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STUDENTS CORNER - 42

While discussing leisure as an indicator of quality of life, we ended up saying that we will look into two more facts related to leisure: the quality of leisure and the activities engaged during leisure.

Quality of leisure is equally a complex subject involving different aspects depending upon the individual’s choice of engaging himself during leisure; the choices are plenty, and common among them are entertainment, family, sports, social institutions, spiritual concern. Each choice lends itself to many more subdivisions like entertainment covering music, films, etc. This quality of leisure is inseparably linked with the activities undertaken during leisure.

One very vital fact has to be considered while discussing leisure: work and life balance and the satisfaction an individual is able to derive from the kind of work-life balance pattern that has been established.

Among many factors that actually make achieving work-life balance very difficult, one is long working hours. If a person has to spend very long working hours, say, 10 or 11 hours, he finds it very difficult, almost impossible to enjoy leisure. In fact, one must be really active and energetic as much as he is at work, to enjoy leisure. An exhausted person is incapable of doing any activities of hobby with satisfaction. Even to sit down and listen to music, you need a mind and a body that is not too tired. In addition, long working hours deprive one of the time for family.  A tired person, however much he may be willing to spend time with the family, generally prefers rest to even spending time with the family. Disappointment and discontent take away the possibility of satisfaction in leisure. Indeed, you are free from work; but you are not free enough at time to actively enjoy leisure. If this kind of life has been there for long, one will not be even aware of the fact that he is missing the right kind of balance between work and life.

Long hours need not necessarily be the working hours only. If the commuting time is too much, it makes the hours away from home more, though not actually at work.

Depending on the money you can spend on commuting, the effect of long hours can be exhausting or otherwise least negative in its effect on the person. If you have a chauffeur to drive you to work and home back, commuting will not be a problem at all. On the other hand, you have to drive yourself or you depend on public transport or even transport arranged by the company, commuting will not be so comfortable but time consuming.

This desirable balance between work and life becomes almost a rare experience if both the parents of a family have to go for work due to necessity. Often, the two of them will have different work-schedule and it will not permit them to go for work and reach home back at the same time. This is the common lot of many middle class families and the children of such families miss the parents’ time for them.

For the employer, all these disturbing facts will not be there generally. He can choose his leisure and he can choose how to spend his leisure. An employee can take his family once in a while to some places of tourist attraction and for this pleasure trip, he may have to plan before hand with regard to saving of money. Again, an employer can afford vacations but an employee can take holidays. We find, therefore, the way one chooses his leisure and the activities for the leisure brings out his financial status. The leisure of the wealthy employer will be different from the leisure of the employee.

Where GDP is higher, it suggests the employee may have more money at his disposal, generally, and he can enjoy his leisure better than an employee of poor GDP region.

We will move on to some other quality-indicator in relation to GDP next time.

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