Where is our 3-Day weekend?

Where is our 3-Day weekend?

Crawling Doll, Mike Gagnon, 2020, Digital Mixed media. Copyright M. Gagnon 2024.

Crawling Doll, Mike Gagnon, 2020, Digital Mixed media. Copyright M. Gagnon 2024. 

 

Ah, the elusive 3-day weekend, a shimmering mirage in the desert of our modern workweek. For decades, prophets of technology and progress sang paeans about the utopia that awaited us, where machines would take up our burdens, and leisure would be our new normal. So, where is this promised land of endless leisure and the coveted 3-day weekend?

Let's start with a stroll down memory lane, back to a time when futurists and technologists promised that the advancements in automation and technology would free us from the shackles of long working hours. The narrative was compelling: robots would do the heavy lifting, computers would handle the tedious calculations, and we, the lucky humans, would be left with ample time to indulge in our passions, hobbies, and perhaps even a siesta or two.

Fast forward to today, and it's hard not to feel a tad betrayed. Instead of basking in the glow of a perpetual long weekend, most of us are caught in the whirlwind of emails, Zoom calls, and an ever-blurring line between work and home life. The question looms large: where did we go wrong, or more accurately, where did our 3-day weekend go?

The irony is as rich as a triple chocolate cake. Technology did indeed revolutionize our lives, boosting productivity to previously unimaginable heights. But instead of using this surplus of efficiency to buy us time, we've somehow ended up with even more work. It's as if we're on a treadmill powered by Moore's Law, running faster but staying in the same spot, workwise.

Part of the blame, or perhaps the jest, lies in our insatiable appetite for growth and consumption. As productivity soared, so did our expectations and our economies' demands for constant growth. The potential time saved by technological advancements was quickly filled with new tasks, more ambitious projects, and the incessant pursuit of innovation. The result? Our workweek didn't shrink; it morphed and expanded, invading weekends and personal time with the stealth of a cat burglar.

Moreover, the digital transformation that promised liberation has also fashioned new chains. The Internet, smartphones, and cloud computing mean work can follow us everywhere, like a needy pet that refuses to be left at home. The 9-to-5 boundary has been eroded, not by the waves of leisure, but by the tsunami of constant connectivity. Our bosses, clients, and even our own work ethic, now have access to us 24/7, turning the dream of a 3-day weekend into a cruel joke.

Let's not overlook the economic and social structures that have a say in this narrative. The idea of reducing work hours while maintaining, or even increasing, pay seems sensible in a utopian economy. However, in our current system, where value is often measured by hours logged and productivity, the transition to a shorter workweek faces formidable barriers. It's a classic case of, "It's complicated," mixed with a generous dollop of, "But the economy!"

Yet, all hope is not lost. Pockets of resistance and experimentation are popping up across the globe. Some companies, enlightened by the burnout and mental health crisis, are flirting with the idea of a 4-day workweek, finding that, surprise surprise, happier workers are more productive. Countries like Iceland, New Zealand, and even parts of Spain have dipped their toes in these waters, testing shorter workweeks with promising results. It seems the 3-day weekend isn't entirely off the table; it's just stuck in committee.

In conclusion, the 3-day weekend, much like the flying car and the hoverboard, remains tantalizingly out of reach, a victim of our own success, ambition, and perhaps a pinch of societal and economic inertia. As we navigate the complexities of the modern work environment, it's clear that achieving this dream requires more than just technological advancements; it demands a paradigm shift in how we view work, value, and, fundamentally, life itself.

So, here we are, standing at the crossroads, between the promise of technological salvation and the reality of our insatiable demands. The 3-day weekend is out there, somewhere, waiting for us to catch up. Until then, keep your out-of-office replies at the ready, and remember, every weekend can be a 3-day weekend if you're brave enough to call in sick on a Monday.

Thanks for reading,

Mike

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