File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0106, message 18

Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 14:02:03 -0400
Subject: RE: [Fwd: Weeping in a Rolls-Royce]

Steve, with regard to your comments about work, following is my experience:

I have worked for the same large corporation since 1968. Parts of the
company are unionized but we "white collar" workers are not. In the 60's and
70's everyone except middle level managers and above were paid overtime for
all hours over 40 each week. We also took organized 15 minute breaks
mornings and afternoons. Lunchtime was an hour. 

Today many people work extra hours each week with no extra pay. Also, With
the advent of home computers and the internet, much extra work is done from
home. Long hours are considered nearly mandatory for anyone expecting to be
promoted into management. Breaks are a thing of the past. We are not closely
supervised so unorganized breaks can be taken at any time but on balance I
believe much more break time was used when breaks were organized. Lunch is
technically still an hour but unlike in the past many people don't leave
their desks and It seems like 30 minutes is a more typical lunch period. We
get 12 paid holidays a year and that has not changed since the 60's.
vacation ranges from two weeks for five years to 6 weeks after 30 years.
However, it now takes longer to accrue vacation than it did in the 60's and

Those are the statistics but in addition, there is a subjective difference
in work. Somehow the corporation has managed to make work a very serious
business. There is very little joking around as opposed to the past and much
less fraternizing. Corporate communications continuously remind workers that
they are in a struggle for survival. War analogies are often used.

As a manager, I generally assign more work than can be accomplished with
quality in 40 hours. Those who find a way to complete the work are
recognized with higher raises and promotions.

On balance, I would say that we now work longer hours without compensation
than we did in the 60's.



-----Original Message-----
From: steve.devos []
Sent: Friday, June 01, 2001 2:36 PM
Subject: [Fwd: Weeping in a Rolls-Royce]


I was interested in this email (from sciene as culture list) because of the
extraordinay claims that we are working more now than in the 1960s. I feel
suspicious of this claim. My suspicions are founded on the distrust I feel
people who suggest things are worse now than they were for our parents and
grandparents - this level of pessimism always makes me want to scrutinise
evidence. On a personal basis however I remember my father working standard
6 day
weeks and occasionally 7 days - in addition he only had two weeks holiday.
father worked the same regime but only one weeks unpaid holiday a year. To
that a 21st worker is working longer hours than our forefathers is I suspect
massage the evidence in unacceptable ways.

Compare these hours to myself - I never work weekends without days off in
25days holiday a year, have a standard 37.5 hours working week and work
probably 45
hours and sometimes 50 hrs a week if travelling to the USA on business..
These are
not unsual working hours -

It is true however that working time directives are essential - standard 30
weeks - preferably over 4 days... are a desirable and achievable goal.




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