Factories, in the Industrial Age, were running on employees who work full-time, 10-16 hours a day. In 1920, Henry Ford (Founder of Ford Motor Company) established the 5 day, 40 hour work-week in his company. Why? It wasn’t for the well-being of his employees; it was partly driven by the goal of increasing consumption! It was about giving them more time to see more to life and realize they need to buy things!!
In the Digital Age of today, almost a century later, we’re still running on the system of Industrial Age. A system that is based on time spent in the office, not on productivity! A system of mistrust based on the assumption that employees are indolent. In a survey called “Wasting Time at Work,” Salary.com concluded that the average employee spends more than 25% of workday (2.09 hours) excluding lunch and scheduled breaks, doing nothing!
That really sums up why full time jobs never made sense to me!
It took me more than 4 professional years to realize that full time jobs are not for everyone.. Some people aren’t born to be stuck in a cubical half their lives! So let me tell you what full-time jobs are all about!
Productivity vs. Creativity
How long does the average person work every day has little to do with how efficient or productive the work is. There is an energy level that actually varies from one person to another. Some people can be productive in the morning while others do wonders just at night. Office space may also affect some people negatively; it can be torture for them trying to focus, which will lead to less productivity. Scientifically, focusing only on work for four or five hours straight, limits your chance to make new, insightful neural connections; which will be bummer when you need to be creative. In fact we’re capable of focusing on any given task for only 90 to 120 minutes; after that we need a 20-30 minute break, so we can recharge for the next task.
I think work is a very static thing; one day we might need to work tooth and nails, other days can be slow and boring. Systems that are strict don’t fit human beings; but who cares, as long as you cover your 40 hours a week!!
When commute takes 2-3 hours for a regular shift that is no less than 8-9 hours, that’s half of your day! You still need 6-8 hours of sleep, and now you wasted 19 out of 24 hours. The 5 hours left are where you should eat, exercise, do house chores, spend time with your family, etc. They can’t even begin to cover all these tasks. You end up feeling exhausted and drained! Actually having a life; traveling, learning something new, seeing friends, visiting family and sometimes visiting the doctor can be a luxury for full-timers.
My problem is and always will be that I refuse to be tied down to that hectic lifestyle. I don’t get the necessity. For me, it kills my passion. It always makes me anxious, very protective of my time; especially that I have so many interests and so many things to do. I realized that I could be more productive working 12 hours straight from the comfort of my couch than to work in an office.
The Egyptian Version
Full time jobs suck everywhere, but in Egypt it’s 10 times worse. There is no respect for laws in general, no guidelines, no place to go when you’re mistreated. In Egypt, we’re considered cheap employment, aka modern slavery; employers take us for granted and never care about our rights or needs.
More Work Is Your Promotion
Here is the logic of employers: to them, employees are lazy and unwilling to do their jobs until they prove otherwise! Then they praise you by giving you more tasks while compensating you with the same salary and the same title. To employers you’re a prey to feed on! It’s very common to be asked to fill 6 people’s jobs and expected to feel ok about it.; slyness in disguise in the name of “business needs”.
Employers vs. Employees
Employers in Egypt forget one simple fact, that they need employees just as employees need them. A person who’s offering you a service has a preference, a choice, needs and rights. At the end of the day the right human resources add value to any business. They might remarkably upgrade it if given the chance! However, against all common sense, the mindset of slavery is becoming so common in Egypt, even in the biggest companies.
Personal Life is Dismissed
In Egypt they don’t respect your personal life. You’re not allowed to be bumped over the unbearable traffic; they assume you just overslept on purpose and they cut your daily wage in half when you’re late for no longer than 30 minutes. But when you stay after your shift; it’s not a big deal, your personal life can wait for few minutes, you know!
It’s Mostly About Luck!
Not everyone is lucky, but yes, a huge part of having a good career in Egypt is luck. You just happen to know the right people, to choose the right path in the right time. Your hard work is important but it’s not the main route to success.
People used to tell me that I am spoiled, that they worked for all their lives and never complained, that I should wait and give the full-time job a chance, that it will grow on me eventually. But it never did! The longest I stayed, the more I resented the system; for all the ugliness it holds. I realized I don’t function well in the 9-5 lifestyle. I wanna do more than just collect money and waste my life. I wanna leave an impact; a mark. I wanna change lives. And honestly, this lifestyle is too tight for me.
So to sum it up, if you guys wanna achieve greatness, stop asking for permission. Break the rules and don’t just follow the crowd. Yes it’s true that majority of employers slave their employees but there are some, maybe a few, with modern thinking of hiring freelancers, accepting flexible working hours, and working from home. As long you’re the kind of person who gets the job done, go hunting for them. Your career is your business; it’s time for you to manage it as a CEO!!!