Work hours - #1 issue of our times

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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 23rd, 2017, 10:51 pm 

Paul Anthony » February 23rd, 2017, 5:07 pm wrote:
d30 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:20 pm wrote:
The 40-hour workweek led to the most productive period in history, with amazing progress for decades not just in comforts, conveniences, medicine, etc. but in standard of living and quality of life, plus led to a period of no severe economic instability until 2007, nor major wars.


Much of that was the result of US expansion in manufacturing and trade because of the devastation war wrought on Europe, plus the advent of powerful labor unions.


Instead of "led to," I should have said the advance from the 60- to the 40-hour workweek was an indispensable part of the progress. Labor unions established living-wage jobs, creating the economy-building middle class, yes, but with a 40-hour week including weekends off, the masses now had time to shop a lot - spend those living wages, generating massive, sustained income for businesses and stockholders, with which to research, diversify and expand, creating new jobs, accomplishments and advances - and not just while Europe was being rebuilt as your statement might mislead many to think.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 23rd, 2017, 10:56 pm 

Paul Anthony » February 23rd, 2017, 5:07 pm wrote:
d30 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:20 pm wrote:
The 30-hour workweek will also finally give time back for the desperately needed, substantial and growing changes people will make in their lifestyles, easing them away from the narrow, diversity-hostile, eco-suicidal, human-spirit-killing, hyper-production and -consumption way of life, in the direction of diverse culture, arts, sciences, community life, and growing self-development and personal fulfillments - a cornucopia of activities, avocations, hobbies, etc.


I can only conclude from this that you either (A) have never had a job you liked; or, (B) have never had a job. Hence, your assumption that everyone hates their job.


(1) Had many jobs. Liked two or three. (2) Already established early in the thread: 70% hate their jobs or are totally disengaged (incl. burned out from excessive work hours).
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 23rd, 2017, 11:17 pm 

Paul Anthony » February 23rd, 2017, 5:07 pm wrote:
d30 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:20 pm wrote:There are ways to make it painless for everyone, on top of the fact it will not only pay for itself, in cost-savings, efficiency, productivity - substantially because of more relaxed, happier, enthusiastic workers for one, it will lead to a far more enabling and fulfilling way of life for all.


People who hate their jobs will only hate them slightly less when asked to work 25% less. It's not the hours that make some workers miserable, it is the work itself.


Your use of "slightly" misleadingly "minimizes" the point.

It is unquestionable that masses would be lastingly grateful, and lastingly that much more positive in attitude, if they were relieved of 25% of the time they had to do tedious, stressful, back-breaking or otherwise unpleasant work.

BTW, those who like their work (evidently ~30%) will be FREE to work as many hours as they want beyond 30 a week. Employers will just not be allowed to impose more than 30 hours on them. The worker can sign an affadavit saying his work beyond 30 hours a week is desired and voluntarily accepted until no longer desired. The employer will be free to ask others to also work overtime but it must be at an increased amount of pay/hour, just as is common today ("time and a half," e.g.).
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 23rd, 2017, 11:26 pm 

d30 wrote:but with a 40-hour week including weekends off, the masses now had time to shop a lot - spend those living wages, generating massive, sustained income for businesses and stockholders, with which to research, diversify and expand, creating new jobs, accomplishments and advances - and not just while Europe was being rebuilt as your statement might mislead many to think.


Yes and this extra time and money spent shopping (consumerism?), etc., created a demand for other people to work nights, weekends and holidays. That can create extra jobs for some but it also creates a need for extended hours for others
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 23rd, 2017, 11:29 pm 

Paul Anthony » February 23rd, 2017, 5:07 pm wrote:
d30 » Thu Feb 23, 2017 5:20 pm wrote:
One such way, as part of the 30-hour workweek change, will be the also way overdue National Youth Service Corps. All high school graduates (and dropouts) will be required to give two years of service to their country, in dire national needs like infrastructure; and to greatly facilitate and ease the transition to 30-hour workweeks, the number of them needed for it will assist all small and mid-size businesses in need of some free labor while they adjust to the new 30-hour workweek.


Your answer to businesses that are unable or unwilling to foot the bill for this is to provide them with slave labor?


"Unwilling" is not an option vis-a-vis the law.

Not "slave labor," anymore than compulsory schooling is slave study, or helping with their parents' chores is slave childhood. Their reward is invaluable experience and character-developing pride in contributing to their family, neighborhood, community, state and country. In what tribe throughout history did the upcoming generation refuse to pitch in and help the tribe? An extinct tribe, like America is going to be if it doesn't stop "the slide back to barbarism." [Arthur C. Clarke]
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 23rd, 2017, 11:40 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 23rd, 2017, 5:52 pm wrote:While I agree with many of Paul's points, there are a few others that need to be addressed.

d30 wrote:Automation is continually and acceleratingly eliminating the number of jobs available, at a time when increasing population is increasing the number of jobs needed.


Of course this has been going on for a long period of time. Why not just legislate away assembly lines, etc? Bring back the secretarial pools with hundreds of typists instead of mimeograph machines? Get more people back into the mines or out chopping weeds in the fields? Pol Pot's agrarian revolution didn't do well but maybe it is worth another shot?


This argument is exclusively about the present and past. What we're talking about is a future, if we're to have one. Change is unavoidable. The only change you see is going back. We desperately need to go forward, FD.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 23rd, 2017, 11:54 pm 

You mistake me. What I see here is that you are suggesting something that you believe (I hope) will be better for more people. Obviously (I also hope) you know that it will not be better for everyone so either you have to find some way of imposing this will of yours on everyone or address what happens when people decide to ignore or take advantage of loopholes - which will absolutely happen. In the case of the latter, you would have to become protectionist, like Trump (and me), and deal with the inevitable consequences (e.g., inflation). So it is not just a question of whether you do have the "right idea" but also the mechanics of bringing it about.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 23rd, 2017, 11:59 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 23rd, 2017, 5:52 pm wrote:
d30 wrote:Must be gradual. The change to a 30-hour workweek is a perfectly gentle thus first step that will open the door to steady, gradual socio-economic change, though instantly creating a massive number of jobs (tens of millions), solving that huge dilemma right away.


Well of course, we do have a lot more of these - they are called part-time jobs. You or anyone could probably find one if thats all you wanted. The problem is that they don't pay enough. Now you certainly could legislate that they all pay much more and offer benefits but it should be obvious that there will be a lot of inflation. It probably wouldn't be exactly a 1 to 1 increase (many profit margins would have to absorb the rest - but which ones?) but it would still be a stiff increase in inflation. How would you deal with that?


How did they deal with it in 1937, when employers suddenly had to pay workers while getting only 40 hours a week from them instead of 60? It not only worked itself out, it was part of America becoming the economic envy of the world.

When faced with a problem, you work it out - a lesson lost on the powers that be, who somehow worked out a way to stop providing living-wage full-time jobs, to become superrich instead, instead of applying their cleverness to "establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility...and "promote the general welfare" (Preamble: U.S.A. Constitution).

Again, when faced with a problem, you find the solution, if sane. The crisis today is refusal to acknowledge, face, not one but two problems - enormous problems: (1) ecological destruction and (2) vanishing jobs.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 24th, 2017, 12:13 am 

Forest_Dump » February 23rd, 2017, 5:52 pm wrote:
d30 wrote:The 30-hour workweek will also finally give time back for the desperately needed, substantial and growing changes people will make in their lifestyles, easing them away from the narrow, diversity-hostile, eco-suicidal, human-spirit-killing, hyper-production and -consumption way of life, in the direction of diverse culture, arts, sciences, community life, and growing self-development and personal fulfillments - a cornucopia of activities, avocations, hobbies, etc.


I am curious as to how much of this or these changes would actually be mandated by you or whoever was in charge.


They can, of course, pursue whatever ideas and dreams they want to, constrained only by civilized values such as the Golden Rule, and "as long as no others are intentionally harmed," and democratically legislated laws.

What if people wanted to work more than 30 hours a week at their jobs (like me) or take on two or more of these jobs (like many do now whether you or I think they need to or not). I assume you would allow them to get paid for their work (as opposed to the development of an increased underground economy).


Those who like their work (evidently ~30%) will be FREE to work as many hours as they want beyond 30 a week. Employers will just not be allowed to impose more than 30 hours on them. The worker can sign an affadavit saying his work beyond 30 hours a week is desired and voluntarily accepted until no longer desired. The employer will be free to ask others to also work overtime but it must be at an increased amount of pay/hour, just as is common today ("time and a half," e.g.).

Or would you mandate that people attend a certain number of hours a week at some government approved cultural activities.


Already answered in my first paragraph here. Obviously, no one's life may be other-directed in a free country.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 24th, 2017, 12:17 am 

d30 wrote:How did they deal with it in 1937, when employers suddenly had to pay workers while getting only 40 hours a week from them instead of 60? It not only worked itself out, it was part of America becoming the economic envy of the world.


You keep overlooking the fact that this was in the middle of the Great Depression and anyone working even 10 hours a week was pretty well off even without an increase in pay. So your "it will work itself out" will mean that many or most people will just have to accept less pay and benefits. Which is the problem we do face today due to competition from overseas and does not exactly do anything to address the unequal distribution of wealth. Better to leave things as they are, I would say, and anyone who wants to work fewer hours can always quit their full time job and pick up a part time one with the same result.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 24th, 2017, 12:21 am 

Forest_Dump » February 23rd, 2017, 5:52 pm wrote:
d30 wrote:(1) When the work week was reduced circa 1937, it was an instantaneous cut of TWENTY hours, from 60 to 40. The 30-hour workweek will be a cut of only TEN hours, thus that much more manageable.


Of course I couldn't help but notice that this was after the Great Depression had been rolling along for 7 years - and would for a couple of more because this DIDN'T end the depression.


I'm sure I never said it did. I said the 40-hour week was indispensable to the generally booming U.S. economy, advances, progress 1945-1968. (Originally saying the 40 hr wk "led to" all that, but Paul led me to correct that, now saying the 40 hr wk was a big though not the sole part of all that boom and progress.)
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 24th, 2017, 1:00 am 

Forest_Dump » February 23rd, 2017, 5:52 pm wrote:
d30 wrote:One such way, as part of the 30-hour workweek change, will be the also way overdue National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). All high school graduates (and dropouts) will be required to give two years of service to their country, in dire national needs like infrastructure; and to greatly facilitate and ease the transition to 30-hour workweeks, the number of them needed for it will assist all small and mid-size businesses in need of some free labor while they adjust to the new 30-hour workweek.


Of course many will want that to be mostly military service.


Only those ignoring the all-threatening, vanishing-jobs and dying ecology crises, who are fine with lavishing even more largess on the military instead. (You, FD, and Paul, keep ignoring these, the gargantuan problems others are trying to solve, as with this thread; addressing everything else but. Questioning a proposal is certainly valid, but that's all you seem to intend to do, never sprinkling in an innovative idea, a solution of your own, or at least a supporting idea like Brainvat did. Your thinking seems to be entirely challenge, challenge, not help, help).

Obviously there is a very real danger of eliminating some jobs by going into competition against some.


The NYSC is for finally attending desperate national needs such as increasingly dangerously deteriorated infrastructure, providing extra help for hospitals and health care help to masses who can't afford insurance, national beautification, reviving terrain toxified by government and private enterprise. Areas where the NYSC will clearly find no competition, and no protest from private enterprise, they and the government content to extensively ignore all such problems going long chronically, deliberately, neglected.

Even providing these people "useful" experience in what could become later careers would likely end up back-firing. Why would I hire an adult to do a job when I could get cheap NYSC labour? Who would I have to pay off to get more of these free labourers than my competitor? And on it goes.


Small and mid-size businesses in need of free help for the transition to the 30-hour workweek will be provided with NYSC conscripts to the extent of their need. A Monsanto, Citi Bank, Goldman Sachs or others inclined to abuse such would, of course, not be allowed, and would not be able to show a need for such help. They will have to take their chances with the law if they abused their country in that new way too, as you here assure us they would.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 24th, 2017, 1:29 am 

SciameriKen » February 23rd, 2017, 6:15 pm wrote:
d30 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:20 am wrote:(1) When the work week was reduced circa 1937, it was an instantaneous cut of TWENTY hours, from 60 to 40. The 30-hour workweek will be a cut of only TEN hours, thus that much more manageable.


Exactly how was this enacted in 1937? Was it just with government jobs? How could we do it in the modern era?

Correction: I erred. The 40-hour workweek was not federally established until 1946. I'd said 1937, memory probably mixing it up with the time of Kellogg's Cereals' great and very successful 30-hour-week adoption. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_time#United_States

To answer your question partly, the 40-hour workweek came into being because the generation back then, even many of the leaders, seasoned by Depression and World Wars, Americans valuing each other far more because of their cooperation and sacrifices in beating fascism, were humane, brotherly and wise enough.

Wise enough to see that a strong country is made of strong families and communities, thus, thinking in a then far more balanced way of not just "discretionary income" but discretionary time, they moved to give all Americans time enough to live, socialize with friends and neighbors, participate in community-enhancing activities, and pursue the development of their own talents and ideas, free of an employer's tunnel-visioned, material profiteering mandates.

As to how do it today, as stated in an earlier post in this thread, just spread the word, and keep it up. Just make it known ("viral"), because it will meet with vast popular support - from over a hundred million people who hate their rat-race or otherwise unpleasant jobs, or are just desperate for time to get enough sleep at last, have some time for family, kids, spouse, friends, and their own pursuits. Many of them will go the extra mile to make it happen, and some of the rest will pitch in, and virtually all will support them, at rallies, polling places, everyday conversation, etc.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 24th, 2017, 1:47 am 

Forest_Dump » February 23rd, 2017, 7:54 pm wrote:You mistake me. What I see here is that you are suggesting something that you believe (I hope) will be better for more people. Obviously (I also hope) you know that it will not be better for everyone


It will be better for everyone, 100%, if not immediately, then in not long, at least in the fact that both economic and ecological holocaust will be avoided. You wouldn't fault the U.S. Founding Fathers for intensely upsetting the large number of loyalists to the English throne for the sake of an enormous leap forward for all humanity - introducing democracy, the fabulous benefits of which were invisible to the closed-minded of that day too.

so either you have to find some way of imposing this will of yours on everyone ...


No imposing of anyone's will on someone else is considered or intended. It's an "idea whose time has come" - for ALL, including those who don't yet wholly understand its phenomenally prodigious prospects for the human race.

or .. address what happens when people decide to ignore or take advantage of loopholes - which will absolutely happen. In the case of the latter, you would have to become protectionist, like Trump (and me), and deal with the inevitable consequences (e.g., inflation). So it is not just a question of whether you do have the "right idea" but also the mechanics of bringing it about.


Your first sentence there is not explicit enough, but, again, appears to be rehashing a problem of our backward time, not contemplating the far better future and people the 30-hour workweek will bring.

As for bringing it about, there are plenty of very intelligent, resourceful, talented, visionary people capable of bringing it about.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 24th, 2017, 1:53 am 

Forest_Dump » February 23rd, 2017, 8:17 pm wrote:
d30 wrote:How did they deal with it in 1937, when employers suddenly had to pay workers while getting only 40 hours a week from them instead of 60? It not only worked itself out, it was part of America becoming the economic envy of the world.


You keep overlooking the fact that this was in the middle of the Great Depression and anyone working even 10 hours a week was pretty well off even without an increase in pay. So your "it will work itself out" will mean that many or most people will just have to accept less pay and benefits. Which is the problem we do face today due to competition from overseas and does not exactly do anything to address the unequal distribution of wealth. Better to leave things as they are, I would say, and anyone who wants to work fewer hours can always quit their full time job and pick up a part time one with the same result.


It's my fault, but this point is moot, because as stated in a correction in a post above, the 40-hour workweek was not established in 1937, it was 1946, well after the Depression.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby vivian maxine on February 24th, 2017, 8:35 am 

d30 wrote: The 40-hour workweek led to the most productive period in history, with amazing progress for decades not just in comforts, conveniences, medicine, etc. but in standard of living and quality of life, plus led to a period of no severe economic instability until 2007, nor major wars.



Paul Anthony wrote:Much of that was the result of US expansion in manufacturing and trade because of the devastation war wrought on Europe, plus the advent of powerful labor unions.


Very true and a lot of "time and a half" overtime was being paid because 40 hours was not enough. Overtime demanded by the 40 hour a week workers (union) and approved by the government. Will the 30 hour a week workers want double pay for overtime? The government isn't so friendly toward the common worker nowadays. And the unions are pretty much gone.

Comment about hating jobs. I am not sure it's that people hate their jobs so much as they grow tired of the "same old same old". Jobs need "spice of life" to them, challenges, variety. Given that, they might be happier working more hours. Trouble is that many jobs do not lend themselves to what is needed to keep workers contented, happy and healthy. Didn't the assembly lines prove this?
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Forest_Dump on February 24th, 2017, 10:22 am 

d30 wrote:(You, FD, and Paul, keep ignoring these, the gargantuan problems others are trying to solve, as with this thread; addressing everything else but. Questioning a proposal is certainly valid, but that's all you seem to intend to do, never sprinkling in an innovative idea, a solution of your own, or at least a supporting idea like Brainvat did. Your thinking seems to be entirely challenge, challenge, not help, help).


You do have a very valid complaint here. I was aware and becomeing more concerned about the fact that I was not applying the "princople of charity" (or as Dennett was calling it, "Rapaport's Rules"). In fact, I think there is a valuable thread underneath the surface issue (the length of the work week) that is coming out. In order to find or expose that thread, I wonder how much should be spent on the "over burder" (an archaeological term I chose because sometimes it is tempting to simply discard over burden but at other times there is stuff of value in it). So, for now, I will just point out a couple of trivial issues

d30 wrote:Correction: I erred. The 40-hour workweek was not federally established until 1946.


I am not sure the difference is really all that significant. In 1946, a lot of soldiers were beginning to return home from the war and looking for (demanding) jobs and that was disrupting the existing labour force (i.e., women in particular but also many men who were unfit for military service plus some "slave" labour derived from prisoners as well as some refugees although I am not sure how significant the latter two categories were) that had been working very long hours for relatively little compensation. Women in particular were somewhat ideologically predisposed to going back to the kitchens but in fact not fully because they also liked the new-found freedoms and personal economic gains. So there was certainly an economic change that has persisted. For the record, I support this change (which I would take paons to point out was ultimately ideological) but also note that it wasn't then universally accepted, even within the US and still finds considerable resistence. I think the keys here are that this change came at a time of huge change and disruption and the change you point to (i.e., the decrease in the length of the work week) was actually hidden within a LOT of other change, the more important components of which were ideological IMHO.

d30 wrote:or .. address what happens when people decide to ignore or take advantage of loopholes - which will absolutely happen. In the case of the latter, you would have to become protectionist, like Trump (and me), and deal with the inevitable consequences (e.g., inflation). So it is not just a question of whether you do have the "right idea" but also the mechanics of bringing it about.

Your first sentence there is not explicit enough, but, again, appears to be rehashing a problem of our backward time, not contemplating the far better future and people the 30-hour workweek will bring.


At this point I think all I would emphasize is that unfortunately a very small minority can wreak any system and that is a problem that will have to be addressed. In my own field, the "magic number" has been 1 in 400 will be willing and able to disrupt even something like egalitarianism to their own advantage but we can certainly see similar things as in the "1%" meme of recent years, the tiny minority of Muslim extremists "we" are all afraid of, the tiny number of people who convinced enough to vote Trump, the tiny number who supported Stalin, etc. I think we shoud become more aware that it only takes a small number to convince enough others that bad things will be good for all and at the same time avoid becoming the monster we are presumable against. So...

d30 wrote:It will be better for everyone, 100%, if not immediately, then in not long, at least in the fact that both economic and ecological holocaust will be avoided. You wouldn't fault the U.S. Founding Fathers for intensely upsetting the large number of loyalists to the English throne for the sake of an enormous leap forward for all humanity - introducing democracy, the fabulous benefits of which were invisible to the closed-minded of that day too.


Give up that dream. It won't be better for all. Historically, for example, many of the Loyalists moved away to Canada and are still very anti-American (I know some of these people). And, of course, we should be able to immediately point out that it took a long time for the "fabulous benefits" to trickle down to women and black slaves - almost 100 years for the latter and longer for women and some would point out that it still hasn't happened equally yet and might be slipping away now! Some First Nations people, of course, would liken what happened to them as being like what many Americans dread in the prospect of the "fabulous benefits" that would happen if Sharia law were to be imposed on them. In short, you are over-selling something that doesn't look anything like what you are suggesting it is and in fact might well be what you are opposed to.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Paul Anthony on February 24th, 2017, 1:00 pm 

vivian maxine » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:35 am wrote:

Comment about hating jobs. I am not sure it's that people hate their jobs so much as they grow tired of the "same old same old". Jobs need "spice of life" to them, challenges, variety. Given that, they might be happier working more hours. Trouble is that many jobs do not lend themselves to what is needed to keep workers contented, happy and healthy. Didn't the assembly lines prove this?


I don't know if that applies to everyone but it has certainly been true for me. My first jobs were selling things door-to-door (books, vacuum cleaners). There were no set hours and no minimum wage. I worked for straight commission and could work as much or as little as I desired. Of course, if I didn't work, I didn't get paid. It was challenging and, quite frankly, a lot of fun. It also paid well.

But I could not see myself doing it for the rest of my life, so I became a draftsman. Now I worked a 40 hour week for a steady paycheck. It was boring. To make it more interesting, I paid close attention to what my superiors were doing, learning on the job and increasing the complexity of my work, until my boss thought I deserved a raise. He brought this to the attention of the Civil Service Board (it was a government job). They sent two people to follow me around and evaluate my work. After 6 weeks, they reclassified my work as that of a Civil Engineer. Unfortunately, that job description required an engineering degree that I didn't have, so instead of getting a raise I was replaced by someone more "qualified" to do the work I was already doing.

I took a few courses in Real Estate Law, passed the state exam and obtained a Real Estate license. Now I was in sales again and really enjoying my work!

There have been many additional career changes in my life that I won't bother to catalog here. The point is, if work is boring it is up to the individual to find something more interesting. It is not the responsibility of employers to see to the happiness and fulfillment of their employees. People are hired to perform specific work. If they don't like that work, they should seek something else.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby vivian maxine on February 24th, 2017, 1:21 pm 

Those time keepers and other such evaluators need some other work. I once read a story of a man who was left handed and a good worker. Time keepers came around to evaluate everybody. They informed the man that he needed to use his right hand like everybody else so that the company's work would go faster. He said he could not work right-handed. They fired him. The man took that to court where timekeepers and bosses were told a person works best when he uses his natural hand. He got his job back.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Braininvat on February 24th, 2017, 1:36 pm 

The point is, if work is boring it is up to the individual to find something more interesting. It is not the responsibility of employers to see to the happiness and fulfillment of their employees. People are hired to perform specific work. If they don't like that work, they should seek something else.

- PaulA

Interesting thread to me, because I feel there are so many variables in play whenever a social experiment is tried to rectify problems. I mostly agree with the above, with the reservation that some jobs are inherently not that likeable. For such jobs, as a practical matter, it is good to keep employees for a while rather than constantly have new hires, so it does make sense for the employer to do what is feasible to make the environment as good as possible. More happiness makes the burden of a dull job easier to shoulder, and that reflects in better service, fewer mistakes, and smoother teamwork. Workers who feel like staying with the job longer not only improve, but often develop solutions to problems that help the company. It might be something like garbage routes that allow collection during cooler hours of the day in summer and warmer hours in winter, or switching the fleet to natural gas so the workers aren't choking on diesel exhaust all through the shift. Or providing hearing protection to those who stand by the loader/compactor.

I can give a specific example: the crew that did my roof. The owner took many steps to keep his crew safe, hydrated, taking rest breaks in extreme heat, proper harnesses, and the crew went home at 5pm, even though they could have gone until 8:30 and still had light. Did it take more days? Nope. They were quite skilled and efficient (as people can be when they aren't tired and dehydrated and bullied into working long hours), there was sufficient manpower, and they did a fairly major job in 2 days (complete removal of old roof, new decking, new fascia, drip edges, working on a steep pitch almost everywhere). In fact, they are considered the best roofing company in town. It cost a little more, but how much do you want to cut corners on roofing in the Hail and Gusting Wind Capital of America?
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby vivian maxine on February 24th, 2017, 1:55 pm 

An interesting plan for keeping employees happy happens at our art museum. The guards stationed all over the museum are shifted from one spot to another every 20 minutes to prevent boredom which might result in inattention to what is going on.

Not a big thing, no, but shows their concern for employees as well as having more watchful eyes on the job. The guards are also well-informed about the exhibits. When a new exhibit comes to the museum, they get a preview showing before it opens. That enables them to answer visitors' questions or know how to get the answers. I and a friend even had one explain to us how the lighting in the building is controlled by the sunlight (or lack of it) outside.

In other words, make all employees full members of the company. Make them feel a part of the business. I have, in my working life, worked for companies where, if you showed any interest in what the other person was doing, you were immediately suspected of trying to steal his/her job. The same went for showing an interest in what the company as a whole was doing. Do that and you are immediately suspect. This is not a good atmosphere to work in.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Paul Anthony on February 24th, 2017, 2:04 pm 

Braininvat » Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:36 am wrote:

Interesting thread to me, because I feel there are so many variables in play whenever a social experiment is tried to rectify problems. I mostly agree with the above, with the reservation that some jobs are inherently not that likeable. For such jobs, as a practical matter, it is good to keep employees for a while rather than constantly have new hires, so it does make sense for the employer to do what is feasible to make the environment as good as possible. More happiness makes the burden of a dull job easier to shoulder, and that reflects in better service, fewer mistakes, and smoother teamwork. Workers who feel like staying with the job longer not only improve, but often develop solutions to problems that help the company. It might be something like garbage routes that allow collection during cooler hours of the day in summer and warmer hours in winter, or switching the fleet to natural gas so the workers aren't choking on diesel exhaust all through the shift. Or providing hearing protection to those who stand by the loader/compactor.



Oh, I didn't mean to suggest that employers should be allowed to run sweat shops and be completely inconsiderate of their employees' well-being. Yes, making the job safer results in better productivity.

Many companies have offered telecommuting and varying hours to accommodate the needs (or wants) of employees. There is nothing wrong with that, and it should be applauded - but not federally mandated. Employment is a contract between employer and employee. If an employee isn't happy with the conditions of the contract, they should seek other employment opportunities, not government intervention.

But there is another point worth mentioning. We are individuals. For every job that someone finds boring there will be a another person who finds it satisfying. I hated drafting, but I met people who were very happy doing the work I found boring. I enjoy sales, but have interviewed people who shudder at the thought of having to sell something.

Know thyself. Do what you are able - and willing - to do. Don't expect others to remake the job to suit your tastes.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Braininvat on February 24th, 2017, 6:39 pm 

Oh, I didn't mean to suggest that employers should be allowed to run sweat shops and be completely inconsiderate of their employees' well-being. Yes, making the job safer results in better productivity.

Many companies have offered telecommuting and varying hours to accommodate the needs (or wants) of employees. There is nothing wrong with that, and it should be applauded - but not federally mandated. Employment is a contract between employer and employee. If an employee isn't happy with the conditions of the contract, they should seek other employment opportunities, not government intervention.

But there is another point worth mentioning. We are individuals. For every job that someone finds boring there will be a another person who finds it satisfying. I hated drafting, but I met people who were very happy doing the work I found boring. I enjoy sales, but have interviewed people who shudder at the thought of having to sell something.


The place I would see some regulation being useful is in jobs where some workers have no other options, i.e. where they cannot "seek other employment opportunities." Maybe it's the only job opening for someone with limited skills in months, and little prospect of another opening, and the wolf is at the door, budget-wise. Maybe they are geographically trapped by familial obligations, legal impediments, medical care issues or obligations to others, etc. As someone who has done social work jobs, I'm aware how lucky you and I are in the choices we've had and the holes we haven't fallen into.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Paul Anthony on February 24th, 2017, 6:51 pm 

Braininvat » Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:39 pm wrote:

The place I would see some regulation being useful is in jobs where some workers have no other options, i.e. where they cannot "seek other employment opportunities." Maybe it's the only job opening for someone with limited skills in months, and little prospect of another opening, and the wolf is at the door, budget-wise. Maybe they are geographically trapped by familial obligations, legal impediments, medical care issues or obligations to others, etc. As someone who has done social work jobs, I'm aware how lucky you and I are in the choices we've had and the holes we haven't fallen into.


I can sympathize with such folks - with anyone whose circumstances are beyond their control - but what sort of regulations are you suggesting? There are many assistance programs already in place. So many, in fact, that it can be more profitable to accept the multiple offers of help and stop looking for work entirely if minimum wage is all one could hope to earn. We've talked about Universal Basic Income as the next step to address the lack of jobs, but I think we already have that, albeit through a mish-mash of programs. What more do you suggest?
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 24th, 2017, 6:53 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 24th, 2017, 6:22 am wrote:
d30 wrote:
d30 wrote:or .. address what happens when people decide to ignore or take advantage of loopholes - which will absolutely happen. In the case of the latter, you would have to become protectionist, like Trump (and me), and deal with the inevitable consequences (e.g., inflation). So it is not just a question of whether you do have the "right idea" but also the mechanics of bringing it about.

Your first sentence there is not explicit enough, but, again, appears to be rehashing a problem of our backward time, not contemplating the far better future and people the 30-hour workweek will bring.


For the record, I, d30 did not write the first paragraph, as FD's accidental misuse of the quote feature implies.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Paul Anthony on February 24th, 2017, 6:59 pm 

To be fair to d30, he is not the only person who thinks we are overworked. (I'm just not one who agrees)

https://michaelhyatt.com/work-infographic.html
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 24th, 2017, 8:18 pm 

Forest_Dump » February 24th, 2017, 6:22 am wrote:
d30 wrote:It will be better for everyone, 100%, if not immediately, then in not long, at least in the fact that both economic and ecological holocaust will be avoided. You wouldn't fault the U.S. Founding Fathers for intensely upsetting the large number of loyalists to the English throne for the sake of an enormous leap forward for all humanity - introducing democracy, the fabulous benefits of which were invisible to the closed-minded of that day too.


Give up that dream. It won't be better for all. Historically, for example ... In short, you are over-selling something that doesn't look anything like what you are suggesting it is and in fact might well be what you are opposed to.


It doesn't look anything like what I am suggesting because you're not seeing what I'm suggesting - have nowhere near the big picture of it yet; just a distorted fragment of a picture - and of your own making.

Saying "Give up that dream" speaks to your picture. You are the reincarnation of the naysaying majorities of all the ages: the monarchies and aristocrats of Europe who guffawed at the U.S. Founders dream of a new, non-autocratic way of government; the general consensus that laughed at the Wright brothers; at Edison's dream of artificial light;

unable to think outside their box, the huge mainframe computer, IBM and other computer "experts", who sneered at Steve Jobs' idea of a personal computer. "Why would anyone want a computer on their desk?"; the consensus in Boston, people and press, that a subway was a horrible idea, even while their city streets were almost impassably clogged every day by horse-drawn streetcars, and full of smelly, germ-spreading horse manure;

scoffed at liquid-fuel-rocket pioneer, Robert Goddard's dream of space travel: "Goddard received very little public support for his research and development work. The press sometimes ridiculed his theories of spaceflight." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_H._Goddard

Such is a constant throughout history to date, now manifest in the many like you who somehow can't dream, can't open their mind to fundamentally new, "sea change," "tectonic" thinking, judging a future that will be radically different by your ways, means and thinking of the obsolete present and past, as in your "Historically speaking, for example," your common resort: thinking backward. The 30HW solution is not for the past, nor present. It's for the future, but you keep challenging it based on the passé.

It's about the fundamentally (radically) different ways and means we have to advance to, if there's to be a future. 30HW (30-hour workweek) profoundly addresses the two all-threatening crises of our times: vanishing jobs creating increasing suffering, disorder, lawlessness and bloodshed, and second, coming ecological cataclysms.

Thinking only of past and present ways, nothing you or PA have said even mentions, let alone faces, those two new, unprecedented exigencies of a future that has come and is, of course, being ignored by most, like you two have in this thread - the indisputable mandate for 30HW, and none of the points you've made, which are quickly refuted in ensuing posts, negates the fact that 30HW is the desperately needed new advance whose time has come; in fact, is decades overdue.

The natural trajectory to it is clear in history: in the beginning, all humanoids had to work 24/7 hunting/gathering food to survive; it didn't get much better through ancient and medieval times; then the 60-70-hour weeks of the early Industrial Age "sweat shops," cave mines, etc. Finally came the 40-hour week. 30HW is the obvious next step in that progression. You don't, or can't, suggest another idea, yet treat the one proposed entirely negatively, while jobs keep vanishing en masse and the environment is devoured more, and faster, by the day.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Paul Anthony on February 24th, 2017, 8:51 pm 

d30 » Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:18 pm wrote:
The natural trajectory to it is clear in history: in the beginning, all humanoids had to work 24/7 hunting/gathering food to survive; it didn't get much better through ancient and medieval times; then the 60-70-hour weeks of the early Industrial Age "sweat shops," cave mines, etc. Finally came the 40-hour week. 30HW is the obvious next step in that progression. You don't, or can't, suggest another idea, yet treat the one proposed entirely negatively, while jobs keep vanishing en masse and the environment is devoured more, and faster, by the day.


Let's not stand in the way of history! Enough baby steps! Let's go immediately to a 1 hour work week!
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby d30 on February 25th, 2017, 1:07 am 

vivian maxine » February 24th, 2017, 4:35 am wrote:Comment about hating jobs. I am not sure it's that people hate their jobs so much as they grow tired of the "same old same old". Jobs need "spice of life" to them, challenges, variety. Given that, they might be happier working more hours. Trouble is that many jobs do not lend themselves to what is needed to keep workers contented, happy and healthy. Didn't the assembly lines prove this?


Helpful observations. It's one of the many big benefits of advance to the 30-hour workweek. In one fell swoop, everyone's jobs will become far more tolerable because people won't have to do them as much anymore.

However tedious, distasteful or heinous a job is, six hours a day at it is a substantial improvement on having to do it eight hours a day. In other words, what will add the needed "spice of life to them" is replacing two hours of them daily with freed time for people to get back to pressing concerns and fulfilling activities in their personal lives.

Another important aspect not noted in ideas mentioned above to make this job or that less boring, stressful, etc. is that it does not address the fact the people now doing the jobs are increasingly, one by one, being replaced by automation including robots that don't get bored, stressed, etc. Don't need breaks, lunch, vacations, benefits.

It's one of the very, desperate needs 30HW is the a solution for: it does address that, one of the key ongoing crises of our time - vanishing jobs, by divvying up the jobs that are still left as this trend proceeds, via shorter workweeks. I.e., for starters, with 30HW, what you're doing is creating a massive number of new jobs to replace the ones steadily being eliminated: reducing all to 30 hours means government and businesses must hire new people en masse, to do the work formerly 40-hour workers, now 30-hour workers, are no longer getting done.

So, the newly and the chronically unemployed will finally again be able to have one of those newly, 30HW-created millions of jobs. Can have a livelihood again. Become tax payers instead of tax users (welfare, unemployment), ceasing to drain government coffers, replenishing them instead (part of how 30HW pays for itself).

These finally again employed are also once again able to buy more so business profits increase also (again, part of how 30HW pays for itself; increases in the efficiency [productivity] of less bored, more well rested, accurate workers being another part; more awake/alert thus seeing ideas to improve processes thus saving costs and/or bringing new profits being another; another being greatly reduced cost of unemployment compensation; another fewer accidents reducing businesses' insurance costs; fewer cost/overhead-boosting errors; and so on).

As the Kellog's Cereals 1930s experiment showed, their efficiency gains and cost savings from all such plus other adjustments made it possible for them to give formerly 40-hour workers the same pay though now working only 30 hours.
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Re: Work hours - #1 issue of our times

Postby Braininvat on February 25th, 2017, 9:45 am 

D30, your rhetoric to ForestD seems a bit overheated. I don't think he's the enemy of all progress or "tectonic thinking. "

To be taken seriously, it's good to be able to chart baby steps that may be feasible now.
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