Three days ago, last tuesday I met some friends of friends in a bar in Amsterdam. All of them ¨skilled migrants¨, so normal immigrants but with good level of education and good jobs. Coincidentally we were all from the south of Europe, greeks, a turkish guy, my Madrilenian friend and me.
In the middle of the conversation, between cognac, wine and vegetable soup, the turkish guy (who studied mathematics, around 30 years old, married, with one daughter, and working analyzing and processing data for big companies) explained a very interesting model. A triangle.
A triangle where one vertex is Energy, another one Time, and another one Money.
- It happens that when we are young we have the energy and the time but we don’t have money.
- When we are adults, like this turkish man, we have energy and money but we don’t have enough time to do all we want.
- And when we are old, we have time and money but there is not so much energy left.
Paradox or modern life catch in western society.
The turkish guy was realising that he had no time. And I hear more and more often people are feeling slightly drowned in the triangle.
Busy life has more value
Two months ago I felt ashamed when a newly incorporated dutch psychiatrist from my company, in her first formal introduction with me, she asked curiously:
-Ah… you only work three days per week… and what do you do with the rest of the time?
In that moment I felt overwhelmed, I felt suddenly ashamed and I listened to myself saying I had some projects with my NGO and I planned to study a Master bladibla. All not entirely true at that moment.
I saw myself lying to show an image of a busy woman.
Busy busy busy. That is trendy. “-Shall we meet? – Uys, I am very very busy.”
No. Not anymore. I don´t feel ashamed. I am happy working three days, 27 hours weekly (75% of the maximum of 36 weekly hours allowed in Mental Health in the Netherlands).
Yes, I have four free days a week, and I don’t need to fill them up. I can enjoy them studying, reading, cleaning my house, cooking, talking to my family on the phone, travelling or whatever.
Yes, I get less money. I get less money compared to what the rest of the ¨skilled migrants¨ get for a full working week. But I have the whole lovely triangle for myself
I have money.
I have time.
And I have energy.
And well, some final speculations: maybe if we all would work a bit less, more people could work, and more people could enjoy the lovely triangle during adult life. Me, I already know what I would answer the next time that somebody asks me what do I do with the rest of my days.
Here some related articles:
“Why working fewer hours would make us more productive”
“10 reasons for a shorter working week”