Sometimes we forget that the world of work has been created by a very small percentage of predominantly privileged white men.
When we read the stories of how they succeeded and internalise how their drive, morning routines, long hours and consistency got them to where they are, we forget all of the things they didn’t have to battle to show up every day.
I can’t speak for everyone else but personally, every day I battle my hormonal state that naturally fluctuates every month, my 4-month-old baby who dictates how much sleep I get, the kitchen floors and countertops after my whirlwind 2.5-year-olds rampage the day before, feeding and bonding with my baby before I leave him for the day all before I get to the computer at 9am. On good days, I get to do some exercise, do my Spanish course and meditate a little but only when all the previously mentioned elements align.
I had a client who only recently realised that she only has 4 hours a day, 4 days a week to work and was extremely hard on herself about it.
Who said 8 hours a day, 5 days a week was the standard – our founding work fathers said that, after a long battle between trying to get as much productivity as possible out of people for as little pay as possible. A world of rights activists had to fight long and hard to reduce hours to that timeframe and only in some privileged countries.
My client’s world is different yet the guilt is all-consuming. The guru’s say work harder, hustle more, break us off another piece of yourself and don’t forget to document it on social media so we can all judge you.
Yes, we want to succeed but what if it is the space that is wrong, not us. What if 4 hours is more than enough – we have the technology and ability to make an excellent living today.
We need to shake off the shackles of what work is ‘supposed’ to look like.
Make work ‘work’ for you.