Re: Average hours worked

Subject: Re: Average hours worked
From: "John Cornellier" <technical_writer -at- cornellier -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 Aug 2002 7:36:18

<gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:

>I am the kind of person who simply isn't happy if I am bored.

Epitaph for a 21st Century Man: "He Warred Against Boredom".

>I need to be constantly working on something. Improving something, fixing
>something, etc. I am fortunate that my career is doing just that. So to
>me, working 80 hours a week isn't a problem - its fun.

So do I; I fix things at work for 40 hours, then go do challenging and
creative things outside work the rest of the

>if you draw a thick black line between work and not-work - then you're
>going to live a life of tension between the two. I used to. Then I
>allowed the two to just melt into each other.

But that's not possible for everyone. If "work" is being in a high tech
office environment and "not work" is, say, beekeeping, it's tricky for them
to melt together. Anyway, what's work? This list? Surfing the web?

>Now, there is no fundamentally difference
>between work and life for me. They are the same. I love what I do, and
>I love doing it. So its not really work to me anymore. Its life.

Love, I reserve for people. And tractor pulling. Yeah, it's not just the
money. If I had a million dollars, I'd still come here. But no matter how
much I like one activity, be it work, whatever, doing it for 80 hours a
week would be like nourishing myself on only one food. I love icecream, but
I couldn't subsist on it.

Lurching to a related topic:

>Norway (and most of the Scandinavian countries) also has ENORMOUS
>income and property taxes and is about as close to a communist country
>as you can get and

This stereotype stems, maybe, from Swedish social and economic policy back
in the 1970s. Times have changed.

>still be friendly. There is very little incentive or room for small
>business and entrepreneurs in these cultures.

Yawn. Hackneyed. Wrong. These statements have as much currency as ABBA and
Bjorn Borg.

I back up what Keith said. I'm from outside Scandinavia and have been
working in Norway for a couple of years. What I find is, yes, overtime is
not encouraged. The attitude here is, if you can't get your work done in
office hours, maybe you're in the wrong job. A good colleague is one who
enriches him or herself outside of work and then comes back fresh, with new

We work closely with similar engineering groups in other countries (USA
included) and I've never heard mention of any difference in productivity.
When a new project comes up, no one says, "we'd better have this one done
at our US office, they're so much more productive over there".

MOST people, in MOST working environments, just aren't efficient working
any more than 40-or-so hours per week. The relationship between time spent
and productivity is not symetrical. Better to be on peak form for 40 hours
than on less than peak for 60.

John Cornellier

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