25 Hour Work Week Argument.. Are you kidding?

Fir trees by Radisson Blue Hotel, Norway

While I am a firm supporter of the need to have a better balance work/personal time, and that many corporations take advantage of the current trends to squeeze employees for additional productivity way beyond the expected 40/50 hour week, there is no way I could in good faith support a 25 hour work week proposal.. If anything then I will argue, why not make it a 20, 15, 10, or even just 4 hours a week, and take the rest of the time off?

I personally have the out most respect for Inc. magazine and really appreciate the insight that they bring to many aspects of the process of launching and successfully operating a business, this article IMHO crossed all boundaries and should have been put directly on the jokes section of the sunday comics. The only saving grace is that at least they clearly indicate that it is “One researcher’s” opinion, and hopefully not supported by the editorial at large. It seems that the combination of the current European social and demographic factors, and the worldwide global warming responsible for the recent colder winters ( I let someone else try to digest that contradiction), is affecting the Norwegian scientist, and he is arguing for his right to head down to warmer climates sooner…

Can you live on 25 hours a week?

Is this really work? Courtesy of userapi.com

Is this really work? Courtesy of userapi.com

Simply put, I challenge the scientist to be able to demonstrate that a person working 25 hours a week (as an average by all members of a society) could generate enough value to be able to exchange it for all the necessary products and services for him and his dependents. Ah and let’s not forget that that 25 hour a week person is not expected to receive any additional help from the government in any form ( welfare, free services, free healthcare, .. ). The idea of a 25 hour workweek, 40 hour workweek, etc, it’s basically that during that time an individual should generate the necessary value to sustain himself, his dependents, and his contribution to the society at large. One of the things that proponents of a shorter workweek forget is that from the start there are a number of goods and services that are received that need to be somehow funded by work, including government organizations, law enforcement, military, healthcare, education. Without those services an individual will need to become an educator, self defense expert, magic healer, and negotiator just to be able to start the day and help his/her family survive. In addition after meeting all those requirements, an individual will need then to generate the necessary goods/services to exchange for those things not available to him/her (if you spend the day making a computer, then who’s going to make the food), and that will need to be added to the necessary workweek hours.. So considering this, we can review again the argument for the 25 hour workweek and decide if it really makes any sense.

On the other hand, the current scheme actually allows any individual with the necessary set of skills to work a 25 hour workweek, and many people may be actually doing so by being more productive on their 25 hours than other individuals in society on their respective 40 hours. What we may see is that those naturally gifted individuals, after they generate the necessary value during the first 25, or 15, or maybe 5 hours a week, they suddenly do not shut down and just lay there until the next week starts. Yes they may have more leisure time than others, but many of them on their free time actually pursue other interests, and maybe even provide additional contributions to the society in the form or creativity, charity work, or any similar interests.

The most successful people are those who seem to enjoy what they do

Be independent. Courtesy of betterworldbooks.com

Be independent. Courtesy of betterworldbooks.com

I am a firm believer that the issue is not with the 25/40/50 hours workweek, but with the issue of enjoying the work you do, and with a true balance between personal/work life. Individuals need to find their own balance, and decide if the extra 20 hours a week working on projects are really worth your health, or your family happiness, and make their own decisions about that overtime. At the same time someone expecting that they can be successful working only 25 hours a week, it is the same as thinking that someone could become a successful MBA player by “only” training 25 hours a week.. Can they play basketball, yes they can, will they be the best, for sure NO.. Anyone else with the same skills and abilities, training 26 hours a week should and would actually dethrone them quickly. It should not be about the time you put at work, it should be as they use to say “do what you love, and you won’t have to work a day in your life”..  Just remember as the Forbes magazine article says, even if you enjoy it, its still work!, but I will challenge their statement that it is wrong, since so far seems that the most successful people are those who seem to enjoy what they do . It seems that even the French are finally realizing that 35 hours a week does not cut it any more, let’s hope the Norwegian scientist get’s the message before it’s too late 🙂

The Case for a 25-Hour Work Week (This Is Not a Joke) | Inc.com.

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