Theres more to life than work as everyone but the Tories and Kim Kardashian knows
Last Thursday marked three years since the start of the first British lockdown and by implication, the third anniversary of the start of a conversation about life and work that is still going on, in the UK and all over the world.
As people were confined to their homes, it soon became clear that many of them were thinking deeply about their jobs, and the sacrifices they often required. Suddenly, people had time to consider more fundamental thoughts about family life, caring, free time, and the horrors of the daily commute. By the autumn of 2020, the result was a huge amount of media noise about rising conflicts between peoples core values and their everyday lives, the choices they were starting to make, and the newly fashionable prospect of somehow exiting the rat race. And it has never died down.
Get your fucking ass up and work, says that goddess of hard graft Kim Kardashian. But the cultural winds seem to be blowing in the opposite direction. Last year, Microsofts annual work trend index found that 47% of its employee respondents said they were more likely to prioritise family and personal life over work than they were prior to the pandemic. We now talk about quiet quitting: the art of mentally cutting loose from your job and, to quote the young American whose TikTok video sent the concept viral, the hustle-culture mentality that work has to be your life. Politicians and journalists fuss and fret over the so-called Great Resignation, the social shift that has seen some people changing jobs in pursuit of better pay and greater wellbeing, while others have embraced early retirement or simply exited the job market.