During the ’80s it was frequent the fact that parents came back home for lunch break. Nowadays it seems unimaginable for too many people. The work world does not allow it anymore, but we would not permit us to do it probably
Today many parents are workaholic ones. It is an English neologism that means drunk on work, rather dependent on work, a pathological work sick. Oh yes, if you can get ill at work, you can be a work sick too. This disease does not spare any categories, it hits everyone, both men and women, also, potentially, every kind of profession: housewives, managers, freelancers, retailers. Nobody is immune. Nobody, neither fathers nor mothers.
The possibility of working remotely increases the working hours beyond the classic ones. Time expands to an improbable level
Over the years a proper social revolution has taken place. During the ’80s it was normal that fathers came back home for lunch break: it was the occasion they met children who returned from school, they met wives who stayed at home or that came back from work too, and, why not, the opportunity to rest and take a break. Nowadays it seems unimaginable for too many people. The work world does not allow it anymore, but we would not permit us to do it probably. Technology and that strange change which leads us to be “always on” are the accomplices. The possibility of working remotely ‒ through mail, computer file, cloud, Skype or other communication systems ‒ increases the working hours beyond the classic ones. Time expands to an improbable level. What seemed to free worker from fixed hours, places and schemes, in reality revealed itself to be a proper slavery in many cases. Being always connected means also to be always “activated”, usable, to stand at attention, especially not be able to do anything else. Children included, at the time when parent’s presence is so important, also when that presence could be so important, fortifying, central for parent too.
It is no true that nowadays we do not have time. Time is always the same for everyone. What is changed is the way we spend it
Today it is no simple to distinguish a workaholic from an hard worker, between who has become a pathological dependent on work and who only works hard as necessary or for personal choice. Being able to discern we can use as a text the ability to distinguish between professional life and personal one; rather we can say it better, the difference is between who can preserve a life that is not defined only by work (since work life is still personal one too) and who thinks and acts based on assignments. It is not true that nowadays we do not have time. Time is always the same for everyone. What is changed is the way we spend it. The situation is really changed, pressures are higher, the fear to lose job and the blackmails for keeping it cannot be ignored. On the other side, we have to consider them carefully as a starting point for a social and political intervention. But human has always the power of disposition: the thought that moves decisions and frees acts.
Being distracted for pursuing deadlines you risk to forget even partner, children, life. But the show of children’s growth does not admit repetitions
Sometimes, in fact, it is enough to think it. There are moments when is necessary staying at work for a long time for deadline that can be as absurd as impelling. But there is a time when you can say “for today that’s enough, I have something else important that waits for me”. There are moments when it is necessary to reply to an email or by phone instantly. But there are other moments when it is possible to procrastinate the reply and continue to listen to people that are with us, watch a film together, end the common meal. Being distracted for pursuing deadlines you risk to forget even partner, children, life. But the show of children’s growth does not admit repetitions, every lost scene has gone, it will not be repeated. So, do not lose this show. Do not permit that children lose parents’ company that has not to be exclusive and totalizing, but the way through which they will become adults, they can think about their future when they will be busy living their lives. Busy, not entrapped. Parents do not want it for them, so avoid it as much as possible. You will not bequeath only money and possessions, but also the way you made them. You will bequeath your conception of work. The more it is human, personal and inclusive of its different aspects, the more everyone will be fine.
Translated to English by Daniela Marsala