Doing August, in August we go on vacation, how comfortable it is to be in Madrid empty in August! But ah! August is over. Summer is two days in which August is Sunday.
For me, August has always been a melancholic month, you can see that it gets dark earlier, many laughs have passed, many summer nights with their mosquito bites, many hugs, drunkenness, summer loves, many experiences have passed that are now part of our memory . And if we are lucky, maybe they are memories of “that summer.” That summer before: before the arrival of a new family member, before everything went for the better, before everything went wrong (like the summer before the pandemic). But that unforgettable summer that was the predecessor of the activity that autumn brings us.
I am a firm believer that the years begin in September and not in January, for that reason, in the last days of August I usually review what I experienced, as if it were New Year’s Eve. You review, review and project what is to come. And what comes? Well, the return to work (whoever has it). We feel chills with the emails and the meetings with which we have to catch up, what is new? Why are there 300 emails? Will there still be teleworking? Will my boss take me by the way from day one? Is this anxiety or post-vacation syndrome?
For some reason all that summer-vibe it fades with astonishing rapidity, just as our tanned skin fades. As quickly as we disconnect from work, we reconnect with stress upon notification of the Teams. On Monday you greet your colleagues with affection, but on Friday we forgot that we were disconnected. We return to a lifestyle that we choose or chose for us? During my vacations I met an American couple who told me both the hectic pace of work they had, and that in recent months the employees of large companies such as Google preferred not to enjoy their vacation days, since a lot was waiting for them when they returned accumulated work. (I had a job interview in his day in a startup that “were inspired by the American model” and said that “there were no vacations” because “they trusted each employee to manage their time as they wanted” come on, a euphemism for “you we will explode and you will give thanks “).
I wonder if we expected changes after this pandemic, (which has been with us for two long years) because at least I did. For example, while we thought that teleworking and flexibility were here to stay, the facts indicate another reality, according to the COTs report, in Spain the percentage of the population that no longer telework has increased by 13% Compared with the same period in 2020, in addition, certain large companies prohibit teleworking on Mondays and Fridays or the eve of holidays or do not contemplate teleworking despite the fact that during the hardest part of the pandemic it has worked (flexibility and bi-directionality of the relationship as long as it suits the company well). In addition, 52% of those surveyed in the report have seen their general health deteriorate compared to 2020 and have increased sleep problems and risk for mental health. What does this tell us? That precisely we are not well, and that no matter how much it has been the summer of our life if the rest of the context does not accompany, we return to the gray, to the same routine, the one that stresses us and suffocates us with or without a pandemic. As much as some companies and bosses believe otherwise, vacations are not a panacea in a complex context, poor working conditions or at the same time. burn-out of employees. Love and affection, surprise! The beach does not cure everything.
And I wonder, from the lessons learned from the pandemic, we are left with nothing?
Can we dream of not having post-vacation syndrome or simply working for a living or is this already too much to ask?
The value of people does not reside only in what they can produce, despite the fact that everyone tries to try to sell us otherwise. Enough of promoting the capitalization of employees as a material good, if there are circular and sustainable economy models, there may be sustainable work models for employees and companies. In this new 2021/22 academic year, perhaps it is time to stop, take care of ourselves and rethink ourselves, because if not now, when? In the next pandemic?