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Ricardo-María Jiménez, Professor at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya and partner of the project 'Public discourse' del Institute for Culture and Society

Slaves with ties?

Tue, 04 Nov 2014 13:11:00 +0000 Published in La Vanguardia

instructions Last summer Max Shireson, the director general manager of the successful Internet data company MongoDB, resigned from position because he wanted to spend more time with his wife and three children. He explains this on his blog staff. He regrets, among other events, that he was not present when one of his sons underwent emergency surgery.

Max Schireson decided to free himself from the reckless slavery of work travel and endless schedules; he will continue to work in a tie, but without being a slave. He will be able to get home early, share household chores with his wife and be a role model for his children. Schireson, on the other hand, has tried to encourage employees not to burn out, "to work smart and efficiently," because he does not want for others the status he has gone through.

Many competent university students who have started their professional life, for example, in an auditing company, a consulting firm or in some law firms, live a strenuous work workshop . And this does not only happen in the United States, but also in Barcelona. Some of them travel thousands of kilometers a year, others get up at dawn and return home at the crack of dawn. Moreover, if they try to finish work at a reasonable hour, they often hear phrases from their superiors such as the following: "In this business we don't want people with the mentality of civil servants who at 19.00 drop their pencils and are eager to go home", "Here we don't understand schedules, here schedules are flexible both for better and for worse".

Are those decent working conditions? Can a normal person work more than eight or nine hours a day? Who is going to raise a family like that? Who can support a marriage under those conditions?

Perhaps the solution to this problem lies in getting employees to work intelligently and efficiently, as proposed by Shireson, and for some managers of these companies not to think only about the bottom line. By the way, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin, said on September 25 that employees at its headquarters will be able to take as much vacation as they want, if they do not harm the business of business. Goodbye to slavery with a tie?