Life can become quite comfortable when you stick to a routine. Working, studying, exercising and social occurrences can be norm for the average human’s week. But when a sudden change and disruption happens to one’s lifestyle, it can either be beneficial, or have a negative experience on the person.
In early 2020, I finally got a job in the Illawarra working for a technology store. This store works as a cash exchange, where customers can bring their technology, games and media and sell the items to the store for either cash or store credit. The store is a second-hand retailer, so it follows the second-hand buyer’s act. I had previous experience working in sales, and was comfortable working with customers, but my experience didn’t come close to how precise this business operated. I got use to how they used technology in the store, with the use of filing documents, understanding how phones and other devices worked and satisfying customers with their needs.
I became situated with this lifestyle, working a certain number of hours a week and continuing my studies at university, this was until the pandemic hit Australia and changed the livelihood of everyone. As a lot of businesses started to close, I found myself staying at home waiting to find out what was going to happen. I deferred university out of panic (which I kind of regret) and was adjusting to the new stay of home lifestyle. I know it sounds selfish, but at first, I really enjoyed being at home (like everyone else I’m sure), because I was either always working jobs or studying. What at first, I thought was a ‘holiday’ quickly became a ‘holiday with pay’ when the introduction of ‘Job Keeper’ by the Australian Government. Having all this time off and receiving a ridiculous amount of money that I would usually not be making consistently, turned into the most bizarre spending spree I have experienced. I know many Australians were not entitled to job keeper, due to position of employment and circumstances, but for the people who were eligible, it felt like Christmas each week. Considering I was still living with my parents at that time and was only paying a weekly rent for groceries and utilities, I didn’t necessarily want this much money, but like anyone else in that moment, I started to consume. This unrealistic safety net of a financial situation had to change, and my parents made it clear that I had to save this money as the income could change at any moment.
The lecture slides from week 3 suggested the blogpost ‘Your lifestyle has already been designed’, this blog goes on to explain how excessive spending can occur when are you are in a comfortable financial situation or earing more money than previous. The writer talks about how he spends money on unnecessary things and how it’s not healthy to get into this cycle of dopamine purchasing. This is something I really relate too, as consuming can be a real problem I face, especially when it comes to artist merchandise and video games. I own more t-shirts than I know what to do with and have stacks of video games I’ve barely played or haven’t even touched. Within the blog, he starts to talk about the conditioned ’40-hour work week’ that people will consider a normal lifestyle. He explains the limited hours people have in their days, and why media and entertainment is such a dominant consumption for humans due to free time being evenings and weekends. (Cain, 2021) This ideology is something I could relate too, but at that period, I had too much time.
The positive that did come out of that lockdown was the change of labour, instead of a work labour, that I had to do each week for my job, the hours turned into home labour, where I would help my parents work on the garden and the studio that they were building. An article that was introduced in week 5 talks about emotional labour, and the differences of what you think is required that becomes unnoticed or appreciated. I did feel this in my job, but not all the time as I found that my co-workers are very supportive as it’s a smaller team of people. This translated to being home as well, I found myself doing more stuff around the house or putting in that extra effort in the garden just because I was bored.
Fast forward to 2021, second lockdown.
Mentally, I enjoy working, I get a lot of satisfaction from working with customers and really love my job, but this is because of the doses of work I have per week, and still maintaining a social life with friends and family (before covid). I was happy after the first lockdown of the pandemic in 2020, finally working again and enjoying social activities, but the second lockdown has been harder mentally. Not working, doing university part time and not being able to see my family, friends, and my cat for over 3 months has been hard, and like many Australians, we are all in the same position. Personally, I think too much free time is bad, and the idea of the 40-hour work week sounds comfortable as looking forward to events can get you through the week easier. The number of days I have travelled around my apartment to different indulgent activities (gaming, movies, disc jockey,) has burnt me out. I haven’t worked fulltime before, as I’ve always been a causal for my position of employment. I’m not excited to work fulltime or be conditioned to the 40-hour work week, but I think it would be a good change, considering I have experienced all this free time, I know I’ll look back on it with rose coloured glasses, but it’s not a realistic lifestyle.
Beck, J., 2018. The concept Creep of ‘Emotional Labor’. [Online]
Available at: https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/11/arlie-hochschild-housework-isnt-emotional-labor/576637/
[Accessed 29 August 2021].
Cain, D., 2021. Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed. [Online]
Available at: https://www.raptitude.com/2010/07/your-lifestyle-has-already-been-designed/
[Accessed 29 August 2021].