Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Eighty-Hour Work Week: No Thank You

by Tom Bozzo

Phantom Scribbler has a grade-A rant up on the latest nonsense to the effect that educated women who don't spend eighty hours a week in an office somehow are committing an offense against feminism. As PS points out, with brilliant invocations of the Muppet Show and the South Park underpants gnomes that make me really want to stay on her good side, the likelier "-isms" being offended are a combination of consumerism and paid-labor fetishism.

There are several angles that are worth working when considering the imperative to work as much as you can work, including the likeness of many high-hours work situations to fraternity hazing, the question of how many hours of actual productive work are actually extracted in those situations (esp. in the absence of rigorous policing of computer desktops). The celebration of workaholism for the sake of... of... well, neither PS nor I are actually able to put a handle on it, is curious. When Larry Summers stepped on more-or-less this piece of gingko fruit what seems like an eternity ago in blog-years, I wrote:
While I don't normally blog about work, I think I'm safe in saying that my workplace is organized on the principle that it's not worth burning out the staff — junior or senior — by routinely trying to extract such marginal product as might be available from one's fried brain in the forty-fifth weekly hour of making the clients' numbers into better numbers, let alone the eightieth. Of course, this is an incredibly family-friendly arrangement.
I will just say from my little corner of the patriarchy that the ideal would be for everyone to have an actual (vs. Hobson's) choice of how much labor to supply to the market. I am very thankful that my work arrangements let me see these folks before a reasonable bedtime.

(And it allows time for work to proceed on John's ever-expanding fleet of Lego spacecraft.)
Excellent point, Tom! I wish more men would take on the question of working hours v. quality of life. And I hope I stay on *your* good side if I spread a little linky love back to this post...
Thanks Tom and PS!

Fortune Magazine has a great article this month on how us men are starting to support the concept that 80-hour-work-weeks are useless, and gives many examples of companies who improved productivity, and attracted more talented employees, by restructuring to get employees working smarter and harder, not longer.

People are finally starting to realize that the inequity between men and women as a result of workable hours is not due to lack of ambition among women, but due to lack of creativity and balance among workaholic men.
Your son has a "Bono" thing going on with those sunglasses! But I like the "bag of baby" outfit on your daughter.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?