There is a lot of corporate loathing out there right now, for several reasons. Corporations are too involved in politics, can be very detrimental to the environment and rake in huge profits while laying off or outsourcing employees (or denying them benefits, a livable wage, vacation time, etc.) They perpetuate selfish greed and the ‘more more more’ mantra of American life. They gobble up rainforests to produce throwaway barbie doll packaging. They buy the system, getting legislators to reduce laws intended to protect the environment, and, in direct correlation, our health and well-being (and that of our co-inhabitants, plants and animals species).
Well I could go on. But this post is talking about what it’s like to actually work at one of these corporations day in and day out, and if that experience is also in need of reform. The 5 day, inflexible, 40-hour workweek was arbitrarily created in the early 20th century. Why is it a hard and fast rule? Why do Americans get so little vacation time in comparison to European countries (6 weeks, paid) and why do so little of them take the 2 weeks or less that they have?
Our culture teaches us to be a slave to the man. And I have to say, it can feel very demeaning to be a corporate lackey. You are a SUBORDINATE. You must, to some extent or another, suck it up, kiss ass, refrain from voicing your opinion, blindly obey ridiculous and often inefficient protocols, renounce your freedom, beg for time off, and always be obsequious to your ‘superiors.’
There are — very few — companies who dare to think more progressively. They have flexible work schedules, no hierarchy, open brainstorming sessions, respect and equality, an environment conducive to innovation, expression and creativity and unlimited time off (which, for the record, actually leads to extremely low turnover, high levels of productivity and really sharp work).
Most people are just happy to have a job. And admittedly, the average desk job isn’t all so bad. Especially in comparison to the sweatshop factories, the hard labor, the conditions in many other countries. But to me, a self-sufficient lifestyle is vastly preferable, simply because you are allowed independence and self-respect. I have to say that it can be a very frustrating and demeaning experience to work for a company unless, of course, you are the boss.