(Long text alert)
Before the pandemic, we lived in the age of seeking “professional fulfillment”, with the media selling the idea of “pursuing a career doing what you love”, because then “you won't work a day in your life”. So, we went to great lengths to achieve such a realization, even if it meant sacrificing our health and personal life. In fact, this sacrifice was well accepted by the corporate world, for obvious reasons. It was “cool” to be a workaholic. If the workaholic was getting sicker and sicker, physically and emotionally, it didn't matter.
In fact, the aversion to work has always existed. Therefore, employers and the system needed to instill ideas of professional fulfillment in people, as well as the fear of being poor and homeless, so that they would remain tame, working more and more, and generating billions in profits for the system, in the promise of a better life and such “professional fulfillment”.
The pandemic has partially broken this paradigm. While, on one hand, some workers were forced to go to the workplace, to have contact with other people, and thus increase the risks of contracting Covid, others went through the experience of paid isolation, that is, they spent days off at home, because at the time there was hope that the pandemic would last a month at most.
The isolation made people start to reflect on the lifestyle they had been living so far, and how much absurdity there is in it. Many understood that their role was just to be a cog in a machine that generates power and wealth only for its owners. Thus, they began to occupy their time with really meaningful activities, and far from the slave-holding standard of the corporate world.
Many workers, meanwhile, have already moved directly from office work to remote work, with all its pros and cons.
So, while for some there was a chance to have greater flexibility in schedules and better use of time for their personal tasks,
for others it caused enormous stress, as it became more difficult to manage home and work at the same time.
Employers, for their part, had cleverly taken advantage of the fact that most workers were loving remote work to increase their workload and demand more productivity. Since workers were “happy” with their new condition and dreaded the idea of having to go back to the office, they would “gladly accept” the massive increase in the number of tasks.
The routine of endless working hours, calls and emails outside of office hours and on weekends has become very common. People were no longer able to separate work from rest.
This whole situation quickly multiplied the cases of burnout, anxiety and depression in the corporate world. People were getting sick even at home, even living the dream of remote work, and this also made them question the current employment model.
Workers who were forced to risk their lives in the workplace were revolted. Many actually contracted Covid, many have died and/or infected relatives (who often died as well).
People began to realize what work really is: a modern form of slavery, which will enrich only the employer and the system. Those who do not work are excluded economically and socially. The promises of “make your way to the top” or “work with what you love” are nothing more than traps to keep the employee tame and obedient”.
It became clear that the current model of employment and production had reached its limit. Do we really need to work that hard? Does the industry really need to produce that much? Do we really need to consume that much? How much will that cost to people's health and world environment?