Look, I am a very proud patriotic American. Really. But as cool of a country as I think we are, I think we’re seriously lacking in the area of what continues to be inaccessible “work-life” balance. Corporate America has become the Ursula of our lives. We’re Ariel, and while we have legs and can walk around and chill in the prince’s castle, we’re a shell of a person with no voice and someone else is still telling us what we can and can’t do. But the silver lining is that there is some astrological stuff that promises change. King Triton is going to put that creepy octopus bitch in her place and we’ll get it all: our voice and our legs and the hot prince.
“Work-life balance” is this elusive phrase that HR types in grey suits like to use in a very self-congratulating way. Meanwhile most of the time the people who work for those companies would say, “What work-life balance?” But they’d probably barely have time to utter those words before they’re flying out the door of their office at 5:00 on the nose, when they’re finally allowed to leave, to try to make their child’s soccer game..
The idea of the 8-hour workday came about after the Industrial Revolution. America was in peak productivity, but someone needed to step in and say that the child labor and 12+ hour days sucked. While it wasn’t his idea, Henry Ford popularized the idea of 8 hours of work 5 days a week. And it’s stuck ever since. It has nothing to do with any scientific basis for productivity or anything like that.
Let’s look at where our culture is now. It’s the accepted norm to complain about Mondays, whine about how much you hate your office, and grind your teeth in anticipation of Friday so you can get two blessed days of freedom.
Furthermore, what goes on in these offices for the 8 hours that people are in there? They’re sitting at a desk, staring at a computer screen, sending passive aggressive emails to business associates with something like “Per my last email…”
That’s right, folks. I haven’t worked in an office in over two years but one never forgets.
In my humble (lol, but not really) opinion, there are three main problems with this arrangement.
One. Sitting down with your eyeballs being fried by a screen for 8 hours is unbelievably bad for your health. Human bodies were not meant to sit still like that. At the office I worked for, some folks had those standing desks so that they could have some relief from their legs and hips during the day. The kicker was you had to get a doctor’s note. Because apparently being a human being with a human body is considered a medical condition in corporate America.
Two. Arbitrarily assigning the number 8 to the count of hours required to be productive is stupid and meaningless. If you have 8 hours to complete a task that you could get done in 2, but you know you can’t go home until the clock strikes 5, why would you hustle to get it done? Further, why would you exert effort to do a great job when all you’re doing is waiting for the time to pass? Why are companies keeping people locked in office buildings for 40 hours a week when those people could manage their own time like responsible adults and have more time for things that fulfill them? When did management become our parents? Why are bosses hiring people in the first place if they didn’t trust them to get the work done? I have so many questions here.
Three. Thanks to technology, it is entirely possible to telecommute to work. Stay at home, take care of your children, throw a load of laundry in, and get work done at the same time. Why on earth would you waste time and gas and a nice outfit to drive your ass to a freezing cold office and back when you could just stay home and get it done? Someone still in the cult of corporate office would argue, “Well, Molly, how are you going to attend any meetings from home?” First of all, 99% of meetings that take place in offices are a 100% waste of people’s time. There are things called emails and shared documents that you can use to update people with information. Second of all, see previous point.
As many grievances as I have with my fellow Millennials, I will say this. We are much less willing to put up with this kind of bullshit than the older generations. We have real attitude problems towards the status quo, and will sit down and cry and pound our fists until we don’t have to do it anymore. The more I hear about trendy startups being ran by 35-year-olds in San Francisco and Seattle with more flexible schedules for their employees and a seeming re-commitment to people’s humanity, the more I think this 9-5 nonsense is on its way out. It’s deeply rooted in our culture, but then again so were public hangings, and today no normal person would be like, “Yeah, you bring the beer, I'll bring the grill. Let’s go watch Joe Smitty hang by his neck in a tree today.” Slowly but surely cultures evolve.
So where does astrology come into all this? What, you think I was just going to bitch and complain for this article without making it applicable? I’m not thatmuch of a Millennial, people.
Well, we can start by looking at the astrology to track this evolution. When the Industrial Revolution started in the 1760s, Pluto had just entered Capricorn. Pluto is a very serious planet who says, “No, this is not working for me,” obliterates it, and rebuilds it. Capricorn is the sign of everything traditional, career stuff, and productivity. If you think of archetypal Capricorn energy, you think of a really traditional career person hungrily scaling the corporate ladder. 250 years ago, Pluto kicked the door open to Capricorn and said “All right, I’m in charge now,” and the Industrial Revolution began, changing the way everything got done in our world.
Shortly after that, Uranus entered Taurus. Uranus, like Pluto, doesn’t have time for outdated nonsense that doesn’t work. While Pluto has more of the death and transformation energy, Uranus is radical changes and technological advancements. So he set up his mad scientist lab in Taurus, the planet that rules, among other things, money and hard work, and started mixing up chemicals and plugging things in. And as a bolt of lighting came down and electrified his whole setup in a very Frankenstein Hollywood sense, we began creating all kinds of new machines and automated stuff to make things.
Let’s look at today’s world. In January 2008, Pluto entered Capricorn. Then he retrograded back into Sagittarius in June but came back to Capricorn for his long-term transit in November. So 10 years ago, Pluto came around again and said, “I’m back, people. What have you f*cked up this time? Let me fix this.” Given that the entire financial industry was on fire around this time, the answer to the question is A LOT. We’ve f*cked up A LOT this time, and the death and transformation process of Pluto has encompassed a lot more than the 9-5 work schedule.
But for the last 10 years, as the younger generation has been aging up and coming into positions of control in the work force, we’ve seen some changes in how work gets done, and as this article proves, a lot more complaining about what’s wrong with how work gets done. Pluto will finish his sweep through Capricorn for good in 2024 so that gives us several more years to get our act together here.
But get this. Uranus entered Taurus again in the middle of this year. Because of his retrograde cycle, he’s going to pop back into Aries from November through February 2019, but will be back in it for the long haul at the beginning of March next year.
So we have two long-term transits going on here that were also happening during the Industrial Revolution, so my hope and prediction is that we wake up to our current technological and cultural landscape and completely change the way we do business. We need to become efficient and proficient and start treating people like humans again. I don’t think that anyone needs to be giving themselves lifelong back pain by sitting in a sardine can of a cubicle for 8 hours a day anymore. I don’t think that anyone needs to be going to an office unless it’s absolutely necessary anymore. I don’t think that the time on the clock needs to define anybody’s productivity anymore. And I don’t think that anyone should be required to sit in an office to send emails. You can totally be in your house to send those bratty “just following up” emails.