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Aaron
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PostSubject: The 40 hour work week   Mon Nov 19, 2007 12:01 pm

How do you feel about the 40 hour work week? Do you think it's really necessary? What could be some of the advantages/disadvantages to a society on say a 30 or 35 hour work week?

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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:32 pm

I would love to be able to work less each week, I just don't think I could get everything done.
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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:07 pm

Aaron wrote:
How do you feel about the 40 hour work week? Do you think it's really necessary? What could be some of the advantages/disadvantages to a society on say a 30 or 35 hour work week?

sounds like you have been working too much Razz

I think the 40 hour week is about right, for a good middle ground

Me I usually work about 45 or so...
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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:50 pm

Yes I guess it's a subjective thing. I'd prefer spending more time at home with my family than at work and I'd take less pay for it too.

It seems to me that people just want more and more these days. Back in the 50's people were happy to live in a 1200 square foot cape with a single car and maybe a TV and a radio. Now a 2000 square foot house is small, people drive $30,000 SUV's, and there is a TV with cable in every room, along with the personal computer, IPod, and whatever other gadget everyone has to have.

It seems to me that if people valued their spare time and time with their families a little more then material possession the productivity gains that we've made over the last 100 years would equate to more leasure time. Instead it has just equated to people being able to own more crap.

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Helium



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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Wed Nov 21, 2007 9:58 pm

Ah, time to plug one of my favourite books on the subject, Graceful Simplicity.

Here's the publisher's synopsis if you're interested ...

Quote :
A landmark work about American lifestyles at the end of the century.
Despite our economic abundance, "the good life" has proved evasive. Millions of Americans long for a simpler life, with more time for friends and family, for reading a good book or taking a long walk in the woods. Instead our lives are frantic, hectic, and harried--we live devoid of almost any element of graceful existence.
In Graceful Simplicity, Jerome M. Segal, philosopher, political activist, and former staff member of the House Budget Committee, expands and deepens the contemporary discourse on simple living. He articulates a particular conception of simple living--one rooted in beauty, peace of mind, appreciativeness, and generosity of spirit. At the same time, he critiques much of the "simple living movement" for believing that we can achieve this as isolated individuals if only we freed ourselves from over consumption. Segal argues persuasively that we have created a society in which human needs can only be met successfully at high levels of income. Instead of individual renunciation, he calls for a politics of simplicity that would put the facilitation of simple living at the heart of our approach to social and economic policy.
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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Wed Nov 21, 2007 11:29 pm

Looks interesting. I'll have to check it out.

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Helium



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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:51 am

Yeah, to be honest I got it in the bargain bin of Chapters several years ago, so it might be hard to find these days. But it's a seminal work for me.
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Paul Anthony

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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:58 am

This is an interesting topic. Many people would kill for the privilege of working only 40 hours a week! So many people work more than that, or work two jobs totaling much more! All to earn enough money to live an average life - which would have only been average to a millionaire 100 years ago.

We have been sold on the idea that we have to have it all. "Buy now, pay later" has taken on an ominous meaning, hasn't it? Most people are so hopelessly in debt that they could not survive one month if their paychecks stopped. Where is the quality in such a life?

When I started my current job 8+ years ago, I worked 55-60 hours a week. It didn't seem to be too much, because I was accustomed to those hours. But, along the way, I changed my attitude. Now, I work an average of 35 hours. I still get everything done (I am still a perfectionist) but when I'm at work, I WORK. No distractions, no conversations about sports or the TV shows last night or...just get the job done and leave! (Fortunately, I'm on salary so I don't have to put in the hours to build up my paycheck. I'm paid to get results, and I get those results in fewer hours by staying focused. Some people couldn't get away with that).

I've also become less of a consumer. I have most everything I need, because I no longer "need" the latest of everything. I have two cars - not new, but in good condition. I have a 53" TV - the old rear-projection behemoth, not the new slim plasma set. But good enough. And paid for!

The lyrics of a song say it all: "It's not getting what you want, it's wanting what you have". Life is good.
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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:42 am

I've always tried to be thankful for what I have and appreciate it, particularly for being born in the U.S. which makes prosperity such a reality.

As for keeping up with the Joneses, I think that can be attributed in large part to two things:

A lot of those things are really nice to have. I particularly appreciate my computer, my 42" plasma TV, air conditioning and indoor plumbing.

I think there's a survival component to all this, the higher on the "have" scale we are, the better the chances our progeny will have. That's probably what's behind the large majority's motivations, but evolution still provides for the mavericks that strike out on their own for evolution's sake, and maybe even their own sakes. Having a spouse stay at home (a luxury nowadays) and homeschool the kids apparently has an evolutionary advantage over two working parents who send their kids to public school, who are cared for during work by strangers, or later, have to let themselves in at home.

It's interesting that in wealthy one working spouse households, the second spouse rarely does that much. The cooking and cleaning can be done by the "help", and they can afford private school which is probably better than most homeschooling (particularly with the religious indoctrination involved in most homeschooling). But the value placed on material wealth, beauty and who you know can easily swamp the value of education, for the parents and the children. They're still, in essence, just following the herd with its big disadvantage, a lack of emphasis and training in rational thought.
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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:24 pm

My experience would lead to a different take. I had good,challenging work. My skills were not particularly unique but in high demand. Early in my career I worked 60 hour weeks gladly, new experiences, new knowledge, new challenges. Generally I was appreciated and well paid. I was on salary. So extra hours didn’t necessarily mean extra pay. I could have made more as a consultant. But I didn’t like the skill set necessary to go out on my own (contracts, accounting, legal stuff), so I stayed with the techie stuff and worked a lot of hours. The rewards were a nice house, trips abroad, good food, beer and wine, and shows in NYC and Chicago. I knew something about California. And had friends around the country. Nearer the end of my career my company came up with a plan to reward employees for ‘billable’ time as consultants. So I went on the road. It nearly doubled my income for a couple of years. I typically worked 60+ hours a week. But I was on the road Monday to Friday. I got home each weekend. It didn’t make much difference to my personal life. Except: I got a little fatter, my blood pressure edged up and I wasn’t enjoying my family as much. It was the trade off I made. When the company offered me early retirement. I jumped on it. We lowered our ‘life’ style a lot. I think it was the right thing to do, but I do miss the interactions of work a bit. I now spend my time idling about. If I have a list of 6 things to do, I might remember to do one or two, depending.

So I would say, the long weeks during my career were worth it: I was able to save enough to retire early. I have the things I need. I am healthy (lost a few pounds, and my blood pressure is where it should be). My hair seems to be falling out a little less.

It is easier to work 40+ hour weeks when you have intellectually good work and you are well compensated.
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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:05 pm

Aaron wrote:
Yes I guess it's a subjective thing. I'd prefer spending more time at home with my family than at work and I'd take less pay for it too.

Find another job that allows you to do this Wink

Aaron wrote:

It seems to me that people just want more and more these days. Back in the 50's people were happy to live in a 1200 square foot cape with a single car and maybe a TV and a radio. Now a 2000 square foot house is small, people drive $30,000 SUV's, and there is a TV with cable in every room, along with the personal computer, IPod, and whatever other gadget everyone has to have.

Yes, people want many things. And there is more wealth in the world than there was in the 50's.

I think wealth creation does wonders for society, but over-indulgence pushes things the other direction. Moderation seems to be key to me, not that everything I do is in proper moderation...

I believe societies have always had "gadgets" of some sort that everyone "had to have", and I am sure it will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future.

Aaron wrote:

It seems to me that if people valued their spare time and time with their families a little more then material possession the productivity gains that we've made over the last 100 years would equate to more leasure time. Instead it has just equated to people being able to own more crap.

If leisure time is the ultimate goal, you have a point. But why should more leisure time be any better than more material possession. (me, playing advocate)
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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:11 pm

Paul Anthony wrote:
This is an interesting topic. Many people would kill for the privilege of working only 40 hours a week! So many people work more than that, or work two jobs totaling much more! All to earn enough money to live an average life - which would have only been average to a millionaire 100 years ago.

We have been sold on the idea that we have to have it all. "Buy now, pay later" has taken on an ominous meaning, hasn't it? Most people are so hopelessly in debt that they could not survive one month if their paychecks stopped. Where is the quality in such a life?

When I started my current job 8+ years ago, I worked 55-60 hours a week. It didn't seem to be too much, because I was accustomed to those hours. But, along the way, I changed my attitude. Now, I work an average of 35 hours. I still get everything done (I am still a perfectionist) but when I'm at work, I WORK. No distractions, no conversations about sports or the TV shows last night or...just get the job done and leave! (Fortunately, I'm on salary so I don't have to put in the hours to build up my paycheck. I'm paid to get results, and I get those results in fewer hours by staying focused. Some people couldn't get away with that).

I've also become less of a consumer. I have most everything I need, because I no longer "need" the latest of everything. I have two cars - not new, but in good condition. I have a 53" TV - the old rear-projection behemoth, not the new slim plasma set. But good enough. And paid for!

The lyrics of a song say it all: "It's not getting what you want, it's wanting what you have". Life is good.

Kudos to ya' Mr. Paul Anthony!

I went through a similar transformation. I now focus much more at work, and get more done, in less time. I don't surf the net like a used to. When talking about non-work stuff, I try to limit it, and not let it go on for too long. And it makes a huge difference!

I am quite sure this helped me get a promotion (level 2 to level 3 Engineer). And it really is a wonderful feeling.

Now, if I could just do more of that at home....
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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Fri Nov 23, 2007 2:21 pm

Beowulf wrote:
My experience would lead to a different take. I had good,challenging work. My skills were not particularly unique but in high demand. Early in my career I worked 60 hour weeks gladly, new experiences, new knowledge, new challenges. Generally I was appreciated and well paid. I was on salary. So extra hours didn’t necessarily mean extra pay. I could have made more as a consultant. But I didn’t like the skill set necessary to go out on my own (contracts, accounting, legal stuff), so I stayed with the techie stuff and worked a lot of hours. The rewards were a nice house, trips abroad, good food, beer and wine, and shows in NYC and Chicago. I knew something about California. And had friends around the country. Nearer the end of my career my company came up with a plan to reward employees for ‘billable’ time as consultants. So I went on the road. It nearly doubled my income for a couple of years. I typically worked 60+ hours a week. But I was on the road Monday to Friday. I got home each weekend. It didn’t make much difference to my personal life. Except: I got a little fatter, my blood pressure edged up and I wasn’t enjoying my family as much. It was the trade off I made. When the company offered me early retirement. I jumped on it. We lowered our ‘life’ style a lot. I think it was the right thing to do, but I do miss the interactions of work a bit. I now spend my time idling about. If I have a list of 6 things to do, I might remember to do one or two, depending.

So I would say, the long weeks during my career were worth it: I was able to save enough to retire early. I have the things I need. I am healthy (lost a few pounds, and my blood pressure is where it should be). My hair seems to be falling out a little less.

It is easier to work 40+ hour weeks when you have intellectually good work and you are well compensated.

Nice. Smile
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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Fri Nov 23, 2007 3:31 pm

scorch wrote:
If leisure time is the ultimate goal, you have a point. But why should more leisure time be any better than more material possession. (me, playing advocate)

Good question. I guess that goes back to what people value in life. Some of it has to do with personallity type, some of it with personal interests, and some of it's developmental (ie... "maslow's hierarchy of needs", Spiral Dynamics, etc...).

From my perspective this song also says it pretty good...


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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Sat Nov 24, 2007 3:45 am

i work four 12hr shifts. thats 48 hrs but i get in about 30mins early to check out the truck and all the equipment. and we can be held over an additional 4hrs per shift if system levels are low which is common. so i can work up to 66hrs during a regular work week and thats not including working extra days because they need more boots on the ground.

in addition to that we have regular monthly meetings that are mandatory, and i'm an evoc instructor so i have to teach emergency driving too. so it doesn't look like i'm gonna get in on the 30hr week for a while.
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Helium



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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Sun Nov 25, 2007 3:10 am

Look, we are all twice as busy as we should be, twice as infatuated with the latest technological trinkets when twice as much concentration on an actual art would lead to twice as much erudition. Instead, much to our woe, we can be likened to dogs who would be wolves except that they are starved of their adult years. All our capitalistic excesses serve only to titillate our senses while our intellect whithers and dies, burried deep beneath idle sensations sparked by the glut of empty stimuli perpetrated upon a catonic populace sedated by the grinding and ever growing and unceasing wheel of consumerism.
Cheers!
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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:36 am

Helium wrote:
Look, we are all twice as busy as we should be, twice as infatuated with the latest technological trinkets when twice as much concentration on an actual art would lead to twice as much erudition.

That and I find the materialism of our culture to be generally lacking in spirituality. Having said that we do owe much of our level of comfort to this materialistic mindset. I do think it's time for a new paradigm however.

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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:37 am

Helium wrote:
All our capitalistic excesses serve only to titillate our senses while our intellect whithers and dies, burried deep beneath idle sensations sparked by the glut of empty stimuli perpetrated upon a catonic populace sedated by the grinding and ever growing and unceasing wheel of consumerism.
Cheers!

You just had to throw that "capitalistic" in there didn't you.Sleep Socialism and it's educational dumb down indoctrination is just as much (or more) to blame. SleepSleep Anyway, how we waste our lives or not is still an individual decision. Is your intellect withering and dying? pale What are we doing here now, consuming, or using technology for a higher purpose? Yin Yang
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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Sun Nov 25, 2007 6:04 pm

Quote :
What are we doing here now, consuming, or using technology for a higher purpose?

I would think you're using technology for a higher purpose when you read my posts, yes!


Quote :
You just had to throw that "capitalistic" in there didn't you.

Well I threw in capitalistic "excesses". I'm long on record as saying capitalism is the best economic system going.'
But it is an economic system not a wholistic system which is the role it is now forced to play, given the spirtual vacuum that pervades western civilization.


Quote :
Socialism and it's educational dumb down indoctrination is just as much (or more) to blame.

Nah, that's your usual red herring against me. I'm no socialist. Remember I'm a Libertarian on the individual level, so I agree with you on individual empowerment, responsibility, etc. Where we disagree is the best form of society in which that individuality could flourish.

Quote :
Anyway, how we waste our lives or not is still an individual decision. Is your intellect withering and dying?
Well since you ask, yes, I am suspicious of creeping senility.
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Paul Anthony

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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Sun Nov 25, 2007 7:42 pm

This may be a good place to introduce a scientific theory.

Paul Anthony's Law of Physics:

"A mind in motion tends to stay in motion.
Minds at rest tend to stay at rest".

It is up to each of us as individuals to choose what we do with our minds, regardless of our circumstances. Smile
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Helium



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PostSubject: Re: The 40 hour work week   Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:20 pm

Quote :
"A mind in motion tends to stay in motion.
Minds at rest tend to stay at rest".

Yes, unfortunately my wife would like a little less motion in my mind and a little more in my body! Embarassed
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