Last night, I got a call from a lovely lady heading the tech design department at a big big company. She needs someone with my skills, and I’d love to cut my commute. But I told her, look, I work from 9 to 4, four days a week.
“Temping?” she asked.
“It’s not temping, I just work fewer hours. I get a lot of work done in that time. I’m really efficient. But no one believes me until I work for them.”
Of course, she wasn’t interested. She had no idea what to do with me. Even if she believed me. Even if the idea that I could do a job and a half in three quarters of the time, for three quarters of the price was a message that got through, it didn’t fit into her reality.
This is not her fault.
When I spoke to my husband about it later, I wondered why it is that we drive so hard for efficiency and productivity. Though it may benefit the company to get more work out of us in a shorter time, what is the benefit to ME if I work well enough to get so much done in so little time? They aren’t going to pay me more. They aren’t going to give me time off or a part time schedule.
No. In any company in the fashion business, what they’re going to do is give me more work. Because they believe they have bought my time, when in my mind, they’ve bought the completion of a project. If they are paying for a warm body, how is it in my interest to provide more than that?
I want to spend time with my family. I want to do things and make stuff. If I can get the job done, well, in less time, I should spend less time at the office.
I’m lucky to have a job now where that is valued. If I lose it, I don’t know if I can ever return to being a warm body.