I have hope that a different kind of worker revolution will take shape someday. This time, with basic work environment conditions no longer an issue in the USA, the revolution will revolve around quality of life issues. This time, skilled middle-career professionals will lead the charge instead of the manual laborers that led revolutions of the past.
The faceless, cold-hearted, multi-national corporations that exist in today’s economy do not care about the quality of life and long-term health of their employees. To be fair, the majority of these skilled workers don’t truly care about the long-term profitability of their faceless corporate motherships either, so at least there exists somewhat of an equitable relationship–neither party gives a shit about the other.
A corporation’s only goal is to most efficiently produce profits for its equally faceless public shareholders. Why would an organization hire three employees to do 24 hours worth of work, when two employees will do the work without complaint because, after all, those two employees need a job and they are told by the media on a constant basis nowadays that they should be thankful to even have a job. In the process, however, they sacrifice whatever marginal work/life balance was afforded to them, and they’ve set the expectation of their service so high that they will only be asked to do even more; never less.
These employees (many of whom are in their late-twenties or early-thirties) had been promised by the generation before them for far too long that education will lead to promising careers and, ultimately, fulfillment in life. Unfortunately, these promises have created a dearth of skilled college-educated workers who are no longer properly valued because there is an oversupply of such talent. The positive risk/reward trade-off associated with 4-6+ years of college education barely exists anymore. College costs keep going up while wages have stagnated and, worse, the number of job opportunities have also stagnated relative to the number of new entrants to the workforce.
I have hope, however, that this class of skilled employee will try to take back the work/life balance afforded to generations past. They should not tolerate having to sacrifice the things that make life worth living because some corporation that employs them doesn’t find it profitable to recognize that a healthy, work/life balanced workforce is an ideal worth supporting.
I, for one, will no longer tolerate sacrificing my quality of life for the goals of some faceless corporation. I am eager to see how the small pillar I have built within my employer’s organization will crumble when I’m no longer there to lend it support. The organization as a whole will surely survive, but if enough of those that provide support to their small pillars withdraw, then maybe the organizations will eventually begin to crumble, and, when they do, only then can we expect change to take place.