The New Rules of Work? They’re a Waste of Time in the Real World

I’m usually a big fan of Fast Company articles, but one recently seemed like the biggest contrived piece of new-aged garbage, and I just had to share!

The article has a great premise: These Are The New Rules of Work. You know, it’s one of those articles that will show us all how we use to do work and how we now do work.

Well, maybe, but also how we hope we could do work like they talk about in magazines like Fast Company, but we really don’t because we live in the real world.

This is a “new” work rule?

Here’s a taste:

Old Rule: You commute into an office every day.

New Rule: Work Can Happen Wherever You Are, Anywhere in the World

Cute, but I actually work at a job where we go to the office each day, like most people in the world. So, while it would great to work in the Cayman Islands, my job is in Flint, Michigan, and if I don’t come in, I don’t get paid — which makes trips to the Caymans more difficult.

You get the idea. This was written by a professional writer, not by someone who actually works a real job.

Writing isn’t a real, normal job. When you write freelance, you can actually work from anywhere, because you basically work for yourself!

More of the “new” rules of work

Here are the others:

Old Rule: Work is “9-to-5?

New Rule: You’re On Call 24-7

Well, you’re not really on call 24-7; you choose to be “connected” 24-7, and there’s a difference.

I do believe that “leaving” your job at the office was a concept that was overblown for the most part in our parents generation. They claimed to do this, but only because they didn’t have email and smart phones and laptops.

Let’s face it — our parents would have been just as connected given the same technology.

Old Rule: You have a full-time job with benefits.

New Rule: You go from Gig to Gig, Project to Project

There’s no doubt there is a rise in the use of the contingent workforce, but this doesn’t mean it’s necessarily chosen by the worker.

True, our thinking has shifted and many people no longer want to work at one company for 40 years, but much of that has been shaped by companies and economics. When you live through an entire decade of layoffs and downsizing, you begin to think of the work environment as more transient.

The crazy part about this mindset is that organizations still feel like candidates should want to stay at a company for 40 years, even though they can’t, and won’t, guarantee that for you.

Old Rule: Work-life balance is about two distinct, separate spheres.

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New Rule: For Better or Worse, the Line between Work and Life is Almost Entirely Disappearing.

This is the one rule I actually agree with. Again, this is when you compare it to a day when you could actually separate yourself from your work and personal life.

In today’s ultra-connected world, it becomes very difficult to do this. I think most people get tired of living two separate lives and just want to live one. This is who I am, professionally and personally, so take me a whole person, or not.

You work because you’re “passionate?”

Old Rule: You work for money, to support yourself and your family.

New Rule: You Work Because You’re “Passionate” About a “Movement” or a “Cause” — You Have to “Love What You Do.”

This is actually the single worst piece of advice ever given, bar none!

If this was actually the case, how do you think anything would actually get done on this planet? How would store shelves get stocked, or gas stations get run? How would your dinner get cooked and the dishes washed at your favorite restaurant?

Do you really feel there are folks who are “passionate” about washing dishes for you? That they want to wash dishes for your “cause” of having a chicken fried steak and gravy for dinner?

Get some freaking perspective.

Having a good job will help your “cause”

I think it’s great if you can work at something you’re passionate about. If that’s the case, good for you. But it’s definitely not necessary for you have a great life.

Have a cause that is special in your life? Perfect, go for it. You know what really helps most causes? Money! If you have a job that makes great money, just imagine how you can truly help that cause.

So, what do you think about these “new” rules of work?

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.


8 Comments on “The New Rules of Work? They’re a Waste of Time in the Real World

  1. Before I entered the HR field, I used to be a pastor, and these “New Rules” pretty much describe that vocation to a T. Pastors and other religious leaders have been living this out for a very, very long time. It might be worth it for people to take a hard look at burnout rates among that group…it is ridiculously high. As are divorce rates, depression, you name it. And these are people who are devoted to something they believe in absolutely and are wholly dedicated to. This may be the direction business is heading, but if so, I think the next big field of occupation will be “counsellor.”

  2. Agree, Tim. These “new rules” only apply to the new elite. Wish I could afford such a deal.

  3. If these are new rules then they will be creating a lot of headaches for businesses. Should I start with UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES? I had a boss that tried to convince me that I brought my work home with me 24 – 7. He said if anyone calls me I have to answer the call. I asked him if he was going to provide me with a phone to answer the calls he told me no. (Imagine a 5 billion dollar company not being able to afford a phone for their managers.) I told him I won’t be answering calls then. If this is what companies want then they are not a good fit for me. Sometimes you have to flex your muscles!

  4. Hi there! Great rules, but to implement them need to completely rebuild the mindset of employees. Unfortunately, in most modern companies use other rules, such as constant monitoring of employees using video cameras and keylogger software (for example, refog: The best way to organize employee – the good old method of “carrot and stick”.

  5. Hi people! Interesting read indeed. I agree with much that is said in this article and it is true that the workplace is changing tremendously and quickly. The biggest change to all this is the ability to work remotely. Before has it been so easy and convenient to conduct business from anywhere in the world. This is both good and bad. Being a business owner I have many remote employees and that is becoming exceedingly difficult to keep track of all of them. For most of my employees I have mandated that they install monitoring software on their company own devices I got the idea from reading an article on this website: It has truly been a game changer because now I can keep accurate track of where employees are, if they are conducting business and how long they spend at each location throughout the day. This is by no means a cure to the problem, but it does help a great deal. Bottom line is, that if you have good employees in have to worry. But I don’t think workers like that exist anymore.

  6. Telling someone younger people are the future when they’re being fired is a sign of poor training. Even if “the children are the future” there are just some things you can’t say to people if you want to avoid a lawsuit.

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