Leave it to the French. When they aren’t losing World War’s they’re busy claiming Freedom Fries as their own. Sure they have topless beaches and croissants, but is their latest initiative to require employees to disconnect from emails after work, the best thing that ever happened to other countries economies? Sure this might work on a systemic level, but what about on an individual level? Lets have a look through a millennial lens, shall we …
(Keep in mind this is the same country who enacted 35 hour work week in 2000 and gives companies like 44 weeks of PTO)
The Good, because it can’t all be bad, right?
Not having to be glued to my phone like a teenager who just discovered free adult films on the internet would be a great thing. Oh wait, what’s that? I’m on my phone anyways. Hell, I might even miss my get out of jail (read: social settings) free card that is my work email.
“Ahh sorry man, I can’t go sweat on you and 300 of my favorite strangers at a loud, crowded bar while you comment on every girl who passes by but inevitably goes home alone … I have a deliverable to get out”
And of course I won’t self-medicate with the hooch or the devil’s lettuce if I am not constantly answering emails … right? Without the fear of Big Brother peeping through my laptop camera while I’m answering emails, I’m free to live like Chris Farley. Unless you’re an editor for High Times, it’s typically noted in the employee handbook that you shouldn’t be under the influence while putting things on the back burner or emailing various forms of “it is what it is”. But while management’s away, the minions will “play” …
It sure is a blessing that I don’t have to be burdened with the stresses of reading words on a screen from a manager who works for the company that puts food on my table. Wait, what did you say? Checking an email isn’t that big of a deal? Reading an email and responding is about as hard as finding a person who hates Americans in Paris. “Stressful” is going genitals first into a buzzsaw of angry client emails at 8:30 in the morning before your first cup of french press kicks in.
The Bad, because it gets worse …
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to frolic through the salty dunes of St. Tropez with Leo and a few models whose names I can’t pronounce, sipping Dom and firing off super soakers with little regard for anyone’s dryness.
And that’s EXACTLY the problem. If I was working 15-20 hours less per week, not having to answer emails after hours and was presented with an overabundance of free time, I’d spend money recklessly. Give me a weekend and few pals and I can bring even the most healthy of bank accounts to its knees. Who am I to be trusted with all this free time?
The Ugly …
And you thought millennials were lazy pieces of sh*t? Wait until you meet me after being groomed to not be a hard worker. You won’t like me when I’m lazy. They’ll have to invent a new word because laissez-faire won’t even begin to describe my work ethic.
And just imagine a world where I don’t have an excuse to not go to the gym, since I don’t have to answer emails and all. I get stunningly ripped. And to compliment my newfound physical confidence I join Toastmasters and become more well spoken than Matthew McConaughey in a Lincoln commercial. And then I put my new found glory to work and reproduce. My mutant offspring will be born into a world where they don’t just give participation trophies but where they award PTO days for every 10 emails sent, they give sick days for paper cuts and where shop talk at lunch is punishable by death.
France might think they are undergoing their second cultural revolution and are creating an HR manager’s utopia, but they need to behead this thing QUICK. Like a lot of things, this looks good in academic papers, but just think of the individual consequences. A generation of lazier, more entitled assholes than us are being born as we speak. Remember France, you can only slow down as much as those around you or you’re going to get left in the .. how do you say “dust” in French?