Tag: productivity (page 1 of 45)

The 9-5 shift is a relatively recent invention

As a Xennial, I have all of the guilt for not working hard enough — along with a desire to live a life more fulfilling and holistic than my parents. Generations below, including Gen Z and then of course my kids, think that working all of the hours is a bit crazy.

This article is about a viral TikTok video of a Gen Z ‘girl’ (although surely ‘young woman’?) crying because the 9-5 grind is “crazy… How do you have friends? How do you have time for dating? I don’t have time for anything, I’m so stressed out.”

It’s easy, as with so many things, for older generations to inflict on generations coming after them the crap that they themselves have had to deal with. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As the article says, the 9-5 job is a relatively recent invention and I, for one, don’t follow that convention.

Someone sitting back in a chair with a BBQ in the middle of a cubicle office

When the video – which has been viewed nearly 50 million times across TikTok and Twitter – first started to spread, the comments weren’t sympathetic. She was trashed by neoliberal hustle and grind stans – most of whom seemed old enough to be her parents. “Gen Z girl finds out what a real job is like,” one X (formerly Twitter) user sneered. “Grown-ups don’t prioritise friends, or dating. Grown-ups prioritise being able to provide,” another commenter wrote, neglecting the fact that if you’re young, single, and have no friends, there isn’t really anyone to “provide” for.

But then the tide began to turn. People started to point out that “Gen Z girl” was right, actually. Work sucks! No one has any time for anything! Within days, she had become the figurehead for an increasingly common sentiment: We don’t want our lives to revolve around work anymore.


It doesn’t feel like an exaggeration to say young people have been gaslit by older generations when it comes to work. As wages stagnate and costs rise, the generation that got free university education and cheap housing have somehow convinced young people that if we’re sad and stressed then it’s simply a problem with our work ethic. We’re too sensitive, entitled, or demanding to hold down a “real job”, the story goes, when really most of us just want a decent night’s sleep and less debt.


It’s always worth reminding ourselves that the 9-5 shift is itself a relatively recent invention, not some sort of eternal truth, and hopefully soon we’ll see it as a relic from a bygone age. “It was set up to support our patriarchal society – men went to work and women stayed at home to cook and look after the family,” says Emma Last, founder of the workplace wellbeing programme Progressive Minds. “Things have obviously changed a lot since then, and we’re trying to find the balance between cooking meals, looking after ourselves, spending time with family and friends, and having relationships. Isn’t it a good thing that Gen Z are questioning it all?”

Source: Nobody Wants Their Job to Rule Their Lives Anymore | VICE

The inner world as the ultimate prison

I wanted to quote so much of this article that it would have ended up being a Borges-like 1:1 map of the territory. Instead, I’ll simply share the part of Swarnali Mukherjee’s writing which resonated most with me.

Do go and read the whole thing.

(I discovered this via Substack Notes, in which I have no financial interest, but simply finding to be a chill and serendipitious alternative to other social media)

The problem is simple: most of us have normalized and even glorified the hustle for success. The issue lies not in the hustle itself but in the often overlooked aspect of burning out. When success is defined in terms of societal parameters such as wealth, fame, and the emphasis on building an identity, life’s entire focus becomes sustaining and amplifying this ego at the cost of our well-being, both psychologically and physically. We reinvent spaces in our intellectual worlds to serve this gigantic ego that we have conjured over the years but seldom find true happiness there. Our inner world becomes our ultimate prison, from whose window our persistent illusion of success resembles fireworks, promising that we can achieve them as long as we stay in the prison. This is a subtle deception of our social constructs; we humans have meticulously constructed these labyrinths of illusions to shield ourselves from the truth that even if we are in service to our desires, they are influenced by external factors. In that manner, doing something because the world expects it, that you won’t be doing otherwise is also a form of imprisonment.

Source: The Art of Disappearing | Berkana

Doing your job well does not entail attending more meetings

There’s a lot of swearing in this blog post, but then that’s what makes it both amusing and bang on the money. As ever, there’s a difference between ‘agile’ as in “working with agility” and ‘Agile’ which seems to mean a series of expensive workshops and a semi-dysfunctional organisation.

Just as I captured Jay’s observation that a reward is not more email, so doing your job well does not entail attending more meetings.

Which absolute fucking maniac in this room decided that the most sensible thing to do in a culture where everyone has way too many meetings was schedule recurring meetings every day? Don’t look away. Do you have no idea how terrible the average person is at running a meeting? Do you? How hard is it to just let people know what they should do and then let them do it. Do you really think that, if you hired someone incompetent enough that this isn’t an option, that they will ever be able to handle something as complicated as software engineering?


No one else finds this meeting useful. Let me repeat that again. No one else finds this meeting useful. We’re either going to do the work or we aren’t going to do the work, and in either case, I am going to pile-drive you from the top rope if you keep scheduling these.


If your backlog is getting bigger, then work is going into it faster than it is going out. Why is that happening? Fuck if I know, but it is probably totally unrelated to not doing Agile well enough.


High Output Management was the most highly-recommended management book I could find that wasn’t an outright textbook. Do you know what it says at the beginning? Probably not, because the kind of person that I am forced to choke out over their love of Agile typically can’t read anything that isn’t on LinkedIn. It says work must go out faster than it goes in, and all of these meetings obviously don’t do either of those things.


The three best managers I’ve ever worked for, with the most productive teams (at large organizations, so don’t even start on the excuses about scale) just let the team work and were there if I needed advice or a discussion, and they afforded me the quiet dignity of not hiring clowns to work alongside me.

Source: I Will Fucking Haymaker You If You Mention Agile Again | Ludicity

Image: Unsplash