NEW JERSEY, UNITED STATES — A recent university graduate found herself overwhelmed with emotion as she opened up about the challenges of adapting to her new nine-to-five work routine while trying to maintain a semblance of a personal life.
Ms Brielle Asero, a resident of New Jersey in the United States, recently took to TikTok to share her struggles in finding time for herself after trudging through a four-hour daily commute and long work hours.
In a video that has garnered over 2.5 million views as of Friday (Oct 27) since it was first posted on Oct 19, Ms Asero lamented that she had neither the time nor the energy to prepare meals or even take a shower after returning home.
The marketing professional emphasised that her frustration wasn’t directed at her job itself, but rather at the demanding nine-to-five work schedule in general.
“I get on the train at 7.30am and I don’t get home until 6.15pm (at the) earliest. I don’t have time to do anything!” said Ms Asero, who explained that she lives in New Jersey despite working in New York due to the high cost of rent in the city.
She added that sometimes she wouldn’t return home until 7.30pm, further limiting her opportunities for self-care and relaxation.
Ms Asero goes on to call the 9am to 5pm schedule “crazy” and expressed her desire for a better work-life balance, suggesting that working from home would make it easier.
im also getting sick leave me alone im emotional ok i feel 12 and im scared of not having time to live
One user wrote: “You’re not alone. It’s insane how your entire day is gone. This is why we need four-day work weeks.”
Another person suggested that Gen Zers should quickly move up into management positions to “collectively enforce the four-day work week”.
Others suggested Ms Asero look for a remote-working role instead.
Several commenters tried to console Ms Asero by assuring her that “it gets better”, to which one netizen replied jadedly: “(To be honest), it doesn’t get better. You just learn to force things in after work despite being exhausted because you feel like you’re being cheated of time.”
Despite the sympathetic responses, some viewers were less understanding, saying that Ms Asero should know that this is “the real world” and “adulthood”.
“Gen Z girl finds out what a real job is like,” read one post on X (formerly Twitter), where Ms Asero’s video was also shared.
Another X user sarcastically wrote: “Omg, poor baby has her first job. Like…she has to commute? Like…she has to cook dinner? Like…no time or energy to work out? Like…she’s working in person, not remotely? Like…She. Has. To. Work. 9. To. 5? What?”
In an interview with pop culture magazine Rolling Stone, Ms Asero addressed some of the negative responses to her video: “Most people who are mad at me are just taking out the anger they feel over the time they’ve lost working long hours. I just wanted to bring people together who feel this way to possibly incite a change.”
THE PUSH FOR A 4-DAY WORK WEEK IN S’PORE
As working from home became the norm during the Covid-19 pandemic, the discussion about the four-day work week was rekindled, prompting both employees and employers to rethink the importance of workplace flexibility and benefits.
In a poll conducted by TODAY in September last year, two-thirds of 1,000 respondents aged between 18 and 35 agreed or strongly agreed to Singapore moving to a four-day work week, even if it meant working more hours each work day.
A separate study involving 1,000 workers conducted by the market research company Milieu Insight revealed that 37 per cent wanted to adopt a four-day work week “very much”, while another 44 per cent said they “want it, but have a few concerns”.
The primary concerns raised by the participants in the Milieu Insight survey included the possibility of work-related tasks or communications encroaching on their days off, potential reductions in salary, and the added stress of longer workdays.
Business and manpower experts TODAY spoke to for an edition of The Big Read pointed out that the successful implementation of a four-day work week would require innovation and long term thinking.
However, they emphasised that such arrangements may not easily fit all types of businesses and it would not be realistic to expect it to be a nationwide practice.
They added that other forms of work flexibility could also be looked into to achieve the end goal of bettering employee welfare.