One day I stumbled across a piece of writing from D. It was emotional, revealing. He had met someone, yet could not pursue the relationship. He felt comfortable around her. He wanted to move on, lamented the year of sloth that had passed since we last talked. He knew that I made him uncomfortable. He wanted to do something other than play Dungeons&Dragons at the office in Southern Manhattan’s financial district. He wanted to work one day for more than 4-5 hours while sitting in front of the computer until after midnight. Self-employment had increased his skill level at Magic the Gathering perhaps, yet not at law. Those Swiss people that employed him were still good clients though.
Here is my plan for increased productivity at my father’s old workplace, the Pentagon: webcams. Most government employees should receive home workstations with webcams then stay home to complete tasks, attending weekly or bi-weekly staff meetings at the Pentagon. During the day, they should log-out of their terminal at their home desk for bathroom breaks, water breaks, coffee breaks, conversation breaks, snack breaks, smoking breaks, gum-chewing breaks, lunch breaks, as well as nursing breaks to pump their breasts—-oops! They won’t need those for home work, as they won’t have to pay for daycare, can nurse normally. That means that gender equality will happen more quickly at the workplace, which is now home, with hopefully an actual eight-hour workday without conversation—in person at least—about “how to cheat on your wife”…
There will be less pollution from gas, as well as less transportation expense, take-out lunch expense, work-clothing expense also. People would then be able to save the long commute for one day a week, one day every two weeks, or once a month. They could live far from Washington D.C.
Diverse looks could become more acceptable as workers could style themselves from the waist up for webcams. All we require seems to be software to register an alert when the person’s head leaves the view of the webcam, then software to sync up these lapses with their duration on the worker’s log-in/log-out records. A much more professional system seems to be on the horizon.
I thought a lot about the ethics of the current method of long work days with short hours in the context of a film heist portrayed by the actors Sean Connery as well as Catherine Zeta Jones. Catherine Zeta Jones’ character devises a plan to steal one penny or so from the bank accounts of millions upon millions of people during a massive party in Asia. She succeeds, yet wants love from Sean Connery still.
Dave once told me that he would NEVER have a home office. He needed the community of males apparently. He didn’t like a woman—me at the time—looking at him during work hours. As we know, secretaries are often in a different room than their bosses. At least not being hourly the theft in productivity is not so easy to calculate, or notice, yet nobody seems to be directly benefitting from this. Perhaps all the workers who embrace this type of indolence have become like Catherine Zeta Jones, broke, just looking for their Sean Connery office buddies.
We are not suggesting that people receive an hourly wage, like most people who work long hours faithfully do. We know that people are on salary, yet when other people schedule a project, they anticipate the number of work hours accordingly. To plan the number of project participants, one may need an accurate sense of time-to-complete a daily task given an eight-hour work day. While I was working part-time at a children’s clothing boutique featured in Vogue magazine, I realize that Dave was working part-time too, yet pretending to be working long hours, on a tough schedule. I could not easily do half-time at my job though, since I was not in a private room, yet dealing with the public as I do in my writing.