In this job-centric culture, Americans are working 44 hours per week. This means they are spending the majority of their waking hours at their place of employment. In addition, labor has invaded the home to a degree never experienced before. Thanks to the Internet and mobile technology, men and women are connected to the office in more ways than ever e-mail, voice mail, pagers, and cell phones. Being available at all hours has become a badge of honor among those eager for advancement in their careers.
From 1995 to 2001, Maggie Jackson was national workplace columnist for the Associated Press. In this consistently interesting book, she has gathered together a lot of eye opening material on the challenges facing Americans as they try to balance work, life, and refuge in the information age. One key development: "As the lines fade between home and work, our innermost thoughts, our spiritual lives, and our social connections are increasingly ending up in the office."
The home is also being displaced by the trend of workers purchasing second homes as places of refuge far away from the demands of an information-fueled service economy. Another trend is people turning their cars into portable homes. Of course, for globetrotting nomads in the business world, hotel rooms are a replacement for home. With so little time available to take care of the traditional home, people are outsourcing those domestic activities.
In the end, Jackson challenges readers to "reinvent the home, incorporating the mobility and flexibility that characterize this new age, while preserving the boundaries that give us refuge. To do so, we need to make our homes places of experience, rootedness, learning, and sharing." The domestic life is a realm for nurturing ourselves and our souls. The choice is ours; we can find time for things that matter.