Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hate your job or just the commute?

I started a new job the other day and have come to the conclusion that working for the most part is not a natural desire for man to pursue, especially within the definition currently accepted within our overworked, underpaid and severely stressed culture.  We try to raise our kids to pursue what they like so the concept of work is mitigated through the more enjoyable pursuit of happiness.

For many the two terms are mutually exclusive and for most the work they perform only serves to provide the means for external adventures that help them forget about their “work”.  Work for the most part is good but having to work at what you do not like is more akin to torture than pleasure, creating a massive gap in emotional response in relation to the two divergent motivations. 

Optimally the perfect job would be directly in line with an individual’s interests and desire’s making the occasional “work” requirements affordable in relation to the everyday gains of living a productive and interesting life.  

One major cause of concern is the amount of time spent commuting.  Especially in the larger cities those commutes can be a major problem in developing that perfect job.  Let’s take education as a general rule.  There are thousands of teachers and most do not teach within the area that they live causing them to commute.  I think it can be generally agreed upon that most teachers are pretty much the same.  The perspective of a parent or student may alter that belief but substituting one qualified teacher for another, at any point in the year will invariably create his or her detractors and supporters helping us all to realize that it really doesn’t make a lot of difference, over the long term, who teaches who.

This concept is also convertible to almost virtually every job and career choice.  One engineer may be better than another but the benefits of one over another in the grand scheme really means very little.  There are those positions that do require excellence but those are rare despite what you think of your current abilities. Even the most exclusive job in the world, the President of the United States might not make that much difference, especially when you view those individuals from an historical perspective.  Those that were truly unique stand out in glorious ways while most simply fade from memory or are hated because of what they tried to be.

Some will proclaim a great affinity for their jobs, their friends at work and even their bosses on occasion but again we can see how easily all of these things and associations could be replaced.  Are our lives so scripted that any suggestion of change becomes unthinkable with no room for new acquaintances or friends and really does the boss really matter?

The reason I bring this up is for one specific purpose, to provide the means to lower our commute times, to lighten the load on our overcrowded roads and perhaps the most important to reduce our ever increasing consumption of oil and also that I may perhaps, in some alternate universe, in some obscure galaxy be able to work closer to home, even if it is just like the one I have now, closer is so much better.

It works like this:  From an open registry interested parties check for like jobs with similar salaries and responsibilities.  In schools this would be easy, one English Teacher for another or a Math Teacher for one that drives an hour to work, they simply swap jobs and presto no drive time.

It would also be nice if employers would sign on as well being less particular about hiring their brother in law rather than hiring a qualified person who simply lives close.  The brother in law might have a harder time finding another brother in law to swap with but that might be the price we have to pay for this system to work.  If employers would buy into this scenario the transitions could be organized so that any swapping that occurred could be done with little or no down time. 

The savings to the employer would be significant as well.  With employees living closer to their work, there would be less absence, more devotion, less stress, more productivity etc…the worst that would happen is that a school district or employer would end up with a lousy replacement but I can almost guarantee that the number of marginal employees currently held would probably go down due in large measure to the happiness factor of employees saving time and saving money.  School Districts would have to soften their grip on tenure and allow for transfers that secure those earned rights but even if they restricted trades to similar experienced teachers the system would be helpful.

All I need is someone to write an app that would allow those looking to meet those that are searching and viola we have a simple solution to a major issue.  One example of how this might help is during the 1984 Olympics in LA,  Peter Ueberroth (the guy in charge, like Romney was for the 2002 Winter Olympics)  staggered work hours for all of Los Angeles County and the effects were amazing.  For the first time in years commuters had an open road, when it was their time to drive that is.  Traffic was gone, gridlock was history, but that solution only lasted the two weeks of the Olympics.   The day after, traffic was a nightmare once again.

I work in Riverside and live in Menifee, it’s really only 20 miles or so but today it took me 49 min to get home and the traffic was moderate.  I know many of you suffer more than I but we don’t have too, let’s see if we can get this EX (employment exchange) started….it might really work.