In Singapore, I know many people who are being worked to death. The government has been recently talking about increasing productivity – like employees aren’t working hard enough already? Working long hours has become the norm and is expected by bosses. These days most people spend 70% of their life at the office. It’s only at the end of your life or when you’re struck by an illness, that you wonder why you spent all that time with the people whom you don’t quite like, rather than your loved ones.
HR may tout work life balance, but it is rarely practiced. That is why I think Edgar Cahn’s ‘Slow Movement’ is brilliant. He’s a 73-year-old attorney who experienced first hand how a frantic pace of work almost lead to his death. In the 80’s he suffered a massive heart attack and since then he has been revaluating what life is all about. He is fighting to preserve the rarest commodity of them all. Not oil, not the environment (those are important too)… but time. He proposes mindful living so that we can restore the balance. It’s not about simply doing things slow, but rather about savouring the hours. It’s a revolution against faster is better. It’s about quality rather than quantity.
With mobile phones, black berries and laptops, employees are expected to be connected at all times. It’s becoming a stigma, to not be connected. It’s even becoming a stigma to be retired. People are being expected to work to the grave just because the cost of living has become so inflated. I think it is pretty ridiculous and unfair.
The Slow Movement is like a breath of fresh air to me. I hope it catches on, before we lose more people to the deadliest disease of all – ‘overworking’.