduling all these many coffee breaks in the schedule. She has found a way to do coffee at every interval as she slogs to her desk every now and then. Then you have the Power Point obsessionist, the one who spends a day perfecting her power point slide, wondering which pastels, which greys will make it better. And then when she presents this slide, she soon realises it was never a big deal to anyone.

What about the ones that keep pushing to 5pm even when they have achieved the day’s goals? The ones waiting for the bell to ring. Or the ones that add in an extra 30 minutes, just to appear like they have put in extra time, and not appear too desperate? At what point do they get to confess that something is broken?

Do you want proof that something is broken? The Friday celebrations are proof. The Monday blues are proof. In fact, if you designed a survey that asked these groups to vote between Monday and Friday, they will confess that Friday is the day. You can see it in their upbeat life. It is as though on Friday, they lay down the cross. They cast their burdens onto the weekend. And on Sunday evening, reality sets in, that the cross got to be carried again, again and again, they hit another week, another month, another year, and then a decade.

There is something that dies in the human mind with monotony, with predictability, things like creativity, the kind that cannot come out of group think, the kind that springs from the rivers of randomness. You know the kind from that shower hour, the kind that comes when one is in flow. Something got to be done. And if we kill the 8 to 5, then maybe we do not even have to design weekends and public holidays into work lives. Then people can feel upbeat to do their best on weekends. Because, people zone out, people step on the brake on the weekend. As though work is one thing and life is another thing.

How did we get here? Work is life, and life is work. They are not separate things. 8 to 5 has created the illusion of separation, or it is how we manage, by pretending like there is something we wake up to do, and once we have done it, we can go off to live. Is that how low we have fallen?

Something is broken about 8 to 5. It is expired. It is on the deathbed and we must start to think of the alternative. Something that will match with the Gen Z’s expectations, something that can enable them to run their TikTok channels as they deliver their best outcomes for their employers. And what is this thing where all bosses act perfect and appear emotionless? Is that like a thing for gracing the 8 to 5? Life is not that serious my people. May we remind all of us that we all die? No one comes out alive.

And maybe once we kill the 8 to 5, maybe then we will not have people rushing on bodas, we will not have to all collide in the same rush hours? We will not have people killing their relatives on Fridays and getting some rare sickness on Monday morning. Maybe then employees will be truthful and really work, not appear to work. Maybe we would deal with higher productivity.

And maybe Friday could become Monday and Monday could become Friday… and maybe, we then do not have to be scammed by statements such as ‘I am the youngest Range Rover owner in Uganda… join the Super life…’ And maybe then we will not need escapes anymore. Because there will not be any need to escape our work.

Twitter: ortegatalks