Q&A with Richard Hobbs, Executive Director of Human Agenda


Meet Richard Hobbs, an attorney and Executive Director of Human Agenda, a non-profit community organization in San Jose, California. We took a few moments to learn how Richard has incorporated the TBYT mission into his professional and personal life over the years.

1.) Tell us a bit about how people in San Jose have celebrated Take Back Your Time Day over the years? Describe some of your favorite events. Talk a bit about the kind of community it is and also your connection with San Jose State University.

In San Jose we have celebrated TBYT at public forums, presentations, and film showings a dozen times since the beginning of TBYT Day. Approximately half of those events were held at San Jose State University with participation from the Recreation and Leisure Department. Some of my favorite events include stirring and highly informative presentations by John de Graaf as well as community panels of everyday people talking about the time pressures of Silicon Valley.

2.) How and when did TBYT first cross your path?

TBYT first crossed my path the very first year it was held.

3.) Talk a little about your organization Human Agenda and how its mission connects to Take Back Your Time?

Reduced work hours represent the principal axis upon which the Human Agenda vision for a new society spins. By reducing work hours with a living wage people are allowed to become their un-alienated selves, having time for care work, lifelong learning, democratic participation in family and society, and self-realization.

The vision of Human Agenda is CLEAR the DECKS: having the time, social re-ordering and individual commitment for each of us to participate in Care work, Reduced working hours in a job producing a valuable good or service with a living wage, Educational opportunity for life, Autonomous decision-making participation in all areas of life, and Realization, while creating institutions that are Democratic, Egalitarian, Cooperative, Kind, and Sustainable. If we can clear the decks, we can have real change in our society; we need to develop new value-laden institutions like cooperatives, public banks, land trusts, and public services.

4.) How has your involvement evolved over the years?

Honestly, Human Agenda had greater involvement with TBYT Day when it was one of our 4 annual signature events. We have evolved now into projects that try to put TBYT into practice like building cooperatives, supporting public transportation, and putting on Emulation Tours that show that in places like Mondragon, Spain and Cuba, work-life balance is taken seriously.

5.) Did TBYT's mission immediately resonate with you? Why?

Yes. Time is the foundation for building well-rounded human beings, the goal of Human Agenda.

6.) Silicon Valley is a special community with long working hours. Many people have long commutes as well. How do people in your community respond to the TBYT mission? Has there been a difference over time?

There is a general acceptance of the need for people to take vacations, shorten their work weeks, possess sick leave, etc. However, Silicon Valley employers are still brutal in over-working "salaried" people to death.

7.) What does TBYT mean to you personally?

TBYT is a personal aspiration and key in re-ordering my life.