Friday, 5 October 2007

Back to work, work, work.

Hmmm.... not sure I like this full-time working lark any more. Having had a taste of freedom in France I am finding it incredibly difficult to get back into the swing of things here in good old Blighty. And having experienced a distinctly different pace and priority of life whilst away, with shops closing at 12 noon for lunch and opening again at 3-ish, (maybe), office workers taking their breaks in a pavement cafe, le weekend feeling lasting until Tuesday and starting up again on Thursday, I discovered that we work far too hard over here. For far too many hours, too.

I am increasingly wondering what it's all about.

Work to live or live to work?

Give me your take on that one?

35 comments:

belle said...

Morning SM, my view is if you can make ends meet without paid employment then go for it. But that maybe because I'm a lazy arsed waster who would never get up given half the chance ;o)

Mopsa said...

Work to live every time. Otherwise you retire and die and nothing achieved - for what? Downsize all the way.

advocate said...

I work full time, because I have to. Given the choice I would jack it all in tomorrow. The British are the most overworked, stressed out people in Europe, particularly the mediterranean countries - no wonder our French, Spanish and Italian friends live healthier, longer lives. That said, I can smell the weekend approaching. Work to live!

IsobelMagsBuchan said...

This has been discussed quite recently on a few blogs I frequent and the consensus seems to be work to live.

If you don't want to consider possible penury would it be possible to work part-time? 25 hours per week is a far more manageable prospect. The only problem is that you still have the same expenses with regard to clothes, travel etc as you do working full-time.

I took the plunge 11 years ago and left decently paid, full-time employment within the civil service in order to work on my own account. I control how much I work and when and it has worked out to have been an excellent decision for me. OK, there have been times when not having a steady income has been a little scary but now that I am used to it I wouldn't have it any other way.

Go for it if that is what you want but remember those lovely French people are not sitting lunching al fresco in the winter!

NON-WORKINGMONKEY said...

Live for non-work. That's my tip.

laurie said...

oh boy. that's one i've been grappling with all summer.

i work to live, but i also live to work. my job is all tied up in my identity; it's a big part of who i am.

if that weren't the case, i'd take any old job in a shop or whatever.... but my feeling is, if you're going to work (and most of us have to, except for the delightful nonworking monkey above), you might as well spend the hours doing something intelligent and interesting and maybe even something you love.

that said, i am in complete agreement with you on the observation that we work TOO MUCH. a little moderation would be better.

four days a week would be perfect, in my book.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

Work as little as you can to live at a comfort level.I don't need brand new everythings, but I do need a life. And to not be a stressed out crazy woman during it.

And I agree with laurie. Work at something you love.

Works for me anyway.

Swearing Mother said...

Belle, you cracked me up, I loved that! LOL.

Hi Mopsa, the downsizing idea has been popping into my head more and more recently. The idea of less housework, smaller bills, etc., etc., appealing.

Advocate, you are so right about the Brits being overworked and stressed. Talking to lots of people we met on hols made me realise that we are working too hard! Thanks for visiting, BTW.

Hi Isobel: Thanks so much for visiting. Maybe the summer makes everyone think similar thoughts - I want to go out to play more! You certainly were brave but sound as if you did exactly the right thing.

Non-working Monkey: I've been over to your blog and think you are one lucky Monkey. Nice one.

Hi Laurie, you and me both. I just want to stay at home and write stuff if I'm really honest. My job is great really, and rewarding too (Medical PA to a Consultant Paediatrician) but it's hard work in the face of NHS apathy. I don't want to give it up, just do a bit less of it I think.

RC: Hiya, you are quite right. I love my job but it's all-consuming and I need to work fewer hours I think. I want to do something a bit more fun and creative, but when you're totally pooped it's hard to find the mental or physical energy to do much.

Can't give up completely though, Selfridges shares would plummet!

belle said...

Oooh SM, you do realise our paths may well have crossed, don't you?! PA to a consultant Paed, eh? I've spent far too much time at BCH with my two, I was a midwife and a nurse in North B'ham, and my best friend is a paed nurse at BCH ...

Tina said...

That's such an easy question SM. Work to live, every single time. Work's good for paying the bills & keeping you off the streets, sometimes puts you near some good shops & means you do more than watch Jeremy Kyle. Other than that, it's a waste of time.

Cut your hours, go on a road trip, baby! Write us a book of your adventures.

Swearing Mother said...

Belle, more than likely we've met then! I'm the haggard one with a furious expression on my face at all times! And the House of Fraser bag dangling from my wrist, of course.

It's a small world ain't it?

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Tina, you girls are going to get me into all sorts of trouble at work! Good idea about the road trip though.

You up for it Thelma?

Tina said...

Louise, I was born ready. But we're going to need to stop off at a chemist so I can get some Lemsip

Swearing Mother said...

Tina/Thelma: Ah, bless you.

Flowerpot said...

I agree with Laurie - I love my work but I only got into it full time 7 years ago. And yes, it's so much part of me I'm lost without it. But if you have a job you hate, or don't like, it's a very different story.

Flowerpot said...

PS I also think it's different if you work for yourself.

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Flowerpot, thanks for visiting! I love my job but it's real hard work and I don't seem to have enough time or energy left over for doing much else. The whole world seems to be passing me by and I only noticed it because of the freedom of my holiday. Thinking of asking to cut down, but not stop. Maybe that's the answer.

Lovely to read you.

Mike said...

Hi SM, work to live def, but do something you enjoy. Do ask to cut down, I used to think you couldn't do that, until I did! What's the point of having that lovely sports car and no time/ energy to drive and show off? But keep on enough hours to pay for petrol! mimi not mike

Swearing Mother said...

Mimi: I think you've got the answer there, no point in being too busy and tired to enjoy life, is there?

Will let you know how I get on.

Best wishes.

Cailleach said...

It's always been a case of work to live in the past - a friend and I were just talking about 'crap jobs that I've had' and that moment that dawns on you when you realise that no matter how hard you try you could end up stuck doing that crap job for a long time.

That said, having to be at home because of child care costs for six, gave me ample time to refocus, retrain and now I'm beginning to 'fall' into the work I never realised I could do... and it really doesn't feel like work... so if you're lucky enough to be able to work at what you love then it's live to work. But it's so rare :/

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Cailleach, thanks for dropping by. I know what you mean, but luckily I have a job I love,it's just so very busy and takes up all of headspace, if you know what I mean.

Have been so interested in everyone's comments, I think what I'd really like to do is work fewer hours at the day job, and get into writing more. Even if nothing ever gets published, at least it would be giving my more creative side a bit of an airing. I need more thinking time!

Reading your profile, I think you're doing exactly the right thing.

Best wishes.

Big Chip Dale said...

Live to work, clearly. I'm lucky. I love my job. Nothing makes me happier than throwing my thong into a crowd. But not everybody gets to do what they love, and fewer still get to do it naked and covered in pineapple oil. I say that it's important that you don't work to live, which is when you forget the important things. Like throwing thongs into crowds, or whatever it is you like to do.

I think that clears it up.

Mid-lifer said...

I simply don't work - or do as little as possible! Actually (social science hat and serious face comes on) depends on what you call work.

Yes, we do work far too much in this country. Having spent many years in other countries where family is a priority and where they certainly work only if they have to to live, I feel desperately sad that we Brits are forced into ridiculous work hours mainly due to things like: an overly stringent work ethic, competitive job market, greedy capitalists, low wages and a high cost of living.

Somehow we have our priorities all wrong and Summat's gotta change.


....I'll get off me soapbox then....

Swearing Mother said...

Why hello, Big Chip Dale: What a fantastic picture I've conjured up of you - I can almost smell the pineapple oil from here! You are sure one lucky guy to be doing the thing you love, good on yer.

Mid-Lifer, thanks for visiting. I don't know why it's taken me so long to realise that we are a nation of wage slaves, but now I have I think things are gonna change, at least with my work ethic!

ciara said...

hi-came by way of rotten correspondent's blog. all i can say is WORK SUCKS lol i'm a stay-at-home-mom and have been for the last 3 yrs...i love it, but i get quite bored often. and as much as i say work sucks, i kind of wish i had some kind of job.

there's this song called The Monkey Vs. The Robot that my son
used to listen to...and right now the band escapes me but it goes like this: (remembered the band name, Piebald)

I know a girl who works in an office.
She says she has no time for herself.
She says other than that everything is fine, everything is fine.
I remind her everything's not quite fine.
Maybe it's OK or even worse.
Work should not control our every minute.
Eat to work. Sleep to work. Live to work. Work.


you can find the whole lyrics here or even hear the song http://www.lyricsondemand.com/p/piebaldlyrics/themonkeyversustherobotlyrics.html

p.s. i love your interests 'screaming at ppl, swearing' sounds like mine lol

travelling, but not in love said...

Work to live or live to work?

I think I work to avoid living. Sometimes things are a bit grim when it all stops moving...

merry weather said...

Gosh, that was interesting reading! I'm looking for work right now and thinking many of the same thoughts... I need to be independent but "Headspace" yes, definitely! I may as well curl up now if I can't have that as well...

Great to hear you're into writing - you are so funny!! - hope you can reschedule to accommodate time for that. Can imagine that on your sense of humour alone, the hospital needs you as much as we readers do...

Good luck readjusting, oh and the furious haggard face - I thought it was just me....!!

wakeupandsmellthecoffee said...

It's even worse in the States, where most people only get two weeks' vacation a year. I view myself as a recovering workaholic. My husband however is still in the throes of his addiction to work. Sigh!

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Ciara, thanks for visiting. Getting the balance right is the hard bit, isn't it. When we're not working we can sometimes lack a sense of identity or purpose, when we are working we don't get enough time to "smell the roses". Complicated!

Hello to you Travelling, But Not In Love: Great to read you. Your blog is so well written and evocative. Could writing be an alternative career for you? If you ever get tired of dick measuring (you had to be there really, everyone)I reckon you could make your way as a writer!

Hi Merry, lovely to talk to you. It's odd that when I'm feeling a bit iffy about my blogging, you always come along and say the very thing that keeps me going. Are you psychic or what? Thanks for visiting!

Hiya Wakeup: I know what you mean. My husband sounds similar to yours, workaholic tendencies etc. Two weeks holiday a year sounds almost unbearable, what a work ethic. There's got to be a happy medium somewhere. Here's to finding it!

Best wishes everyone.

laurie said...

wow, look at the response here. you sure touched a nerve. it's something we're all grappling with, i think.

great post. obviously.

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Laurie, yes I think the same question has dawned on quite a few of us recently, yourself included, and now I'm thinking about it I realise what a difficult one it is to answer. The overwhelming opinion seems to be reduce, but don't give up entirely.

I am bracing myself to ask to do fewer hours, not sure how well this will go down with the management. But heck, I need more playtime.

Debra in France said...

Hi swearing mother. We took the plunge 3 years ago and sold up and moved to France. We both work for ourselves, I am a hairdresser he is as a tiler and bathroom fitter. We don't need to keep up with the Jones's. We have worked out how much we need to live on, and generally life is great.:-)

Swearing Mother said...

Hi Debra in France: How absolutely fantastic! What a great thing to do. Will be visiting your blog ASAP to get all the details.

Thanks for visiting by the way.

Eve said...

Well like you am having a shot at the, .. Writing game.
Moaning about work reminds me of the years I moaned, tell you what, If I returned in another life, Which I have no wish to,
I Have decided. I will not get wed,,, I will not have children, (Joke) LOVE MINE XX... And will positively, Not Work. Unless, It is for a huge, Pay Packet. Min. £100,000, AND DO
BUGGER ALL FOR IT.

Swearing Mother said...

Hello Eve, how nice of you to call in! So, you're having a go at the writing lark too? Kinda gets you hooked, doesn't it?