By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Time Bomb: Work rest and play in Australia today
By Barbara Pocock, Natalie Skinner, Phillipa Williams (Newsouth, $34.95, softcover, 245 pages)
Experiencing exhaustion and burn-out are not trivial matters, but this book warns of the many Australians who are living a ‘time bomb’ as they juggle jobs, home commitments and community life.
Professor Pocock, Dr Skinner and Dr Williams rightly point out that time is our most basic human resource – and it is valuable – and should be wisely utilised.
“It is our life: indeed it is the only true resource that we who are alive now have. As we have a limited amount of it, how we spend our time and what it gives and takes from us are the sum of our life-times.”
The book draws on research by the University of South Australia’s Centre for Work + Life which showed that 73 per cent of women with pre-school children felt rushed, compared with 57 per cent of men.
Active parenting can make unreasonable demands. While there are decidedly more women in the workplace, at a time when fathers want to be more involved in the upbringing of their children, they are working increasingly longer hours.
This is a demand due to the work pressures, financial situations and lifestyle demands and the trend is a concern. Working more than 45 hours a week are half of Australian men with children aged four and under, compared with 29 per cent of workers overall.
The survey also revealed that many Australians, despite working harder and longer, struggled to take find time for recreation.
Then there’s also argument that the time squeeze also affected the ability of workers to increase skills and qualifications.
In the midst of great wealth, Australians live a time-poor life. Diffuse the time bomb by counting the costs incurred, weighing up work and its larger effects and consciously deciding “in favour of enough work, decent work, and a more ‘balanced’ life”. It’s never too late.
Time Bomb is available through newsouthbooks.com.au.
Edition 406, 22 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.