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Workaholism In America Is Hurting the Economy

Soulskill posted about a month ago | from the being-productive-vs.-looking-productive dept.

Businesses 710

An anonymous reader writes Work/life balance is a constant problem in the tech industry. Even though experienced and mature engineers have been vocal in fighting it, every new generation buys into the American cultural identity of excessive work being a virtue. Each generation suffers for it, and the economy does, too. This article backs up that wisdom with hard numbers: "The 40-hour workweek is mostly a thing of the past. Ninety-four percent of professional workers put in 50 or more hours, and nearly half work 65 or above. All workers have managed to cut down on our time on the job by 112 hours over the last 40 years, but we're far behind other countries: The French cut down by 491 hours, the Dutch by 425, and Canadians by 215 in the same time period. ... This overwork shows up in our sleep. Out of five developed peers, four other countries sleep more than us. That has again worsened over the years. In 1942, more than 80 percent of Americans slept seven hours a night or more. Today, 40 percent sleep six hours or less. A lack of sleep makes us poorer workers: People who sleep less than seven hours a night have a much harder time concentrating and getting work done."

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710 comments

work life balance is a myth (-1, Troll)

able1234au (995975) | about a month ago | (#47311101)

If you do not enjoy work then that is the problem to be fixed. Find a job you love.

Re:work life balance is a myth (5, Insightful)

TigerPlish (174064) | about a month ago | (#47311111)

You say that now.

Get back to us 20 years from now.

Re: work life balance is a myth (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311173)

This is very true. Loved computers growing up, got into programming and IT desktop, severs and infrastructure and after 20 years I can't stand doing it anymore. I am trying to figure out a career change that I can get enthusiastic about but not financially devastate me. It hasn't been an easy experience.

Re: work life balance is a myth (4, Interesting)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a month ago | (#47311289)

Your mileage may vary I suppose. I've been working in IS/IT for over twenty years now. I've programmed, done tech support, went into server and network infrastructure, then operations and project management for some years, now I'm back in an engineering role doing security work. I love my job. I look forward to it almost each and every day (I say almost because we *all* have bad days at work and in life). I guess I'm lucky for that. I really love my job, the company I work for, and my peers. The pay is awesome as well. Sure sometimes the hours get long and sometimes there are frustrations, but all in all I can't imagine being happier with a career path, realistically speaking.

Re: work life balance is a myth (4, Interesting)

Tuidjy (321055) | about a month ago | (#47311585)

I got excited about computers when I saw a computer with BASIC in a chain store in the early 80's. Must have been a Vic20.

I took an 'Informatics' High School curriculum, got an M.Eng. in Computer Science, and started as 'The Computer guy' in a small, privately owned manufacturing company. Now the company has four plants, 50 warehouses, 600 PCs, and my card says CTO. I still do some programming on the job, but it's probably less than 5 hours per week.

But in my spare time, I take on real programming projects. My last three were a IDE interface for company that uses hardware that is WAY too old, a computer vision search tool, and a video game AI module. I earn more outside of my day job, and have to refuse projects... but of course the day job comes with security and health insurance.

But, yeah, mileage varies. There is nothing I would rather do to earn money than write code for applications where a small memory footprint and execution speed are the first priority. This has not changed since 1988, except that since then I've decided that maybe I can afford to use C as opposed to assembly. And, yeah, I have written AI routines for two games released in 2013 in plain old C, because pointy headed bastards think that AI does not deserve ANY resources...

Re:work life balance is a myth (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311313)

The work part isn't that bad, in fact it is actually better than 20 years ago. Whats bad is the people you have to deal with in order to keep doing that job, they have gotten much worse over 20 years. I would change jobs, but those people are everywhere now.

Re:work life balance is a myth (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about a month ago | (#47311317)

Actually I do enjoy my work. It's great fun and I look forward to going to work a majority of the time.

Started working in 1976. Got into computers in 1980. Part time job programming in 1984. Full time job programming in 1986. Currently a Sr Unix Admin and still do programming for my own stuff.

[John]

Re:work life balance is a myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311475)

So you are a BOFH that got in when companies still paid. Think about what it is like for the people that aren't so lucky.

Re:work life balance is a myth (4, Interesting)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a month ago | (#47311661)

Nah,. I'm 56 and i've had that attitude all my life. I'm not rich, but i'm a lot happier than i would be if i'd spent all my life working in a crap job just for the money. And i've done a lot of really interesting jobs - in possibly as many as 30 quite different occupations, from builder to seaman, from computer programmer to miner, from taxi driver to technical adviser in Afghanistan. Life's too short to stick at crap jobs for long!

Re:work life balance is a myth (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311139)

I love having a roof over my head and some food, hard to be picky when the "job creators" hold all the cards. But hey, maybe less regulations, lower taxes and more h1b visa's will make things better! /s

Re:work life balance is a myth (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311171)

Finding a job is not as easy as it once was in today's job market. If you don't like your job then recommend you suck it up and keep it, because mobility isn't always present.

Re: work life balance is a myth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311303)

Not true. The people of this generation are just lazy entitled snobs. They think applying for a job means submitting a half asses resume and cover letter online. They try this a few times, then give up and blame the economy. Oh, and also they are looking to make huge amounts of money right out of college. Fools

Re: work life balance is a myth (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311615)

You seem to be suggesting that only people from a certain generation are applying for jobs. That just isn't the case. I'm 37 and along with 100 other people was laid off in February from a job I spent 9 years at. I would have gladly spent another 9 years there. I'd love to find somewhere to spend the next 9 years. I've been looking but the jobs aren't there. A few entry-level zero benefit positions here and there, like "network engineer" requiring nothing but HS/GED and the bulk of the job description is hauling servers around. Get fucked. At some point soon I'll have to take a job at Home Depot or something to keep the bills paid.

I don't blame the state of the economy, the economy by and large is doing alright. I blame the companies who continue their greedy race to the bottom. 100+ hard working loyal employees laid off, replaced less than two months later with 30+ fresh college grads and a 50+ "offsite team" in India, despite the jobs never being posted anywhere. I guarantee you bonuses were handed out all up the chain, I guarantee you the business will be hamstrung for the next 6-12 months as the new hires get acquainted to their job and the whole company figures out how the fuck to deal with India. But that's just dandy because nobody looks beyond the quarterly report. Execs and upper management figure 6-12 months from now will be somebody else's problem.

The entitled generation you mention, they seem like the only ones who are getting jobs now because many can afford to work for peanuts. I have a wife, and a mortgage. $8 an hour hauling servers around isn't going to cut it.

Re: work life balance is a myth (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a month ago | (#47311669)

Thank goodness you're taking a reasoned opinion and not oversimplifying and overgeneralizing.

Re: work life balance is a myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311267)

Or make enough money that it outweighs the negatives of the job

Re: work life balance is a myth (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month ago | (#47311593)

Been there, done that, earned the burnout.

It just ain't worth it.

Re:work life balance is a myth (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311301)

I first heard it a long time ago, and granted I'm still pretty young but it still holds true to me:

"Live to work, or work to live."

I've known many people of each type, and while I won't say one is better than the other, I will say that one will give you a much greater risk of dying from a heart attack ;-)

Re:work life balance is a myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311543)

My hobby and my job align. I work for fun. 35-40 hours per week and salaried.

Re:work life balance is a myth (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about a month ago | (#47311305)

The intersection between stuff I'd love to do and the stuff people would pay me to do = Ø, particularly if I got paid to do it. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with my job (37.5 hour work week, decent pay with overtime, 5 weeks vacation, interesting and meaningful work) but I don't love it and it's not something I'd do without the paycheck. If you can't really think of anything else to do than work, you must have a very gimped imagination. I'm sorry.

Re:work life balance is a myth (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month ago | (#47311649)

This.

I like my job. It's well paid and as a job perk I get to read board members the riot act if they act stupid (and being board members with an inflated ego and sense of entitlement, they do a lot), but if given the choice, I'd rather sit at home, develop a few programs I like or tinker with some hardware. That's what I LIKE doing. Nobody will ever pay me for it unless I am insanely lucky, but then again, would I want that? It just wouldn't be the same anymore.

Re:work life balance is a myth (5, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about a month ago | (#47311333)

The problem is, even if you have a job that you love (and I do), that doesn't mean that you want to (or that it's healthy to) spend every waking moment doing it. Variety is important for a healthy life.

Re:work life balance is a myth (3, Interesting)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a month ago | (#47311447)

Variety is important for a healthy life.

Variety is also important for a good job. Take on different assignments, learn new skills, volunteer to fly to Mongolia to get the new team up to speed, etc.

Disclaimer: If you actually do volunteer to go to Mongolia, try to go in the summer or autumn. The winters in Ulan Bator are really harsh. Also, it is not a great place for vegetarians.

Re:work life balance is a myth (5, Insightful)

Richard Dick Head (803293) | about a month ago | (#47311731)

Exactly. BUT, if you're exempt and working more than 45 hours a week you are a chummmmp. So many positions out there just don't require it.

And not only that, if you put up with it, you are making the problem worse for the rest of us.

Seriously.

YOU are the market. If you are putting up with BS, then YOU are making it that way.

If you are underpaid, and overworked, and yet have put up with it for the last 10 years, YOU are the problem. And you're pulling the rest of us in the wrong direction.

I mean, I found what I was looking for in my current position:
* 40 hour work week (more like 38-ish)
* friendly, non-hostile atmosphere
* vary my time slot spontaneously and not worry about being "late"
* generous vacation (>3 weeks right off the bat)
* company sponsored outings for coffee and such
* getting compensated more than any of my other positions, even accounting for inflation and cost of living

It's still work, but work doesn't get better than that. But, to get there, I had to job hop 3 times and move my crap around because of all you fat whiny farkers out there who just sit there and take BS that doesn't have to be tolerated, making the rest of us have to go out of our way to avoid any employer you've slimed with the miserable inertia of your big fat lazy ass :P

Morale of the story...keep jumping positions, cities, hell countries until you find a good work environment. Every two years. Chop chop.

Re:work life balance is a myth (4, Insightful)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about a month ago | (#47311365)

If you do not enjoy work then that is the problem to be fixed. Find a job you love.

After several decades I've decided it's better to work at something you enjoy. Every time I've done something I loved for a living, someone found a way to make me hate it.

YMMV.

Re:work life balance is a myth (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311415)

Baaahhhhh says the sheep

Re:work life balance is a myth (-1, Flamebait)

rtb61 (674572) | about a month ago | (#47311541)

Oh yes, production line workers love being on a production line, road side cleaners love cleaning roads, soldiers love being shot at, food services people love serving serving cranky customers etc etc etc. Seriously and I mean it FUCK OFF. Only the very luckiest few manage to get away with jobs they love, many more than them end up doing jobs they hate while desperately trying to get a job they love ie waitresses and the movie industry and far more than that end up doing jobs that straight up suck but they need to get done.

Re:work life balance is a myth (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month ago | (#47311667)

That's basically the problem. If people would LOVE doing it, and if a lot of people COULD do it, someone would already do it for free and you needn't pay someone for it.

So having a job that you really love means you're one of the select few that has one that fewer people CAN do than what's necessary.

Re:work life balance is a myth (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month ago | (#47311577)

The main problem is that people prefer money to working. The idea that you could make people LOVE going to work already fell communism, maybe it needs to fell capitalism, too, before we get wiser.

Re:work life balance is a myth (3, Insightful)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a month ago | (#47311619)

All things have a marginal utility. Either you are proposing a 168 hour workweek or we are just haggling about price.

Re:work life balance is a myth (3, Funny)

WillKemp (1338605) | about a month ago | (#47311639)

But i'm addicted to workahol!

Re:work life balance is a myth (1)

master_kaos (1027308) | about a month ago | (#47311645)

man I keep hearing stories like this and makes me depressed if I will ever need to find a new job... which unfortunately may be soon. Currently work 7-8 hour days and that includes 1 hour lunch and multiple breaks. Our boss has the philousophy I don't count hours as long as the job gets done. For a lot of people this may sound bad, but for us it works both ways. If work is a bit slow we can leave early, but if something is urgent we need to stay around to fix it. More often than not we leave 30-45 min early. Maybe once a month may have to stay hour late. I also get 4 weeks vacation, and minimum raise every year of double inflation (but often even more than that).
Unfortunately our boss doesn't have much of a succession plan and he is 70 years old... Multiple employees pitched buying company from him but he always turns it down

Re:work life balance is a myth (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a month ago | (#47311715)

If you do not enjoy work then that is the problem to be fixed. Find a job you love.

Ah... the age old myth. So you realize, that bullshit was started by marketing firms on the behalf of employers right?
Your reasoning played out: "Find the job you love, then you'll work for free!!"
That's also the where the idea of a "Career" came from.
"Well, my career is in computers, so even though I could make more helping my wife with her bakery, that would end my career!"

Bullshit all around. It's all intended to keep you working cheep because you like what you're doing, and afraid to leave because it would hurt your career. My ass.

I don't care if you're paying me to nail Scarlett Johansen. You're paying me, and expect a lot. When my shift is over, she'd better spoon with a pillow or something because I'm going home.

I can stop any time!!! (5, Funny)

BenSchuarmer (922752) | about a month ago | (#47311105)

I just need to finish this one thing...

Re:I can stop any time!!! (5, Funny)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about a month ago | (#47311359)

And what's up with this "In 1942, more than 80 percent of Americans slept seven hours a night or more. Today, 40 percent sleep six hours or less" part?

I had to do some mental math to convert those equilvent comparisons 20% got less than 7 hours in 1942, and today 40% get less than 6.

Why would they make me do mental math when they know I probably didn't get enough sleep last night?

And guess how many vacation days we Americans get? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311125)

Federal holidays. That's it.

Re:And guess how many vacation days we Americans g (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a month ago | (#47311281)

I get 10 unpaid compulsory holidays a year. If I do come in to work on those days, I don't get paid any extra.

Re:And guess how many vacation days we Americans g (5, Insightful)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a month ago | (#47311367)

I get 10 unpaid compulsory holidays a year. If I do come in to work on those days, I don't get paid any extra.

And you will be told you have to come in on those days because the company isn't doing well, and not put it on your timesheet in order to not get your boss in trouble. Failure to comply will show up in your next raise... if you are lucky enough to be employed by then.

Re:And guess how many vacation days we Americans g (5, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month ago | (#47311683)

And people ask what unions are for...

Re:And guess how many vacation days we Americans g (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | about a month ago | (#47311335)

Well it depends on what you negotiate with the company. I currently have 5 paid weeks a year and generally have another week in the bank just in case. One company I worked for a few years ago, I negotiated a weeks more vacation for slightly less salary, in part because I know I'd get increases. I'm just that good :D

[John]

Re:And guess how many vacation days we Americans g (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a month ago | (#47311693)

Thanks for proving wage slaves don't exist, John. I was all worried that many people are economically stick in crap jobs, but your anecdotal story has proven how wrong I was.

And guess how many vacation days we Americans get? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311343)

Then shut up and change your job. Or are you not skilled enough to find another?

Re:And guess how many vacation days we Americans g (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a month ago | (#47311687)

In this economy, the question is rather whether you're not well enough connected to find something else. Skill plays little role anymore when it comes to unemployment.

Re:And guess how many vacation days we Americans g (-1, Troll)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a month ago | (#47311535)

I got 2 weeks up front for signing the paper on my first day of an entry level job + federal holidays, dunno what your problem is other than being a doormat.

I know some bleeding heart is going to pop in and say economy and joblessness rates and blah blah blah, well I started in early 2012, and was unemployed since early 2011 and still worked nearly every single day thanks to one up jobs from the computer store around the corner when they got overwhelmed and seasonal temp jobs for more than minimum wage.

the days I didnt work I was at multiple temp agencies and admittedly I sat on my ass for a couple weeks floating on savings after the initial fact. So don't boo hoo cause you grabbed the first trinket on the shelf and are now stuck with it

the work-week is a thing of the past (0)

turkeydance (1266624) | about a month ago | (#47311131)

it's all in the past. adapt or do something else.

Re:the work-week is a thing of the past (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311523)

OMG , you look like the problems in this context.

Sleep Collects Neural Garbage (5, Informative)

Baldrson (78598) | about a month ago | (#47311137)

They've finally figured out why sleep deprivation kills you -- and its also why it makes you make stupid mistakes.

Sleep Drives Metabolite Clearance from the Adult Brain [kist.re.kr]

Problem is it is mainly during slow wave sleep that the cleaning crew works on the CSF, and as people age they their slow wave sleep diminishes.

Corporate Brianwashed Fools (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311145)

Not seeing the outside of an office for most of your adult life is considered as a virtue only by fools. Sadly many will post here supporting this form of modern day slavery.

The wtf moment of missing what life is all about will come when it is too late.

Oh yeah it's "workaholism" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311151)

totally people are addicted to working longer hours. Not, maybe, and this is just a shot in the dark here, the proles are being taken advantage of by the bourgeoisie, business as usual.

Re:Oh yeah it's "workaholism" (3, Insightful)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a month ago | (#47311377)

And the fact we are in an intentionally shit economy keeps everyone on edge.

What choice do we have? (5, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a month ago | (#47311153)

Calling it "Workaholism" implies we have a choice. Companies are demanding we do more with less. If you don't like it there's not much you can do. The job market sucks, and it's never going to get any better. Off-shoring and abundant work Visas guarantee that. You're given X amount of work to do and Y amount of time and if you don't do X you're fired, so you put in extra hours. Again and again and again. Heck, it's even worse for the Visa holders. They're practically indentured serfs. If they don't put the hours in it's back to where they came from with a black mark to boot. And those are the guys we're competing with for jobs....

Heck, is it just me or can nobody in the American Media do anything except blame the workers? Maybe it's because the capitalists own the media... Heck, I don't know.

Re:What choice do we have? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311467)

Blame the workers is easy. This was going on in the 1990s when the economy was shit then, blaming the lazy Americans compared to the Japanese who would work 100+ hours/week and come back for more.

Now, Americans work more hours than the Japanese, and now they are considered "lazy and entitled" compared to the H-1Bs now.

Re:What choice do we have? (4, Insightful)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a month ago | (#47311507)

Calling it "Workaholism" implies we have a choice.

Calling it "Workaholism" actually implies we are addicted to "wrokahol", and the notable feature about addiction is the lack of choice. Maybe some would argue that alcoholics can decide not to be addicted as hard as this may be. I would also argue that workers can decide not to accept jobs that overwork them.

If you don't like it there's not much you can do. The job market sucks, and it's never going to get any better. Off-shoring and abundant work Visas guarantee that. You're given X amount of work to do and Y amount of time and if you don't do X you're fired, so you put in extra hours. Again and again and again. Heck, it's even worse for the Visa holders. They're practically indentured serfs. If they don't put the hours in it's back to where they came from with a black mark to boot. And those are the guys we're competing with for jobs....

Well if the job market is so terrible (for employees) and never getting better, then the obvious thing to do is to exploit that and become an employer. You can hire people for essentially nothing, and rake in huge profits for doing very little work.

Heck, is it just me or can nobody in the American Media do anything except blame the workers? Maybe it's because the capitalists own the media... Heck, I don't know.

I don't really see anyone blaming the workers. I do see people suggesting that workers take appropriate steps to protect their interests. Maybe workers should learn skills that indentured serfs don't have. Maybe workers should take advantage of a world with cheap unskilled labor rather than being a part of the unskilled labor force and therefore causing a higher supply to demand ratio of unskilled labor (as I implied earlier). Maybe workers should actually vote. Workers clearly have an electoral advantage. They, however, continue to vote for republicans and democrats that are selling them out to corporations (or simply don't vote at all).

Is it "blaming the workers" to point out the actions that workers could do to achieve their goals? Is it "blaming the workers" to tell them that no one is going to fight for them if they won't fight for themselves?

If you want something, you need to fight for it. No one is going to just give it to you. If you're strategy is "complaining" about it, then it had better be at a level that causes politicians to be voted out of office, because what is happening right now isn't doing anything.

"In a democracy, the people get the government they deserve." --possibly Alexis de Toqueville or Joseph de Maistre

Re:What choice do we have? (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a month ago | (#47311629)

I think the difference is we either pity or look down on alcoholics, where as people that kill themselves

And nobody has the goal to be the worlds greatest middle manager. You're goal something else. Buy your kid braces, keep your car running just a little longer, pay for your Grandma's doctor's visits.

And again, I'll ask why we're racing to the bottom? There's a difference between fighting for something you want just trying to survive one more day. A man swimming the English Channel is fighting for something, a man drowning is just a man drowning. It's OK to pull him up for air you know?

And Toqueville was a rich entitled prick. Not the sort I want to base public policy on. But nice quote.

Re:What choice do we have? (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a month ago | (#47311651)

whoops, forgot to finish editing my post :). that was suppose to read "where as people that kill themselves working are idolized", but I'm pretty sure you get the idea :).

Re:What choice do we have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311681)

You're missing the point. In America, at the moment, if you make more than 30k, you do not qualify for assistance. If you do not make more than 30k it's also really hard to get by. Even with 40k, you're hurting in most areas of the country. If you do not make about 60k, you aren't comfortable. If you have kids this gets worse.

I'm a sysadmin and I work 12 hour days. I typically work 4 days a week, and if something goes wrong, it's more than that. The same is true of DBAs, programmers, etc... the pay is dropping, the hours are going up, the cost of living is going up.

WHERE DO YOU LIVE THAT YOU MAGICALLY GET FUCK TONS OF MONEY FOR THE SAME WORK OTHER PEOPLE DO?

Oh wait. The way you talk, you're probably a boomer.

PS: In a democracy, the majority gets what they want, the rest are just exploited.

Re:What choice do we have? -- Unionize, dammit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311555)

"Don't mourn. Organize"

Don't let the bosses control the work place.
Don't let the union leaders become bosses.
You have to fight for it, then fight to keep it.

Or you'll get used up.

Re:What choice do we have? (-1, Flamebait)

stenvar (2789879) | about a month ago | (#47311605)

Calling it "Workaholism" implies we have a choice.

That's because we do have a choice.

The job market sucks, and it's never going to get any better.

In different words, there are other people willing to do your job for less, and you don't like it. Your beef isn't with business, it's with the people you compete against and who are either better or cheaper than you.

Heck, is it just me or can nobody in the American Media do anything except blame the workers?

I don't see anybody "blaming" anybody. It's a pretty simple transaction: you set the terms under which you offer your labor and businesses either buy from you or they buy from someone else. No blame involved, and nothing personal.

Socialism is not working (0, Troll)

amightywind (691887) | about a month ago | (#47311169)

This country is losing it. Don't know if you realize it my fellow citizens, but you are getting your ass kicked in the world. Socialism is not working.

Re: Socialism is not working (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311223)

Why, because the US is the most socialist country in the West? What planet are you on?

Re: Socialism is not working (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311375)

It may nor be socialist, but one of the biggest problems is Obamacare. It absolutely kills small businesses.

Re: Socialism is not working (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311259)

Socialism? We don't actually practice socialism in this country, assuming you're talking about The USA. Why is it that the supply side crowd always says socialism isn't working when it's trickle down BS that's driving us into the ground?

Re:Socialism is not working (5, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | about a month ago | (#47311351)

Uhh, you realise that the other countries highlighted, where this is going better, are more socialist than the US, right?

Re:Socialism is not working (5, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | about a month ago | (#47311401)

We've been following the Reageanist philosophy since the 80's and things have steadily declined. Data from the last 30 years prove you wrong.

Re:Socialism is not working (5, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | about a month ago | (#47311503)

This country is losing it. Don't know if you realize it my fellow citizens, but you are getting your ass kicked in the world. Socialism is not working.

That's because whenever you try something socialist-ish it's implemented as corporate welfare. Instead of taxing the corporations and helping the people you're bailing out the corporations and handing the bill to the people. Your version of Robin Hood would involve trying to get a trickle-down effect by handing the sheriff of Nottingham more money so he could hire more tax collectors and guards. Or to use a car analogy it's like stabbing the tires and pouring sugar in the gas tank, then comparing it to a horse.

Re:Socialism is not working (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311675)

You should learn what socialism is before talking about it.

I do not do it because I want to (1)

mrflash818 (226638) | about a month ago | (#47311181)

I do not do it because I want to as a direct desire.

I do it because I love my family, and they depend on my income, so I try to make sure, like running away from zombies and not being slowest..., that I am not the least productive worker, m'kay?

Re:I do not do it because I want to (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about a month ago | (#47311579)

Oh that's cute. You think hours = productivity.

That's what's killing the American worker. And the sad thing is, this was known to be false 100+ years ago.

Baloney (-1, Troll)

Tailhook (98486) | about a month ago | (#47311189)

Muricans that don't get enough sleep aren't not sleeping because they work too much. They're not sleeping because they're playing any one of a couple hundred MMOs and watching exabytes of Netflix videos in 20 hour Soprano's marathons and billions of hours of porn from tens of thousands of adult sites.

Work too much my ass. The parking lot where I work is mostly empty at 9:00 AM, mostly empty at lunch and mostly empty at 4:30 PM (earlier on Friday) and not a soul comes here on the weekend. They might do 7-ish hours a day, and probably 40% of that screwing around on the interwebs. The construction workers building the house next door don't start much before 10:00AM and they're long gone 8 hours later, never put in any weekend time, and half of them aren't even citizens.

The whole image of the 60 hour a week death-marching 'murican worker is a fiction. And their self-inflicted sleep problems have got jack shit to do with work.

Re:Baloney (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about a month ago | (#47311319)

Muricans that don't get enough sleep aren't not sleeping because they work too much. They're not sleeping because they're playing any one of a couple hundred MMOs and watching exabytes of Netflix videos in 20 hour Soprano's marathons and .....................

Bingo. Lots of wasted time after the whistle blows, but also during the work day. Commuting times have a bigger impact, IMO. Many jobs have always required extensive hours... jobs like restaurant ownership & management for example. It is no different today. Besides, with all the time saving and work saving devices we have, we should be able to work a bit more.

the french (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311193)

People complain about the French... but maybe that's the way we should be going.

job security (3, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | about a month ago | (#47311199)

what were we talking about? sorry tired. Hey, my 80 hour work-weeks are what kept me employed during the recession. They couldn't fire me -- I was doing too much work for next to no pay. Yeah, I made a few mistakes. But I fixed 'em. Sure, my salary history will work against me when I go apply for another job. At least I stayed employed in my field. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need some more coffee before I pass out at my desk.

Re:job security (2)

radarskiy (2874255) | about a month ago | (#47311643)

The point is that past a couple of weeks 80-hour work weeks are useless not just for you but for your employer as well. You are providing LESS productivity so it would really be in your employers interest to stop.

Maybe if the economy wasn't so fucked (5, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | about a month ago | (#47311219)

Seriously. Try getting by on $30-35K a year. Now try doing it WITH KIDS.

Cost of living alone is insane. Let alone other things, like an apartment/house, utilities, etc.

Now have a bad month or two. Or get sick, or injure yourself in a way that prevents you from working. Rent/mortgage don't pay itself!

Most people in this country aren't working +40 hours because they WANT to, or because they LIKE it.

They're doing it as a buffer to stay ahead of instantaneous bankruptcy and poverty in case they cannot work for some reason.

Re:Maybe if the economy wasn't so fucked (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311379)

$30k is below minimum wage, in Seattle.

Re:Maybe if the economy wasn't so fucked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311599)

I did just fine by myself in a small (slightly overpriced) studio apartment @25k/yr for two years. That's with my only recuring bills being car insurance, electricity, internet, food and weekly laundry.

I had just enough where I was above the line of living paycheck to paycheck. I could even save my money when I needed to AND I had a recurring martial arts fee of $65/month. This was all on 42hrs/wk.

It's not hard to do (depending on where you live).

I sleep less. (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a month ago | (#47311233)

I don't work any more than 40 hours a week (in fact doing so requires management approval... but that's another story).

i sleep less because I help out around the home. I help my wife raise our children.

Gone are the days when a father would be in the pub while his children is born, celebrating the birth with his mates.
Men have the expectation of a much larger commitment when it comes to family these days. The cost for that is time.

Re:I sleep less. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311371)

That's because a minority group of women decided that working was preferable. Now we need two full time incomes to really get anywhere and even then its touch and go. My fiance would love to be a housewife and she'd stay busy with the ten thousand different projects she wishes she had time for around the house. I'd love it if I could afford her that on my job alone.

Imagine how much happier life would be to come home to woman that wants to see and is in a good mood because she didn't have to deal with going to work every darn day. I know when either my fiance or myself takes a stay-home vacation that we are both happier because their is overall less stress in the relationship.

Oh well, back to work everyone.

Re:I sleep less. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311481)

A true alpha male (tm) would be able to provide that for her.

Where is the tie to the economy? (1)

joeflies (529536) | about a month ago | (#47311237)

With a title like that, maybe the summary could point to the amount of damage and evidence on the harm to the economy without having the reader to deduce it on their own?

Do more with less! (5, Funny)

Prien715 (251944) | about a month ago | (#47311241)

Dear team,

After coming back from my vacation in Aruba, I've decided that in these times of trouble we need to do more with less. We're in a troubled economy -- do you realize how much yacht gas has gone up in the past year? In addition, the Affordable Care Act has made it cost ineffective for our FTNE (Full Time Non-Employee) initiative to continue.

Moving forward, we'll need to tighten our belts and take on other responsibilities. Some of you will work longer hours than usual. My performance bonus is based on how much money we can save, so I'm simply going to let go anyone who refuses to comply with this iniative -- I'm sure I can find someone to replace you.

Cheers!
PHB

I constantly remind myself... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311287)

that while I only make 50k+solid medical, dental, vision, pension and 401k, I only work 40 hours a week and am RARELY asked to work overtime because they just don't want to pay me that much for the work. I also get paid personal holidays, paid vacation and sick days, all cashed out if not used in the allotted year. Union job but I'm at the top of the pay scale and its kind of not keeping up with inflation or minimum wage increases. Oh I also get incentive pay on Sunday and on worked holidays. I'm essentially paid 44 hours for 40 hours of work if I work a full 8 on Sunday. It's not a glamorous job but its doing okay.

That this article says nearly half of all professionals work 50-65 hours a week. I really hope all those professionals are clearing 70k

40h*50w=2000 hours worked with two weeks vacation. $50,000 / 2000 hours = $25 per hour
50h*50w=2500 hours worked with two weeks vacation. $60,000 / 2500 hours = $24 per hour
60h*50w=3000 hours worked with two weeks vacation. $70,000 / 3000 hours = $23.34 per hour

Needless to say, my direct bosses that make in the above two ranges after my $50k are at about those pay scales. If this is true for most other professions I truly hope all these people are living it up in those spare hours and the extra money at their disposal.

Still, I'm also going back to school to hopefully allow myself to pickup some side work and ideally start making investments on a monthly basis as alternative income streams, regardless of how trivial they initially may be.

Cheers

40 and done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311307)

I am a veteran Engineer when I hit my 40 I leave, my work can go fuck itself if they want more. Jobs are a dime a dozen.

Re:40 and done (1)

Bruinwar (1034968) | about a month ago | (#47311417)

Agreed but for me it is a fairly recent thing. Only for the last year or so. That's after years of 60 plus a week. No more.

Look to Japan as a model for what not to do (5, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a month ago | (#47311355)

To see how workaholism saps productivity and rarely leads to better results, look at Japan. Overtime is sacrosanct in Japan, at the company I worked at previously it was a badge of honor that the average amount of overtime was 60 hours a month. Japan has the lowest per-hour output in the G7 [wikipedia.org] , and it's a small wonder why. Managers will often times not buy hardware that can increase productivity because hey, you can simply make the workers work longer hours for free, whereas hardware costs money. The result is a populace that is unhappy, unhealthy, and well dying. The low birth rate is well known, what is less well known is that the Japanese have the least amount of sex in the developed world. The technology industry that everyone once thought would rule the world has come to be dominated by the west because managers have very little incentive to innovate, to increase productivity. And as the cherry on the shit sundae, the low productivity means that wages in Japan are lower, i.e. longer hours for less money. Trust me, you don't want to go down this route.

Loyalty to the co. (1)

seven of five (578993) | about a month ago | (#47311743)

You can't be loyal to the company and not put in boatloads of overtime. Doesn't matter if you're gettting anything accomplished; the company is the be-all end-all and deserves the blood sacrifice.

wow really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311361)

i work 30-35 hours a week from home and make far over 100k

Someone explain this to me (2)

LittleBunny (1021415) | about a month ago | (#47311363)

I remember back in the 1990s (I think) reading news stories about corporations pursuing 'increased productivity' per worker as a strategy for success, particularly in relation to international competition. Is there any other way to translate that language into plain English other than to say that what was desired was less wages for the same amount of work? I never saw it put in quite those terms, but it seems fairly obvious to me that that's what talk of productivity means. And if that's so, there's clearly a downside to increasing productivity. It means less income going to workers in direct proportion to their increasing profitability to the corporation (what some old ruddy-duddies used to refer to as the exploitation of labor, I believe). It also means fewer jobs, as a smaller number of people handle workloads that were previously distributed across a larger number. Am I just not thinking about this correctly?

And the stupidest thing about it? (4, Interesting)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | about a month ago | (#47311373)

If everything I've read about it is true(and I mentioned this in another article here on /.) you literally can't get more than 40 hours of work out of people anyway. Oh sure, the first couple of weeks they do more work but then they get tired and slow and make mistakes. After a few weeks of that they're working more than 40 hours but aren't producing any more work. Go ahead, read stuff like Peopleware where they point this out. (That working overtime makes no sense, you don't get anything but pissed off employees.) Before anybody asks, no I don't work more than 40 hours a week. (And yes one of the big reasons is I'm old enough to recognize I don't get any more work done if I do. Plus the fact you do it and your manager quickly abuses it.)

How much reduced sleep is tied to long commutes? (4, Insightful)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a month ago | (#47311431)

I work my 45-50+ hours a week minimum like everyone else in tech land, but I also normally only have a 10 minute commute. (I'm currently visiting another office and the commute is 30 minutes from my hotel, bleah.)

I know people who are losing two hours of their life a day commuting each way, in addition to working our nasty hours, leaving fewer hours to actually live. It's either cut out eating or sleeping, and thus it's usually sleep that takes the hit.

I could make twice as much money if I committed to a horrible commute but I value my free time too much.

I've quit two jobs, due to overwork (4, Informative)

marcgvky (949079) | about a month ago | (#47311477)

They lie to you in the interview, "oh, it's rare, but there are a couples of weeks here and there, that we burn the midnight oil." Yeah, bullshit. 50-hours minimum, and everyone gives you the stink-eye, if you head for the door before 6PM. Suck it, corporate America. Sell your soul to the corporate idol for NOTHING in return. Once again, suck it.

Re:I've quit two jobs, due to overwork (3, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about a month ago | (#47311653)

everyone gives you the stink-eye, if you head for the door before 6PM.

Look at Yahoo! and their recent policy on telecommuting. It used to be you'd get your assignment done. Whether it takes you 30, 40 or 50 hours per week, nobody will know. Now, you've got to make your appearance at the office where everyone judges you by seat time instead of productivity.

You can land the best job, but when some asshat takes over as boss, it's all over.

in 1942 (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a month ago | (#47311491)

the main source of sustenance was farming of one form or another, and sure they worked less hours as dictated by the sun, but even the most hardened desk jocky would fall over before the day's end

Re:in 1942 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47311753)

You obviously have never done much farming or research on farming. In 1942 it was and today still is one of the jobs in the developed world that requires very long hours on a highly regular basis. You may have more machines and less people now but there are still very long hours.

Would someone please think of the Economy? (4, Interesting)

rabbin (2700077) | about a month ago | (#47311513)

Yeah, nevermind that workaholism makes the overwhelming majority of people miserable--certainly that couldn't be more of a reason (or even a sufficient reason) to be concerned. Would someone please think of the upper class's ability to maximize profits by squeezing the life out of the working cla--I mean the Economy, would someone please think of the Economy?

Innumeracy... (2)

msauve (701917) | about a month ago | (#47311589)

"All workers have managed to cut down on our time on the job by 112 hours over the last 40 years"

In a summary addressing the "work week," how does one end up reducing it by 112 hours or more?

Once upon a time (1)

nytes (231372) | about a month ago | (#47311595)

Does anyone remember that, at one time, the big promise of technology and automation was that we would be able to reduce the workweek for Joe Workerbee?

Somewhere along the way the goal of tech has become to employ as few people as possible, preferably with lower skills so you don't have to pay them as much.

94%, really? (4, Interesting)

JeffOwl (2858633) | about a month ago | (#47311689)

Does anyone else find that 94% figure for professionals working more than 50 hours a week rather high? I know it isn't anywhere near that where I work and we are relatively well paid.

It's All About Productivity (3, Insightful)

mckellar75238 (1218210) | about a month ago | (#47311757)

I've read comments above about loving your job, about pressure from management, about socialism, about Obamacare, and none of them seemed really to address the issue -- at least, as far as I could see. I worked in IT for 25 years, plus another 15 or so in other fields. I absolutely loved programming, the others just paid the bills, but there was one constant: my productivity maxed out at about 45 hours a week. If I worked 50, I didn't get any more done (net, i.e., after fixing errors) than if I had only worked 40; if I worked more than 50, things just got worse. I'm sure I lost some job offers along the way, because I was always careful to ask about overtime and then describe my experience if I was told it would be significant. Yes, I would work overtime if it was necessary; if it needs to be done, then "suck it up" is the rule of the day. But long term, heavy overtime costs more than it gains -- even if it's unpaid.

pls (1)

darthdavid (835069) | about a month ago | (#47311775)

The fuck is workahol?
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