Worthwhile
Blog Podcasts The Dialogue Magazine About Us
BLOG SEARCH
ONLINE
MAGAZINE
Subscribe
GENERAL
FAQ
WORTHWHILE FOUNDERS

Sign up for Worthwhile's free weekly e-zine.


 
Home > Blog > Coming next Week: The 1-Hour Workweek
Out of Our Minds
Wednesday, September 08, 2004 2:30 PM
Coming next Week: The 1-Hour Workweek
Anita Sharpe on Business

Check out these historical predictions offered up in a new book, 'In Praise of Slowness' by Carl Honore:

*Benjamin Franklin predicted that the technological advances of the late 1700s would lead to four-hour work weeks.

*In the late 1800s, George Bernard Shaw predicted that we would work two hours a day by the year 2000.

*In 1956, Richard Nixon foresaw a four-day work week in the 'not too distant future.'

*In the mid-1960s, a U.S. Senate subcommittee heard a prediction that by 2000, Americans would be working about 14 hours a week.

So much for forecasting the future. And so much for technology-as-liberator.
So what happened to the long-foreseen Age of Leisure? Are we too money-grubbing to work fewer hours -- or is a day or so a week on the golf course plenty of leisure time after all?



8 comments

Anthiypatus - 9/11/2004 3:30:48 PM
A friend of mine were talking about something similar. I guess part of the reason is the fact that the number of luxuries has risen. If you were say a lawyer, and all you wanted were the basic goods people had back in the 1700s, you could work very very few hours to maintain that lifestyle.
Dave - 9/9/2004 7:38:11 AM
A few things happened to prevent shorter workweeks I think:

(1) The 'American Dream', which includes the 2.4 kids (and everything that goes along with it), house, and two cars (or 3 or 4...) just continues to plow forward - except each of these components are bigger and better... and much more exppennsive than ever before. In fact, it's the higher costs of these that has out-whatever the gains in wages. I takes that workweek to afford the $200,000 home, duel SUVs, and everything else.

(2) Taxes. I don't know about the rest of you, but my taxes to support those teachers and police and firefighters are higher than ever too.

(3) Since when did everyone decide that I need to have $750,000 in various retirement funds when I retire - just to support my $60,000 a year lifestyle?

(4) Work itself. It's too ingrained everywhere that - for me to be a computer applications developer - requires that I be onsite from 8am to 5pm, 5 days a weeks. Even if I can do all of this from home, and even if my peak times of 'being in the zone' vary from this.
Elizabeth Albrycht - 9/9/2004 5:54:08 AM
It used to be that leisure time was a sign of success. People even decorated themselves to demonstrate this fact (extra long finger nails, rich fabrics, hats, etc.). Now, we decorate ourselves with phones, PDA, blackberrys, etc. as we demonstrate our success through signs of overwork.

Along the lines of 'if we build it they will come' perhaps we should consider what the new signs of leisure luxury should be, and promote our new, 'lives taken back from work' lifestyles.

Maybe a copy of Worthwhile Magazine in our tote?
Ben - 9/8/2004 4:11:38 PM
Right!

So the real question is how many actual 'productive' hours we have to work today.
Alex - 9/8/2004 3:37:13 PM
Well, technically, I do work only two hours a day. The rest of my time is spent napping and doing personal stuff on the internet until I'm caught!
Mindwalker - 9/8/2004 3:37:04 PM
Call me crazy or naive, but isn't part of the point of becoming a self-employed entrepreneur to gain more control over your schedule?

For example, I know a guy who is planning on opening a restaurant soon. He started talking about 16-20 hour days and all I kept thinking was 'Why????' Would it not make more sense to just focus on the core crowd (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) and do that really well? Isn't that what everyone preaches these days, anyway? Become an 'expert' on something first before expanding to something else?

When I brought this up with my friend, he looked at me incredulously and said they wouldn't make any money by only staying open 6-8 hours. But if you're barely doing any business otherwise, what's the point?
Jory - 9/8/2004 3:07:14 PM
I couldn't see the shorter workweek concept ever flying in the U.S. After,all, so many people equate work prestige with over-packed schedules and no personal lives.

The common belief is that the guys coming in at 9 and leaving at 5 won't ever make it to the next rung. Entrepreneurs, people who often choose to be on their own for the sake of controlling their schedules, are often the worst culprits of overwork.
Jory - 9/8/2004 3:06:49 PM
I couldn't see the shorter workweek concept ever flying in the U.S. After,all, so many people equate work prestige with over-packed schedules and no personal lives.

The common belief is that the guys coming in at 9 and leaving at 5 won't ever make it to the next rung. Entrepreneurs, people who often choose to be on their own for the sake of controlling their schedules, are often the worst culprits of overwork.

Name:  
Email:  
URL:
Comments:
 

Enter this
code below:
 What is this?
Code:  
Home   |   Blog   |   Blog Archive   |   Podcasts   |   The Dialogue   |   Subscribe   |   Advertise   |   Customer Service
About Us   |   Contact Us   |   Resources / Promotions   |   FAQ
Copyright © 2006 dash30, Inc. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy. 150