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Future of Work: The Traditional 9–5 Workday Is Over

  • 6 min read

Although we have it much better than in the 1800s, 1 in 5 employees plan to quit their job in 2022.

She’s a little spinner. Spinning 2 summers. Her shift starts at 6 am and ends at 7 pm. She has 1 1/2 hours off at noon. 12-hour days were standard.

He’s a youngster picking 50 to 80 pounds of cotton per day. His knees hurt. He’s doing this for the family to barely make ends meet.

Another small boy is “employed” at a mill that is full of small girls and boys.

In the 1800s, this was the status quo.

It was common that children as young as 5 were working in mines, mills and factories.

t was common that children as young as 5 were working in mines, mills and factories.
WikiCommons, Child laborer by Lewis Hine

The labor movement and America’s first unions were a response.

As a concession to these events, at the height of the industrial revolution in 1894, Labor Day was established as a federal holiday by President Grover Cleveland.

Workers then were fighting for decent pay, fairer working standards, rights, more equitable labor laws and workplaces, and the end of human exploitation.

This little time travel shows how good we have it

Fast forward to today, in general, we…

  • don’t have to work weekends
  • have a 40-hour work week
  • have sick days and paid time off

We can thank all those who have gone before us for what we have today.

The standards and rights Americans have today were hard won.

However, the workers who have gone before us have somehow paved the way for the new battle many workers fight today…

Millions of people are quitting their jobs in search of greener pastures

Millions of people are quitting their jobs in search of greener pastures

Today, we live at a time when many big companies are scaling back their spending.

At the same time, we live at a time when millions of people are quitting their jobs. This is called ‘The Great Resignation’.

The Great Resignation is a term coined in May 2021. It describes the record number of people leaving their jobs since the beginning of the pandemic.

Although a lot of people said that The Great Resignation was just a temporary thing and a response to 2 tough pandemic years, the latest findings from May 2022 tell otherwise.

The Survey

The latest report called Global Workforce Hopes and Fears Survey 2022 from PwC shows that there’s a continuing trend of millions of people quitting their jobs.

PwC surveyed 52,000 workers in 44 countries.

The key findings:

  • 1 in 5 employees were planning to quit in 2022.
  • 71% of the employees cited ‘pay’ as their reason for wanting to leave and the main motivator for making a job change to make things probably better

Young professionals are ‘quiet quitting’ their jobs

Young professionals are ‘quiet quitting’ their jobs

You might have already heard of the buzzword “quiet quitting”.

It’s a new workplace trend taking over TikTok.

Plus, it’s been covered in all top-tier media outlets and on any social media platform.

I first heard about it on Good Morning America.

Let’s hear it from Clayton Farris, freelance writer:

“Quiet quitting means that when somebody asks you to do something that’s not in your contract, you don’t do it (…) not doing the job of two to three people — you know, stuff like that?”

When I first about this rising trend I thought to myself:

Well, that sounds like just doing what your job description says and no more and doing what you‘re getting paid for.

Especially as a young professional, it’s not easy to only do your job and not more.

When I started my career in an international agency at 24 years old, I used to work more than 60 hours per week.

Back then, my supervisor used to say:

“That’s just the way it goes!”

and the person who wanted me to work off the clock almost every single day added:

“If you want a promotion (and a pay rise), you need to work hard.”

There was a note on the wall saying:

Diamonds are formed under pressure!

Back then, the younger me did not get paid for working overtime almost every single day.

Today, the more senior me would say it’s obviously wage theft.

I was a victim of wage theft.

Wage theft is the largest theft in America

Did you know that the most common form of theft is wage theft?

Wage theft is when your employer doesn’t give you, as the worker, what they owe you.

In the United States, it’s a significant issue.

Wage theft is taking billions of dollars out of families’ pockets each year.

Some estimate it around $15 billion per year.

Final Takeaways

Labor Day definitely reminds us of how good we already have it.

However, when you hear about “The Great Resignation”, the term “quiet quitting” and “wage theft”, you might also get the feeling that workers are still somehow fighting for things to *get better*.

Especially, after an extended period of working from home with no commute, many people I’ve talked to have decided that their work-life balance has become more important to them.

Families, for instance, have better support with parents being home more.

I don’t think this movement will die down in the future.

It will pick up speed.

In my opinion, the traditional 9–5 workday is over.

What do you think about the future of work?

© Kristina God

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