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On Point On Slacking

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the stuff-to-listen-to dept.

524

Wellington Grey writes "This week the NPR show On Point has an excellent episode exploring slacking and the American work ethic. (note that it's audio) It touches on some issues that may be of interest to geeks such as outsourcing, the church of the subgenius and the eternal conflict between wanting to be a lazy bum and wanting to work hard. What do slashdotters think: does America need more slack or more work?" It is summer vacation after all, right?

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slack or work? (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436713)

What do slashdotters think: does America need more slack or more work?

Hmmm. Which category does slashdot fit into? That's what I thought...

First reply to discussion topic (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436775)

First reply to discussion topic

Re:slack or work? (2)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436820)

Hmmm. Which category does slashdot fit into? That's what I thought...
Depending on your line of work, Slashdot can contain a lot of work-related information: software reviews, security notices, polls on whether ninjas could defeat monkey robots... It's all very pertinent to my daily job functions.

Re:slack or work? (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436886)

You keep telling yourself that... : p

j/k. I fully realize that slashdot can actually be a valuable asset at times. I mean, today alone I've learned that my company shouldn't install a giant glass elevator, that including a BluRay drive in the PS3 may not have been such a good move, and that the PirateBay was shut down. I'm expecting a nice bonus when I write the summary up for my boss...

Re:slack or work? (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436899)

That's what our last JR developer kept saying to us when we'd pull up his usage logs, until we pulled up his code checkin logs that were all but empty and showed him the door.

Balance balance balance. Why must everything be black and white, nothing is that simple!

Re:slack or work? (1)

inKubus (199753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436856)

Yeah, they should call it Slackdot.

That this question is even being asked (4, Funny)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436716)

That this even is being asked illustrates a very serious problem in this country. We are a nation of slobs and lazy asses.

I say this WHILE posting to slashdot. :D

Europeans (4, Interesting)

digitalamish (449285) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436755)

Funny, but I am in the process of trying to figure out how to schedule the work I need to get done this summer around my european counterparts 8 weeks of vacation. Eight weeks, not including holidays! Funny, they never get labeled as lazy.

Re:Europeans (1)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436791)

Funny, but I am in the process of trying to figure out how to schedule the work I need to get done this summer around my european counterparts 8 weeks of vacation. Eight weeks, not including holidays! Funny, they never get labeled as lazy.

That's because, as a rule, european folk have enough problems that most people see no point in highlighting yet another.

Again, :D ( -- I am officially renaming this smily as the "Shit eating grin" )

Re:Europeans (4, Insightful)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436981)

"That's because, as a rule, european folk have enough problems that most people see no point in highlighting yet another."

I'm sure those Europeans will be crying themselves to sleep in their beach chairs while you are in your cubicle.

Re:Europeans (4, Insightful)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436956)

Gotta move over there or something.

I've managed to scratch my way up to 5 weeks of vacation over the years. I've had that for 2 years now. Sounds great right? Yeah, if I could actually freaking take them. You try taking 5 weeks throughout the year when your stupid manager only gets 3. It's pretty easy to see that time slip through your finger tips. Sure, you must get compensated, but I don't want an extra 2 weeks of pay that just gets taken in taxes fer christ sakes!

We absolutely work too hard. I'd be more inclined to be happy with very little time off if I was responsible for saving peoples lives every day. But when I do this to line some assholes wallet? Is it worth it? HELL NO!!! The problem is, it sure beats the lines down at the soup kitchen.

bloody f'ing capatalist society.

Re:Europeans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15437029)

> You try taking 5 weeks throughout the year when your stupid manager only
> gets 3. It's pretty easy to see that time slip through your finger tips.
> Sure, you must get compensated, but I don't want an extra 2 weeks of pay
> that just gets taken in taxes fer christ sakes!


Wait, if you don't take your vacation, they pay it out? My company just throws it away - if it expires, its gone.

Re:Europeans (2, Informative)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437062)

If your vacation is cancelled on you and you aren't allowed to take it and aren't offered any compensation for it, well, it's lawyer time.

If you truly choose NOT to take your vacation time, but had every opportunity to do so, you're SOL. (Why would you do that?)

Re:Europeans (5, Interesting)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436961)

My friend just got back from a 10 day business trip in China, and he had one piece of advice:

"Learn to speak chinese, because these people are going to take over the world!"

It's not the Europeans we have to worry about, it's the Chinese and the Indians (from India, not the reservation!) that are going to rule the world.

They aren't "held back" by the same morality and environmental issues we are. When they want to build the largest dam in the world (which is an engineering marvel that will put out as much electricity as 15 nuclear power plants combined), they just do it, and don't worry about the environmental, social, or historical implications.

China has 35 people for every one of ours, so they could invade with nothing but chopsticks and probably win. But they also have huge natural resources and are progressing very, very fast. Their navy will be as big as ours by 2012 (though not as advanced).

Be afraid, be very afraid. (I say that only partly in jest)

Oh, yeah, and they're bringing the bird flu with them... :}

Re:Europeans (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437017)

They may not be "held back" right now, but give them a few years. Just because they have the same mentality of America from 75 years ago doesnt mean that theyll continue to be that way in the years to come. Give it time and theyll soon have their own administration worrying about natural resources and social impacts just as it did here.

Re:Europeans (1)

Hey, Retard... (915400) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437063)

...since when did China have a population of 10.5 billion. 35 times our population indeed...

Re:Europeans (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436992)

Funny, they never get labeled as lazy.

Actually, they do. Ironically, by lazy Americans.

Does America need more work or more slack?

Yes.

To everything, turn, turn, turn
There is a season, turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose
Under Heaven

KFG

Oh really? (2)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436998)

Funny, but I am in the process of trying to figure out how to schedule the work I need to get done this summer around my european counterparts 8 weeks of vacation. Eight weeks, not including holidays! Funny, they never get labeled as lazy.
Ha! Are you being even remotely serious? [google.com]

Not that I'm against it, mind you. I think the so-called American work ethic -- in this age where we're not even ruled by imperialist lords but by faceless corporations that seemingly have no responsibility to society whatsoever -- is misguided and poisonous. I'll take those eight weeks off, thank you very much.

Re:That this question is even being asked (1)

harshmanrob (955287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436797)

I agree. Anytime I walk through a Walmart and see some 45 year old fat slob of a human being in a scooter, it makes me sick. You know damn well he or she could get that weight off if they put forth the effort.

As for the workplace, we have a Unix Admin here who is a woman and all she does is 2 or 3 tickets a day and she spends most of her day writing emails, IM'ing her friends and writing some novel. Oh and she takes 3 to 4 hour lunches as well and this person manages to get a 6 day vacation to Georgia while spending time managing two (alleged) lawsuits and a criminal case against another person and going to physical theropy for her "bad back".

This woman needs to be on the cover of "Lazy American Illustrated" and needs to write a book "Lying your ass off to get a job for Dummies".

Re:That this question is even being asked (1)

harshmanrob (955287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436852)

Oh...my coworker did accomplish something today...she learned how to convert decimal to hexadecimal. I mean damn! Tada!

If I pulled her crap for just one week, I would be bounced out of here fast. She was hired has an Unix administrator with 5 to 7 years experence. She goes around the office asking people how to do her fucking job...daily.

Be on the lookout for incompentance among the ranks at your job!

Re:That this question is even being asked (1)

christopherfinke (608750) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436895)

she learned how to convert decimal to hexadecimal.
Well, duh, doesn't everyone know that you just open up Windows Calculator in scientific mode, type in your number, and then click the Hex radio button? That's what they done taught me in my MCSE courses...

Re:That this question is even being asked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436929)

Careful with those assumptions... While you're right most of the time about the scooters, I once had an overweight co-worker who had started eating right and exersizing, and had lost a lot of weight, until she tore up her knee while taking the stairs (instead of the escalator). She rented a scooter to get around the next few weeks, (and has continued to exersize after recovery) but there was nothing obviously wrong with her, and she said people would sometimes unleash comments like that to her.

Re:That this question is even being asked (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437012)

I work near home for people with physical problems (like paralyzed, bad backs, etc). Anyway, I see a lot of people from that building cruising around in their electric scooters. Sure, they pretty much all look big now but I doubt that's why they're on the scooters. It's the opposite: somethings happens preventing them from walking and such, and physical therapy isn't an option or hasn't worked b[yet]b.

So they drive these things around to go the 1-2 miles to the store and their shopping because it needs to get done, whenter or not they can walk the distance and carry the groceries. In the end, all of that sitting results in a lack of excercise and they gain weight pretty fast.

But then again, I'm sure there are people in the world that just use those things because of laziness.

Re:That this question is even being asked (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436831)

We are a nation of slobs and lazy asses.

I never understood that perception.

A lot of the stereotypical hard working nationalities/races will "slack-off" too when given the chance. See this book [amazon.com] for what happens when the hard working immigrant Asian, Mexican, Eastern European, etc.. has children in this country.

I think a lot of the work ethic of immigrants is because of desperation. They HAVE to work as hard as they do. We, on the other hand, are "hooked in" to this society and economy and therefore don't have to work as hard - or, better yet, we work smarter - because we know better.

Re:That this question is even being asked (5, Insightful)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436835)

No, that this question is even being asked shows we're still burdened by the remnants of a Puritan work ethic. Compare the average American worker to those in other post-industrial economies and you'll find that we work more hours per week and get less vacation time per year.

One of the major differences between Americans and people from other countries/cultures isn't in how much we work but rather in how we spend our free time. Some of us are remarkably sedentary. There may also be stark differences in how hard we work while "on the job", but I've found that, overall, American workplaces are continuing to push for higher productivity from fewer workers. This trend forces each individual worker to be more productive by working harder or working smarter (sometimes both). It's getting hard to slack on the job in many fields.

Re:That this question is even being asked (1)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436870)

Someone needs a +6 Insightful. I would've commented on this myself but it was already said. The United States has amongst the highest worker productivity in the world, and we still get called lazy, usually by ourselves. I hadn't thought about the Puritan thing, but it makes a lot of sense, given the self-deprecation we often engage in when it comes to this particular topic.

Re:That this question is even being asked (1)

wiremind (183772) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436913)

One of the major differences between Americans and people from other countries/cultures isn't in how much we work but rather in how we spend our free time. Some of us are remarkably sedentary.

I think you nailed it.

North americans are viewed as lazy, not because of our work hours, but because a vast majority of us spend our free time watching tv, eating fast food, acting like slobs.

Re:That this question is even being asked (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436873)

Lazy slobbery is the wave of the future. What else are we going to do when the robots do everything for us? We don't want to wind up getting wiped out by the robots because we are useless, so we must become the best lazy slobs we can, better than any robot can ever be. The future of the human race is at stake!

Americans = Fat Slobs (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436884)

We are a nation of slobs and lazy asses.

Yah, I guess. I work hard, though -- I ain't no slob or a lazy ass. This means that sometimes between jobs, I can go weeks without needing any pants.

Remember, kids: Vacation is the distance between jobs!

Re:That this question is even being asked (3, Insightful)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436910)

That this even is being asked illustrates a very serious problem in this country.

I don't think that's an accurate assessment. I don't know how things are like overseas, but Americans take a lot of pride in their jobs. "What do you do?" is one of the first questions asked after an introduction to another person. We put our own personal value into the jobs we do. That this question is being asked illustrates to me that Americans have been spending so much time working that they're wondering if they spend too much time doing it, and if there's something else that might be more important.

Re:That this question is even being asked (2)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436927)

That this even is being asked illustrates a very serious problem in this country. We are a nation of slobs and lazy asses.

I think USA is a nation of people, first and foremost. People don't produce more by spending more time on work. They produce more by having proper vacation, proper breaks and less stress on their workplace.

So the question is far more complicated than it appears.

Re:That this question is even being asked (4, Insightful)

MrWa (144753) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436934)

That this even is being asked illustrates a very serious problem in this country. We are a nation of slobs and lazy asses.

The serious problem being that some people want to ruin the fun for everyone else by pointing out the obvious. I completely agree.

Suprising that the virtues of laziness are delved into much. Not just in Perl programmers but in all aspects of work, the desire to be lazy leads to getting more done with less effort. That's what the policy wonks in the Fed call increased productivity - which is good for the economy.

There is a reason that the US has done so well despite being lazy assess...

Get back to work you lazy bastards. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436722)

Sincerely,

Your boss.

Re:Get back to work you lazy bastards. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436836)

That's funny coz I thought you were away on vacation and didn't have network access.

Sorry for slacking off in your absence.

Sincerely,
Your minion.

Slacking Off or Working hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436723)


Does the fact that I'm on Slashdot give you any indication of how I'm leaning?

More Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436724)

Slacking is easy. Working is hard.

And my lunch break is over, so I'm off to work now. :-)

slackdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436726)

can't post! must work!

Re:slackdot (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436829)

can't work! must post!

Summer! (1)

W3BMAST3R101 (904060) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436733)

I'd normally post something intelligent, but i'm feeling like a slacker today. ;-)

Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436742)

I was too lazy to listen to it.

You can safely bet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436751)

That noone that's reading Slashdot and listening to audio reports on a Wednesday afternoon is actually slacking.

Re:You can safely bet... (1)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436930)

I'm on the East Coast and it's NO LONGER MORNING...

you insensitive clod.

not a bunch of lazy communists like France (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436760)

America rules, France is s bunch of lazy sh*t-eating f*cks

Thanks for the warning... (1, Funny)

Fishead (658061) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436761)

... that it's in audio. Gonna have to wait till my lunch break to listen to it.

I say this while posting before work (4, Insightful)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436763)

I've found that in all of my jobs there are people willing to work and do their job and their are people who will just do what they need to get by.

Personally, I feel this has to do with how they grew up. Rarely do I find someone that was spoiled during their life become a good worker. I think that America needs isn't so much more slacking or working, but the kids do need to be raised to earn what they get so that once they get into a true paycheck job they have the mindset to actually work and do their job and be team member.

Re:I say this while posting before work (1)

fusto99 (939313) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437049)

I'm going to have to disagree with this one. I think it depends a lot on the job that the person has. I was almost the opposite from being spoiled as a kid. The only thing that I got from it was that I need to find a nice paying job so I can buy the toys I never got when I was a kid. I think it all depends on how hard people want to look to find the right job. I know people that make half of what I do and they have to work twice as hard. Of course since I'm in IT, so there is a good chance that I might get stuck working an 80 hour week because a server crashed, but I am ok with that. Most weeks though, I'm mainly here to do a few maintenance things and to be on hand in case something crashes. I am lazy sometimes, but I am also a hard worker.

It's not about me and my dream of doing nothing (1)

MonkeyPaw (8286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436765)

Michael Bolton: You were supposed to come in Saturday. What were you doing?

Peter Gibbons: Michael, I did nothing. I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything I thought it could be.

When in Doubt... (1)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436768)

Channel your inner Wally. He'll help you decide the best course of (in)action to take;-)

Re:When in Doubt... (1)

Kesch (943326) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436858)

Dammit, I was channeling my inner Alice again on accident.

On a totally unrelated note, anyone know a good way of disposing pointy-haired corpses?

Audio???? (4, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436769)

Audio format? What the hell?!

Sheesh! Can't someone post a summary. I don't want to wait to download a friggin' audio stream, I just want it paraphrased for me.

;-)

lack of good tech jobs (0, Flamebait)

a_greer2005 (863926) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436783)

It isnt work ethic, it is enviornment in the IT sector, IT is the whipping bys of every dept in the orginization, we are told to enforce security policy then bitched at by those who issued the order while we carry it out, we are on call all the time, we are somehow responsable for every userland mistake, spam, popups...it all falls to us. The users f**k things up, the IT guys give up their weekends to fix it.

Comments? (4, Funny)

Wellington Grey (942717) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436784)

Comments? How can there be comments already? Clearly these people didn't LTTFP :)

-Grey [wellingtongrey.net]

I've been an avid Slackware user... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436794)

I've been an avid Slackware user since about 1999. I've been buying all the CD releases that I can so I can support Patrick Volkerding (Slackware Project Lead) in this best Linux Distribution ever!
Oh wait... That isn't what you mean by "Slacking"?

Next, you're going to tell me that "Hacking" has multiple meanings too, eh?

The work ethic removed, the Lazy American. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436795)

Work use to be about getting something done, being proud of one's effort and seeing a result. As a consultant I "fix" networks and systems. I didn't built them. I didn't buy them. I don't even use them. I just fix them. I am "good" at what I do but my "work" is a far cry from something my parents would call "work".

I am sitting in the office of one of most powerful men in our state (past tense, he now runs a firm) and I see what he has done and what I have done. I get kudos because I can tap on a keyboard pushing around a mouse. I hate it.

Now, in my spare time I have taken on creating content. Photogography and documentires. That's "work" and it isn't all fun at times but when I am done, there is an outcome with an emotional component.

Lazy? (4, Insightful)

Joe Tie. (567096) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436796)

Most westerners, and Americans in particular, are sleep deprived as the norm trying to get in some semblence of a life between work. The majority of us have also become stimulant addicts in an attempt to make this easier, which in turn makes the stress of the day even more severe. On top of all that, we live in a society where it's increasingly difficult to stay abreast of the latest changes in science, society, and the world and where most of us lack the time to comfortably allocate study time for the sake of pure learning. There's little time for quality family time, especially with those not in our own household. And there's precious little time to work on independant and alturistic projects which in theory could be of benefit to soceity. And if one finds any of that objectionable, he's instantly tagged as lazy.

The world is one messed up place sometimes.

Re:Lazy? (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436971)

Americans as a group are lazy. They spend most of their day trying to look busy while actually doing nothing. The stress they get from their job is often of their own doing, since if they would get stuff done if they would do it rather then work at avoiding it they wouldn't have to worry about everything relating to it.

I'm not saying that Americans are the only lazy people around, but to claim that Americans as a group have a work ethic is a joke. Looking at how hard people work to do no work, it's amazing anything ever gets done.

Often you're sleep deprived because of that 'stimulant addiction.' When it comes time to take an hour or so to wind down to get ready to sleep, you can't and end up spending a few hours you should be sleeping simply trying to calm down.

Re:Lazy? (1)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436983)

Honestly, what proportion of the populace do you think would (or could, even)"work on independant and alturistic projects which in theory could be of benefit to soceity" or "allocate study time for the sake of pure learning"?

I would be shocked if given the extra time that you are describing that most people would do anything with it other than goof off. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but to pretend that there are some high and mighty ideals as you describe is really quite a stretch.

At what point (2, Insightful)

falcon8080 (975701) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436805)

does taking a break so as to relax the mind and body become slacking?
Ive noticed that some of our office tenants enforce a 'no web browsing' rule, but allow employees to head outside for a smoke break...
It blows my mind that certain activities are considered slacking activities whilst others are as necessary as going to the bathroom. Of course spending 4hrs looking over /. might be considered excessive...

Depends what I'm doing (1)

Wootzor von Leetenha (938602) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436810)

Obviously. If I'm doing something awesome in work, then work feels less like work, and I'm hammering away. But if it's a ton of little BS tasks like I have today, and/or programming in VB or VBScript, then I'm slacking. Doesn't matter if it's summer or not.

Re:Depends what I'm doing (1)

joekampf (715059) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437052)

I can not agree with you more. When I have some heads down coding work, the day goes faster, I enjoy my work, I surf less, I talk less, I even drink less cofee. When I have a document to write that I know no one will ever read, or I have to review some dumb ass's code that doesn't know the diffrence between a String and a StringBuffer, or my day is cut apart by 1 hour meetings about bullshit, seperated by a 1/2 hour, I slack. It bothers me when I am slacking, it really does. But it is so hard to get motivated with soem of the BS that I have to go through to actually do some coding, or problem solving.

Not lazy, just unmotivated. (2, Insightful)

Rod Beauvex (832040) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436817)

It's not that Americns are lazy, rather there is just no reward for working hard anymore. Gone are the days where initiave, hard work, and a little ingenuity was rewarded. Now it's just a another day of busy work.

Re:Not lazy, just unmotivated. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15437026)

No kidding. Americans make less than they did 5 years account when you count in inflation, higher gas prices, and other fun stuff. My boss expects more and pays less. I have not gotten a raise for 3 years. Am I lazy compared to 3 years ago? A bit. I put in as much as they pay me for. They pay less, they get less.

What I find amazing is that most co-workers i've had tend to be lazier than me. I hate to be racist, but I've noticed certain groups put in less effort. I really don't understand the indian outsourcing. After working with indians for years, I can safely say the most lazy american is more efficient. I currently work at a university which caters to indian students. We advertise in india. I see a lot of indian students everyday. I'm also a computer science major. Everytime i've done a group project with an indian they always fail and I always get an A because I had to do all the work and even the professor can see that.

Companies want harder working employees? Give them some incentives like a minimum of cost of living increases (that match inflation). Actually promote hard workers, and compensate them. Consider stock options, 401k, other benefits and discounts. At my university, upper level employees get a major discount on laptops and other devices for home use. They buy the systems from dell in volume and pass the savings off to employees. It only takes a few days of seeing a lazy employee get perks or at least not get yelled at before you want to get lazy too.

My boss rewards two of my coworkers for their lazyness by buying them beers after work. WTF. They are more fun to hang out with so they can sit on their ass all day. Come to think of it, maybe I should just follow the indian system of least resistance. Don't do anything unless you're specifically told too and do it half assed so you won't get asked again. I'm limiting my comments to indian technology workers. I've met some brilliant indian doctors.

Watched a phone company ad recently? (4, Insightful)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436824)

"Instant communication, anytime, anywhere", "That's how business gets done", "Business at the speed of thought", blah blah blah.
When was the first time you regretted hearing the phrase "twenty four by seven"?
How many weeks of vacation do the Europeans get?

Goddam right I need some slack.

Re:Watched a phone company ad recently? (1)

happyrabit (942015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437037)

This article [cornell.edu] should give you a first idea, for belgium it's right the minimal is 20 days if you are full-time.... but most people I know have more days (defined by their contract), personally as freelancer it's something between 0 and 365, but this year it will be closer to 0 :)

Calling all Slackers??? (0)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436833)

WTF? i thought Slackware-11.0 was just released!

More slack? (1)

mokiejovis (540519) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436838)

Without a doubt, America needs much, much more Slack [slackware.com] .

Too much work (1)

jeeperscats (882744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436845)

It seems to me that Americans work for the sake of working. We never take any time off to enjoy the fruits of our labors. I think we need to learn to enjoy the things we work for rather than just working for them and moving on to work some more.

The Myth of the 80 Hour Week (2, Interesting)

stlhawkeye (868951) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436849)

I have not met a single soul outside of the medical and legal profession whose actual and typical workload could not be accomplished in 30-40 hours of real honest work. The problem is that most of them spend at least 2 hours a day screwing around, reading Slashdot, reading CNN, chatting in the aisles, or doing make-work while waiting for somebody else to deliver something that they need to continue their legitimate work. Now and then we get a rush ("I told the client you'd have it by tomorrow." "That's 2 weeks of work!" "Well, get started!") but by and large I don't know anybody who doesn't spend at least 2-3 hours of their 10 and 12 hour days goofing off to one degree or another. Or, more commonly, 2-3 hours of their 8 hour days, which means they have to come in the weekend. This is invariably blamed on the boss, who is also goofing around but never shows up on Saturday.

Re:The Myth of the 80 Hour Week (1)

Scarblac (122480) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436978)

Reality is that almost no humans are capable of working every for 8 hours straight. It's perfectly normal to spend some time goofing off, playing darts, etc. It's a normal part of a normal work day.

Re:The Myth of the 80 Hour Week (1)

hador_nyc (903322) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437031)

I have not met a single soul outside of the medical and legal profession whose actual and typical workload could not be accomplished in 30-40 hours of real honest work. The problem is that most of them spend at least 2 hours a day screwing around, reading Slashdot, reading CNN, chatting in the aisles, or doing make-work while waiting for somebody else to deliver something that they need to continue their legitimate work. Now and then we get a rush ("I told the client you'd have it by tomorrow." "That's 2 weeks of work!" "Well, get started!") but by and large I don't know anybody who doesn't spend at least 2-3 hours of their 10 and 12 hour days goofing off to one degree or another. Or, more commonly, 2-3 hours of their 8 hour days, which means they have to come in the weekend. This is invariably blamed on the boss, who is also goofing around but never shows up on Saturday.
Here, here! I'm guilty of this too, but it's amazing to me as I sit back and think of all the time I waste at work. I wish I was kidding. If I just wasted a little less, I'd get a lot more done. It's a shame I was introduced to Ogame recently. Oh well, back to work

Re:The Myth of the 80 Hour Week (1)

SandiConoverJones (821221) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437055)

You, my dear, have never worked in a small, non-union factory, have you?

Too Much Slacking, Not Enough Vacation (1)

Dunx (23729) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436867)

If US companies gave their employees more reasonable vacation allowances, they wouldn't need to slack so much at work to stay sane.

Yes, I have answered the question rather than listened to the program. I'll download it later and listen in the car.

Both, and we need them bad. (1)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436871)

We need more resting when we're supposed to rest, so we aren't completely exhausted when we need to work. When we're not at work, we're doing a million other things, never resting.

We're a country of poeple that are burnt out, trying to make up for it by working more.

Idling.. (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436882)

TFA: "Every man is, or wants to be, an idler," wrote the great Samuel Johnson in 1758.

I don't think this is necessarily true.. if I didn't have to work, and had a complete life of leisure, I wouldn't be happy. I'd need to do work of one form or another. It would definitely be something I enjoyed (no doubt for bad/average pay - enjoyable jobs seem to have that kind of relationship). I may be in the minority here, but, you know, a surprising number of people who win the lottery here state the same thing.

Then again, both my parents came into this country (England) from overseas (China, France) so maybe it's the immigrant ethic. Who knows.

It's all about "The Goal" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436891)

The Goal : A Process of Ongoing Improvement.
Who Moved My Cheese?

Most people don't like change. Especially in the tech world, you adapt, or you go under.

I moved your damn cheese. (1)

Medievalist (16032) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437008)


Make your own cheese, you freeloading rodent!

Neither. We need more vacation days. (5, Insightful)

Weaselmancer (533834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436894)

Seriously, we need more vacation. If we got more vacation, we wouldn't need to slack off at work at all. We'd be rested enough to do our jobs. But we don't get nearly enough. [infoplease.com] We're not slacking - we're dog tired, burnt out, whatever you want to call it. Give us more time off and I'll bet productivity will go up more than enough to compensate.

And cut out PTO while you're at it. Only thing that does is lump your vacation days and your sick days together. It'd be a good idea if we got enough of them but we don't. So every time someone at the office gets the flu, they think "If I take sick days off I'm losing vacation days - and I want to go to the Bahamas this year" and come to the office anyways. And get everybody sick.

Stop treating time off like a loss to the company - it isn't. Healthy and happy workers make for a better company.

On the issue of slack.. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436897)


It's not workload. It's stressload. BIG difference.

I can have a metric shitload of work on my plate, and still enjoy every last second of it, and truly enjoy my job --- However, on the other side of that coin, I can have one thing on my plate so stressful that i'll become physically ill.

High stress = depressed immune system response = more likely to come down with garden variety cold/flu bugs. I tracked it once -- During a long-duration "we really shouldn't be implementing this but management says to do it" project, my blood pressure went up 25 points, and stayed there for two months solid. I also left work early at least 3 times during that period, out of frustration or simply because I felt horrible, and had to call in sick/work from home for at least as many days.

Solid work ethic comes when stress is low, regardless of workload; There have been times when being on call and coming in at 3 in the morning is actually fun. Slacking comes when stress is high, regardless of workload; At 3 in the morning, sometimes I wish I could just flip over and go back to sleep.

We're all procrastinators of varying degrees, and thankfully, there are remarkably few truly worthless slackers. Most people have a surprisingly good work ethic, and are devoted to their jobs.

The solution to eliminating slack is not to heap gargantuan problems on the shoulders of one employee, but rather try to identify what tasks really should be shared among several individuals in order to distribute the stress impact. Otherwise it's feast or famine for the average employee's workload, and the door is open to building styrofoam cup and paper clip sculptures.

Cheers,
Bowie

Walk before you run (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15436904)

Whether we need more slack or more work is the wrong question to ask. In America we are failing at a very basic level to provide our employers (and the economy) with quality work output. I don't mean products, but the lack of effort and pride that I see each and every day. Think back to the last day you had to run errands and have a meal out. How many stores and restaurants was the service poor at? For me it is the norm, not the exception to find people doing the bare minimum to keep their jobs. Do a job you like and do it as well as you can. Doesn't matter if it is building software or waiting on tables. And if you have employees that are barely passing muster - it is your job as their manager to help them do their job better or to replace them. It seems no matter how much you pay you can find terrible service or performance at all levels and sectors of our economy. Get everyone doing a good job and out work output would skyrocket. As employees create more output they are worth more to the company and will get more compensation. Then each of us can determine where our income is that will let us take more time off of work each year.

That's Bob "Ali-Baba" Dobbs to you. (1)

atomic-penguin (100835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436908)

The Church of the Subgenius is being outsourced! What a travesty. It figures, they were just a bunch of slackers anyway.

All good things are due to slackers (4, Interesting)

paiute (550198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436909)

One day a gang of energetic citizens was diggin a trench with their hands, but a slacker said "That's too much work" and went off and invented the shovel.

Time passes. Hard-working men are digging a canal with shovels. A slacker stayed home one day and invented the backhoe.

Etc.

Eli Whitney? Slacker. Too lazy to lift a flail.
Fulton? Too slack to row.
Edison? A slacker with good a good PR department.

slacking... (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436911)

well, it's not the summer vacation in England (damn exams until 13th of june), but when i read "slacking" I though first and foremost of Slackware; have I been spending too much time on /.

Which brings me nicely on to my point... isn't /. just a way of slacking off whilst learning just enough to feel like your not wasting you life, backed up with the occasional approval of people you don't know (which is nice)... nice to see the cycle complete.

From a Canadian Perspective... (4, Insightful)

farrellj (563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436922)

For the years I worked in the US, I worked more national holidays, unpaid overtime, and from home than any job, including my own business, in Canada. I believe that studies find Americans work more hours than almost any where else, but are ultimately less productive than most other countries. Hours at work do not equal productivity!

I know people who work/worked at a certain US hardware vendor where members of the software *engineering* group are forced to work 24 hour on-call as FIRST LEVEL support on over 5,000 servers at various sites around the US in addition to their regular work. Is it any wonder why they keep on loosing members left, right and center, and can't recruit people? Is it any wonder why their engineering work frequently slips and or is badly engineered?

ttyl
          Farrell

Lack of ballance and respect. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436940)

I feel in America we are loosing the ballance. And it is not just about vacation time. We need schedules that are flexible enough to take a day off on quick notice, without penility or feel like they put a stop watch on you. But on the other hand if we have that flexibilty we need to make sure we don't abuse it as well, like not showing up because you drank to much the night before, or you just don't want to go to work. We live in a culture where there is enough people who abuse any additional freedomes or benefits we get.

The key to less slacking (1)

JelloJoe (977764) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436942)

If you are a boss, and worried about your employees slacking off, just pile up their workload. You also have to make some ridiculous deadlines that you know they won't meet, but that's ok, because you don't expect them to meet these deadlines. This way, they know they are under pressure to get their work done. The key though is not to burn them out, which is done simply by not getting angry when they don't finish on time, that way, they won't stress. The reason I slack off is because I don't have enough work to do, or I have too much time to do the work. (There is also the case in which you don't feel motivated to do the work you are given, in that case you need to find a new job).

slack vs work? (1)

ajrs (186276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436948)

I use http://www.slackware.com/ [slackware.com] for work.

Vacation? What's that? (1)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436957)

It is summer vacation after all, right?

Considering I have accumulated almost 45 days of annual leave and 2 days of personal leave (out of a possible 4), I have no idea what a vacation is.

Oh, you mean time off from dealing with the people who annoy me with their problems. In that case my vacation is when I leave work.

Rate? (1)

Cherita Chen (936355) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436959)

What about the guy who comes in to work, does absolutely nothing from 8-noon (Besides drink coffee and read /.), yet manages to do more work in the last few hours of the day than most do in an entire week... Would he be considered a slacker?

The 80/20 rule (1)

harshmanrob (955287) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436962)

What I have noticed, and this has held true for everyplace I have ever worked or been to, is that in any given organization, 20% of the people do 80% of the work. That is ANY company, NGO, government, or organization on this planet. This means that the other 80% are slackers, screw offs, or just stupid. In other words, filler. The is right. 80% of the human race is nothing but filler.

What? No. (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436965)


the eternal conflict between wanting to be a lazy bum and wanting to work hard.


Sorry, but this has never been a conflict let alone an eternal one. People and even other animals don't want to work hard, they want the rewards from working hard; preferably without all that work.

Ancient Advice (1)

hullabalucination (886901) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436967)

When you walk, just walk...when you run, just run...but above all, don't wobble.
--Some old Zen guy whose name I've forgotten

Windows Media & Real Player are flooded (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436973)

If you need, you can download it as a podcast. [wbur.org]

Lucky you. (1)

TooncesTheCat (900528) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436986)

Here in North Carolina we have the shitty labor laws around. Their are no concepts of breaks and or mandatory time off from work. They can work you 15+ hour shifts and you dont have to have a break.

Breaks are only given at the discretion of the company, the company I work for does not allow breaks, cigarette or otherwise. Lunches are included with this, not mandatory.

Also, days off are not mandatory. I worked for 2 months one time without a single day off....61 days of straight work.

Dead tired is the only thing I can explain my life as. People in China may or may not have it worse. But Jesus fucking Christ, this is the United States, land of the free. Where are the breaks for the people that make this country profitable?

Just a few more decades... (1)

mdbelt (704599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15436999)

Just 3 1/2 decades until retirement. Woohoo!
--Begin Sarcasm--
Hopefully Social Security is still around. ;P
--End Sarcasm--

Working on what you love IS slack! (1)

Trespass (225077) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437022)

I don't think there's anything more rewarding (and few things more restful) than working your ass off doing something you love and believe in. Contrariwise, it's hard to work like a dog doing something you think is stupid or worthless.

I always figured most people don't really like their jobs, and slack off as a form of passive aggressive rebellion. It's understandable, but counterproductive. It ends up taking more energy to be lazy than to improve your own situation, whether that be getting ahead where you are or finding something better.

It sounds retarded, but I swear it's true.

You want to know? I'll tell you the real answer... (1)

jwiegley (520444) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437036)

Ah, screw it, this post is too long already.

America needs more jobs (2, Interesting)

blair1q (305137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437038)

We worked our asses off in the 80s and 90s to create the Internet economy so that there would be good jobs for the American middle class in the new millennium.

Carly Fiorina, Craig Barrett, Larry Ellison, Scott McNealy, and Bill Gates then betrayed us by shipping those good jobs to the cheap-labor centers in India and China.

Carly even stood up in a public meeting and insisted that it was the right thing to do.

A trillion dollars in investment, gone in a few months.

If it had been a war and we'd been harmed to the cost of a trillion dollars in writeoffs and lost jobs, we'd be nuking someone. But the war was lost because the people who were supposed to be on our side were on the enemy's side.

There's a word for that.

Conundrum. (1)

hullabalucination (886901) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437050)

Is reading Slashdot while compiling the CVS version of Scribus slacking off or working? Is it even good practice to have a Web browser open on the same machine you're using to compile? Why do I ask so many questions?

* * * * * *
I'm sure I put the Python libraries around here somewhere...
--Me

High Time For A Name Change? (1)

pedalman (958492) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437051)

Does this mean that the name of this site needs to be changed to Slackdot?

Tolkien (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 8 years ago | (#15437066)

"It's a job that's never started that takes the longest to finish." J. R. R. Tolkien (1892 - 1973)

I also think it has to do with whether or not you like what you do. If you enjoy your work, then slacking is hardly a thought. I currently really enjoy what I'm doing. Then again, I've taken the time to make this post and google that Tolkien quote I remembered....
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