The 9-to-5 is on its way out, if any of a number of articles are to be believed. And that’s not exactly a bad thing. It doesn’t work well for some individuals and makes little sense for many professions.With more job setups out there, freelancers and remote workers can see gains in schedule flexibiliy.
However, there will be some among us who freak out about this. But don’t worry, losing the 9-to-5 will be fine. After all, we’ve (largely) lost these:
Yes, there are still a few straggling dictators left in the world. But for a while, absolute monarchs were what came with the status quo. It’s not hard to imagine how terrible that was, either— while your ruler was decked out in a sweet palace or castle, you were destined to live in a ramshackle home to eat boiled cabbage and tubers for the rest of your life. While authoritarian governments are pretty efficient, there’s always the extremely high risk that the person holding power is either incompetent or addicted to it… or worse, both. It’s like having a traditional boss or being stuck an office bureaucracy where hiring and firing are done on a whim, or where management has no idea what they’re doing. Embracing the freelance life is like your own personal revolution. You answer directly to your clients and represent yourself as your own boss.
Old Medical Theories
Two especially come to mind here: the four humors and miasma theory. Here’s a quick breakdown for those who aren’t familiar. The four humors formed the basis of an ancient Greek school of medicine, where physicians believed that health was determined by the perfect balance of four bodily fluid— yellow bile, black bile, blood, and phlegm. When you were sick, it was because one of those humors was “off”, and balance had to be restored. It sounds comically simple now, but people believed this for centuries… or rather, millennia. Ever hear of bloodletting? That’s the restoration of balance at work.
On the other hand, Miasma theory was the idea that illness spread literally because of “bad air”. When there was an outbreak of plague or infection, many people in urban areas just thought their air was no good for breathing. It wasn’t until the 19th century that doctors and scientists began to realize the real culprits behind sickness.
We laughed at these theories today, but it’s what worked for people at the time. But we never gave up in looking for better explanations. The 9 to 5 may have had its day in the sun during the mid-20th century, but it is becoming irresponsible to expect that model to work for every kind of profession.
A list with the word “extinct” in the title? How could you not expect to find dinosaurs here? But bear with me. Dinos romped around the planet for a brief-yet-prosperous 165 million years. Their domination was only aided by (at least for some) their immense size. If you truly didn’t know any better, you’d be shocked to find out that dinosaurs and other megafauna were wiped out in a mass extinction way back when. But you know what survived the extinction? Little guys like insects and small mammals. Next time someone says a bigger company is better just because of its size and longevity, just hand them a book about the K-T extinction event.
Terrible Legal Employment Practices
We’ve come a long way with this question. For centuries, people of certain ethnic backgrounds couldn’t hold certain jobs. It took a devastating world war for society to finally let women into factories. And for a disturbingly long time, it was totally cool to toss a little kid into the coal mines. Again, the idea of who can work— and where— is thankfully always moving forward. We’ve messed up a lot in the past on, failing to show basic decency to all people. And then we’ve hoisted up these very uniform ideas of success and what your work day should look like, which just don’t work for all workers in all professions. Just as the professional landscape was radically different in 1960, don’t expect it to be the same in 2060, either.
The Video Store
Let’s be real. The video rental store meets all the criteria of a social institution. They provide a good or service that everyone wants (movies) and bring everyone together in one place at one time (Friday or Saturday night). It even exacts tribute from you (exorbitant late fees). There was a time where we couldn’t begin to imagine life without a Blockbuster or Hollywood video. How much differently could you run a video rental store or service? Well, we all look pretty stupid now. First mail in DVD rentals, then streaming on-demand video… it’s so simple, it’s perfect. Remember, there’s always a better way to do something, including work. Be your own boss, and make the most of your freelance opportunities.