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Work's The Arch Enemy of Free Time

Ricardo Semler - Maverick

Ricardo Semler, the Brazilian sometime CEO of Semco and author of the bestselling Maverick, is a very unique businessman indeed.

This blog post’s title is a quote from his second book, originally to be called The End of The Weekend, but which his American publisher then changed to The Seven-Day Weekend.
(That publisher no doubt well understands what it takes to market a business book in a crowded marketplace.)

The book is an account of how Semco is attempting to deal with an always on and increasingly busy and competitive world in which many employees and managers know they can no longer take (or in some cases, even want) every weekend off.

Interestingly, a seven-day weekend environment can result in some plus points too.

Some employees might like to go fishing Mondays.
Others to the cinema or mall Tuesdays.

Fewer crowds. Less queuing. More fun.

To a company like Semco (are there any others?) where a form of workplace democracy is espoused as a living experiment, these types of flexible working arrangements are probably a lot easier to agree than in the benevolent dictatorships of most corporations.

Of course some corporations do recognize that certain types of work must be done out of normal hours and compensate with time off in lieu during the week. (Making IT changes to computing systems in the Banking world is one example.)

But I think that doesn't go far enough in most cases.

Semco appears to be forging a path where they value employee freedom and happiness above their corporate goals (Semco is privately held) but can still make money, delight customers and grow their business sustainably.

And for potential career changers that brings me to the heart of the book’s message.

In Ricardo’s own words, from page 8:

Success is not measured only in profit and growth.

In that context it is much easier to see what he meant by work is the arch enemy of free time.

Just how are you measuring success?

(First posted to - my web2 writer's site - on 2008-feb-04.)

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