Monday, July 04, 2005

National Holiday

The summer job where I am working does not guarantee that I had holidays off. In fact, my job doesn't even offer overtime pay for hours worked on a holiday. While my boss understands that people want, for instance, the 4th of July off work, she can only offer so many requests, and expects at least some of the office staff to work. I have no complaints about the situation, it is the perrogative of the business that I work for to offer time off or not; as a private industry, they can act as they please.

Some of my co-workers, though, are not quite as content. In the words of one co-worker, "it is a matter of respect. Companies should respect their employees enough to give them a holiday off." She also went on the praise the lax working habits of European countries.

I, of course, called her on the variety of illogicalities she was spouting, maintaining at least some semblance of restraint given the work environment. First of all, she had no plausible solution to the problem she was raising, as she agreed that the government should not mandate non-work days. Really, she decided, the problem was more related to America's insistence on holding work as the central purpose of our lives, as opposed to the more enjoyable things, like friends, family, or adventure.

Perhaps it is simply the Ayn Rand talking in me, but I cannot see how work could be anything besides the central object in one's life, as work IS one's life. It is the work that we do, it is our productive and creative labor, that is the means by which we sustain our own lives, and thus must be the central object of it. The equation is simple: work -> cash -> food, shelter, and other essentials -> life sustenance. Without work, there is no life.

Why not forget about one extra day? Because it is tantamount to forgetting about one day of life. Why work so many hours a week? Because life is that important to us. Our work doesn't define us, it creates us. No national holiday is as important as all that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most people consider employment as a means, not an end. While the act of employment might be a big part of our lives, as we spend much of our time engaged in it, I think that employment is usually regarded as a source of disutility, which is why we require income to compensate us for our efforts.

7:28 PM  

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