It’s Labor Day when the men and women of America are supposed to take a break from their working lives. But here I am, in the YOMYOMF world headquarters office in the heart of South Pasadena, doing what I usually so whether it’s a weekday, weekend or late at night—catching up on work. And I know I’m not alone in this—millions of Americans are at this very moment, on this legal holiday of rest, working away.
Which brings me to the question of the day—where is the “society of leisure” that we were promised?
Back in the 1970s as technology started to evolve into the modern marvel that it is today, there were confident predictions from people smarter than you or me that a “society of leisure” would soon be upon us. The idea being that technology would liberate us from work, leaving us with a lot more time to…not work. But in many ways, the opposite has happened.
Today, we may have cell phones and ipads and the internet and email and other technological advances that were unthinkable 40 years ago, but what folks back in the 1970s failed to see was how these advances would actually bind us even more tightly to our work lives than ever before.
Back then, you were able to leave the office, go home and truly enjoy your leisure time as your own. Today, you may leave the office, but as long as you have that cell phone or that ipad or that laptop on you (and who of us doesn’t?), are you ever able to truly leave work behind? Even when we’re at home on the weekend, sprawled out in front of the TV, how many of us are still checking those work emails on our iphones? In many ways, there’s less of a separation between our work space/work hours and our private space/leisure hours because now work can literally go with us no matter where we are. Technology has made it almost necessary for us to constantly be in work mode.
Don’t get me wrong—I have nothing against modern technology. The fact that the average smart phone today has more memory in it than all of the computers at NASA combined in 1969 when we put the first man on the moon still blows my mind. And I think that’s a good thing.
And furthermore, I love my work. I absolutely and unequivocally love it. I get to collaborate with amazingly creative people—many of whom happen to be friends on interesting projects in all different genres. And I get paid for it! What could be better?
But with that said, on this Labor Day, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt us to take a moment to reflect on what this holiday truly means. At the end of the day, as great as technology is, as much as you may love your work, those are just one part of our lives. There are other parts that are just as amazing and wonderful and necessary. This is just a simple Labor Day reminder not to neglect those other things.