The 40 hour work week- a thing of the past or alive and well?

I heard a commentary on 850 am yesterday as I was heading home. Essentially, they were asking if anyone still worked from 9 to 5- remember, the movie? The question was who gets in at 9am and has the opportunity to leave at 5am. Most employers, they felt, expected employees there by 8am, 830am at the latest and most did not get off of work until well after 530pm. Afterall, if you took an hour for lunch, that would make for an 8-hour day. The topic for discussion was 40-hour workweeks and whether that was even common anymore. One DJ stated, if you get your work done in 30 hours, why would you work the 40? And, conversely, if you are super busy, you may even put in 60 without blinking.

I did not have enough cell minutes to call them and tell them that I had a great job! I currently have a job where my hours are 9-530pm and I am able to keep these hours. It is quite nice because in the morning, I can get our infant daughter ready for daycare, pack her bag, and then get some much needed things done around the house like clean or even have time to get things done on the computer and internet since I do not have internet at work. I wanted to call in and tell them that I think it is because of the lack of internet and technology at my office that makes for a 40-hour or less work week. If I had constant e-mails pouring through and access to technology, I think I could easily work the 50 to 60-hour work week. I also would not have time to get to know my colleagues. Essentially, if we had internet and E-mail, that would take up my entire morning. Then, I would still have to pull my normal workload- research, reviewing contracts, and new cases and trying to coordinate with folks on the phone. Add to that the internet where let’s face it, oftentimes, it is overwhelming to do research. Right now, I have limited resources and like a limited menu at a restaurant, sometimes, that makes the choices much easier too – I can only have salad or pasta- hmmm… I will go with pasta. I only have a legal search engine with limited capabilities so I can only go and find limited things and then write my legal opinion based on what I find. There is no google where I could go on researching for days. On the internet, the sky is virtually the limit! Then, I would probably spend the last few hours of my day writing replies to E-mails, filing e-mails in the appropriate folder by subject, organizing my Inbox, and figuring out where the day went.

Needless to say, technology, while very useful to have, can be the bane of one’s existence as well. With or without technology, my personal belief is that jobs should not consume so much time that you miss life and your kids growing up. You should take time to do a happy hour or early dinner with your loved one, get home in town to take your kid to the park, and take a day off to go ski without a wireless device in tow. If you have a job where you spend more than 60 hours a week, I hope it comes with great benefits and a retirement plan. Finally, no job is worth missing out on the most important moments in life. For me, I choose to make less so I can have a life. I do not think the 9 to 5 is gone – I just think people self-impose extra work on themselves. I think individuals choose to work more instead of choosing to live in a smaller home in favor of less work. People choose to have the fancier car and what loses out? the kids and family, of course. For me, the lifestyle of working more than 40-45 hours a week is just not worth it. Sure I have tough weeks, but I choose to make less so I can go home at the end of the day not at 2am when my child is asleep. For now, I will enjoy my 40-hour work week and when needed, put in more time when needed too. I say, “for now” because you never know when things will change and we all have to remain flexible to change. And as you scroll through this blog at work, just remember that the luxury of having that internet can also be taxing on your soul.

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