Stop Dreaming of the End of Work

All human life depends on it

Frank Parker
8 min readJul 31, 2021

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I’m sorry but life will never be a never ending summer holiday. Free image from jooinn.com

“Thank you. Do I start on Monday?” I had just been offered an apprenticeship and couldn’t wait to begin my new life as an employee.

“Goodness, no. This will be your last long summer holiday. Make the most of it. Shall we say August 8th.?”

I’d been granted the day off from school for the interview. As the interview took place in my home town, a day’s journey from my boarding school, the Head had agreed there was no point in my returning to school for the final two weeks. The previous year my summer ‘holiday’ had been spent working on a large farm next to the village I lived in. I’d worked there during the Easter holiday, too. Summer was a busy time on the farm. Adolescents and women were always welcome to assist with the harvest: hay, grain, potatoes. In the late 1950s, like many families, mine was always struggling to make ends meet so the only source of ‘pocket money’ for me was to work during the school holidays. That’s what I did for the next four weeks.

In those days, the standard working week consisted of 44 hours. Over the next decade that would reduce to 40 hours. When I graduated to office work it was 39 hours which later reduced to 37.5. But there was always overtime, or some kind of part-time job in the evening or at the weekend, to supplement my…

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Frank Parker

Frank is a retired Engineer from England now living in Ireland. He is trying to learn and share the lessons of history.