Let's discuss American culture toward jobs and careers...

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
11,757
0
71
Something has been eating the hell out of me the last couple of months. I've attempted to have conversations with people in real life about it, but most people think I'm joking or think there is nothing they can do about it. Perhaps some just think I'm wrong. But I've never really had a good intelligent conversation about this.

Now I will warn you, my feelings span across several topics that are all interrelated, so I may seem unorganized and jump around a bit. Try to bare with me.


I absolutely DESPISE our American culture and it's outlook on the relationship between citizens and work. First of all, I think it is ridiculous that a good portion of Americans work more than 40 hours a week. It has been proven time and again over the last 150 years that employees who work more than 40 hours a week give diminishing returns and sustained workloads of over 40 hours will actually lower total output than just having a base 40 hour week. I read a very interesting article about how our culture moved away from a 40 hour work week. In a nutshell, back in the 70's in silicon valley a lot of 'geeks' who were borderline Asperger sufferers but were brilliant in technology, revolutionized Silicon Valley. Due to their unique personality, they did not suffer ill effects from working more than 40 hours. As a result, certain companies flourished and that line of thinking spread to other industries, despite research that shows it is simply not an effective way of managing most employees. I think the other facet that encouraged more than 40 hour work weeks is that upper management simply wanted to get more from their employees for the same money. The sacred bottom line became more and more important.


Back 40 years ago, this wasn't an issue. If you had a shitty employer who cared more about making a huge profit than treating employees properly, you simply got another job. In today's world, it's not that simple. First of all, you have way more MASSIVE corporations than we have ever had. That is indisputable. Secondly, the wealth is becoming increasingly hoarded by the leaders of these giant corporations. There isn't a huge initiative to treat workers properly anymore, because workers simply don't have the options to go some place better.

Let me use a very basic example to make my point. Grocery stores. Back in the day most grocery stores were family owned, local places. The owner worked in the store, made a good living and employed people from the community. He probably cared about his employees, as well as his customers. His employees weren't rich, but I'm sure many of them earned a decent enough living. If you were a shitty owner of a grocery store, your good employees would find a better employer and you would have a hard time getting a good employee, which would affect your bottom line. Employers had the choice to leave and had options. The power was with the general public, not with the business owners, so you had better be a good person, decent member of the community and treat everyone fairly.

Today, most grocery stores are huge chains. The 'owners' of these huge chains are disgustingly wealthy. The executive management of these huge chains make an ungodly amount of money too. Now I am not discounting the work they do. They certainly deserve to be paid well and they have a very important job. However, I do feel that they are paid WAAAAY to much, while the average worked is paid waaay to little. There work isn't THAT important. They aren't curing cancer. They aren't solving an energy crisis. They aren't helping make our education system better. Hell, they aren't really doing anything special outside of making a corporation a hell of a lot of money. Now all the employees of these chain stores aren't anything special either. They are just average people, high school students, mom's and retired guys. They all are just trying to earn a living. They deal with a lot of shit though. And let's be honest, they get paid nothing, relatively speaking. What choices do they have though? Let's assume they are average everyday people, no particular skills, not very intelligent and just trying to provide for themselves. It's extremely difficult to start a business of their own, takes money to make money. They aren't going to go to college. Prices are ridiculous, they aren't extremely smart and it probably won't do them a great deal of good anyway. So what do they do? They work their ass off. They make it into management. They work 50-60 hours a week (or more) to make an ok living. As an entry level manager, they literally live to work and make 45k. They can survive. Good luck starting a family on that wage though. Even if they bust their ass and make it to mid level management, is the amount of hours and time away from their family (if they can afford one) worth it to make a decent living? Again, if they were doing something for the greater good of humanity, I could understand it, but all this hard work for what? To make some people at the top of the food chain even more money?! Come on! Life is to short for that shit.

But what other choice do they have? They don't really have any. And large businesses know this. You have to put up with the bullshit, cause you need a job. They don't have to pay fair wages anymore (relative to the income their businesses make) because the employers are so large and control so much. The employees are really at the mercy of large businesses. Government won't stand up for the average person, because they are run by large businesses as well. In short, the average person is fucked and has to roll with it.


Now let's look at some of the other negative aspects of this. First of all, most households in the U.S. both the fathers and mothers work. They have a couple of options if they go this route.

1. Work opposite hours, take turns watching the kids and have very little time for the next 30 years to see each other.
2. Struggle their ass off. One of them works two jobs, one part time, and again, the family structure is very poor.
3. Work 9-5's and pay for daycare. The kids don't have proper parental guidance. Lack of parental guidance causes all sorts of issues. Poor education. Children at younger ages in life. Drug use, crime, etc... Basically, parental guidance is EXTREMELY important. I think we can all agree on this, look at the stupid shit we all make fun of in society today.
4. Be bums and live off the government. Which is a valid option for a lot of people. But again, the family structure often times falters under this scenario. Scenarios 3-4 will feed each other and continually make things worse for future generations.

As a result, the average person becomes less capable of providing for themselves and we all become even MORE at the mercy of those in power and with money.


Now I have absolutely no problem with businesses turning a healthy profit. But I despise the 'more more more' attitude of the vast majority of our businesses. Wouldn't it be nice of the profits from a company got distributed amongst the employees of that company, rather than the executive board and shareholders?

Now I understand some of you are going to come at me with "these businesses create so many great things yatta yatta" and that these rich people create jobs, innovate etc...

I have no doubt that is true, to an extent. But I think that these jobs could still be created and innovation could still occur at roughly the same rate, even with profits being spread amongst the average person.


I look at banks as an absolutely perfect example. Credit Unions are typically non-profit, for the community type centers. The managers of these credit unions make a good living. The employees are typically treated fairly. The customers get great deals. Low fee's, better rates than large banks etc... They are basically better on almost every level for the entire country than a large bank. Yet they aren't appreciated by the average person. If we had many more small businesses and did more to force large businesses to care about the community first, employees second and bottom line a distant third, this whole country would be a hell of a lot better.


I have a lot more thoughts on the subject I'd like to delve into, but this should be sufficient to kick it off.

For what its worth, I always thought that the 99%'s had this sort of thought process in mind, even though I'm sure there are a ton of people who are riding the coat tails of the 99% with ulterior motives.

I am also a Republican, so I figured that'd throw some of you off. In a nutshell though, I think both parties are completely fucked up when it comes to this subject. I think our whole country needs a reality check. Why are we so damn focused on making profits for large businesses, rather than living good, comfortable, enjoyable lives with our families? The amount of money we have in this country and the technology we possess, the vast majority of Americans could work a 35 hour a week job, live a nice life and enjoy the hell out of it, if we all worked for the betterment of the country, rather than the bottom line of giants.

Discuss.
 

Saint Nick

Lifer
Jan 21, 2005
17,722
6
81
I didn't read some of your post, but I can say that I pretty much agree with all points I read.

My issue with the current system America uses it that you can't get anything done in your personal life. I feel that 40 hours would be better suited to 30, which would give you 10 more hours per week to tackle things such as chores, children, anything.

Between going to work, lifting/fitness, playing in a touring band, having a girlfriend, running a recording studio, and maintaining a house, I have pretty much zero free time. I worked part-time pretty much exclusively (except for summers) since age 16. In November 2011, I got a "real" job...and I can say that I really miss my 25 hour work weeks.

Edit...
I can't imagine what some of your guys' schedules look like, especially those with families and long work weeks (40+ hours). If you love it, more power to you.

I guess I am just channeling "Office Space" here, but the movie makes a good point...humans aren't meant to do this crap.
 
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Apr 17, 2003
37,622
0
76
I didn't read some of your post, but I can say that I pretty much agree with all points I read.

My issue with the current system America uses it that you can't get anything done in your personal life. I feel that 40 hours would be better suited to 30, which would give you 10 more hours per week to tackle things such as chores, children, anything.

Between going to work, lifting/fitness, playing in a touring band, having a girlfriend, running a recording studio, and maintaining a house, I have pretty much zero free time. I worked part-time pretty much exclusively (except for summers) since age 16. In November 2011, I got a "real" job...and I can say that I really miss my 25 hour work weeks.

Ummm, isn't the bolded what you use your free time on?
 

Alienwho

Diamond Member
Apr 22, 2001
6,766
0
76
I agree with pretty much everything I read. The basic unit is the family which is falling apart due to the modern American job culture. The ultra wealthy should realize it is in their best interest to keep a strong middle class which in turn keeps our civilization afloat. It shouldn't take two parents working full time to make enough money to support their family while their kids are raised on the streets.

I am okay with the 40 hour work week, but we should have way more mandatory vacation time like most EU countries. I think most employees who are forced to work more than 40 hours a week make a point to slack off on the job or perform work theft because in their minds they are entitled to it and they want to stick it to the man.
 

HydroSqueegee

Golden Member
Oct 27, 2005
1,709
2
71
I didn't read some of your post, but I can say that I pretty much agree with all points I read.

My issue with the current system America uses it that you can't get anything done in your personal life. I feel that 40 hours would be better suited to 30, which would give you 10 more hours per week to tackle things such as chores, children, anything.

Between going to work, lifting/fitness, playing in a touring band, having a girlfriend, running a recording studio, and maintaining a house, I have pretty much zero free time. I worked part-time pretty much exclusively (except for summers) since age 16. In November 2011, I got a "real" job...and I can say that I really miss my 25 hour work weeks.

Edit...
I can't imagine what some of your guys' schedules look like, especially those with families and long work weeks (40+ hours). If you love it, more power to you.

I guess I am just channeling "Office Space" here, but the movie makes a good point...humans aren't meant to do this crap.

the bolded is your free time sport. you choose to do those things on top of your job. the girlfriend is a perk and can go. you can let maintaining the house slide a little and running a recording studio could be considered a second job... so that could go too...

i seem to think you have way too many things you want to do in your free time and just want to do too many other things. ;)

that being all said, i dont have enough hours in the day to do what i want after working 40 hours either. house, wife, 3 kids... but i chose all that. i could have stayed single, no kids and had an apartment, then id have all the time in the world to do whatever i wanted.
 

FoBoT

No Lifer
Apr 30, 2001
63,089
12
76
fobot.com
you could 'want' less
having a 'nice' house and car payments is a choice
owning iPads is a choice. people choose to make more money for 'stuff' instead of living frugally with more time to spend together wishing they had more stuff
 

OverVolt

Lifer
Aug 31, 2002
14,278
89
91
Agree 100%

There are additional factors. This recession pushed corporate profits through the roof because it favored large scale businesses. I think that will eventually end because people are just literally getting screwed over too hard.

The bottom line mentality was never sustainable. Hollywood is a good example, they focused on the bottom line and came out with Adam Sandler movie #9 and 3 Musketeers retelling #3, and that recent movie they just spent more money on than Avatar and it is a total bomb. In the long run this type of move is actually a deathspiral for the corporations.

Coca cola sales are actually slowing down/declining. BBY is probably in a deathspiral from screwing over its employees too hard even though it has such a market leader advantage. etc. etc.

When we bailed out the banks the free market died. We killed the free market to save the free market? Many of the businesses we know and love today actually came out of the ashes of 1929.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Companies_established_in_1929
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Companies_established_in_1930
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Companies_established_in_1931
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Companies_established_in_1932
 
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goog40

Diamond Member
Mar 16, 2000
4,198
1
0
Do people generally count the time for lunch when they say they work however many hours a week? Because if you don't count it and work 9 to 5 with a one hour lunch, that's only 35 hours a week.
 
Feb 6, 2007
16,432
1
81
Do people generally count the time for lunch when they say they work however many hours a week? Because if you don't count it and work 9 to 5 with a one hour lunch, that's only 35 hours a week.
Every full time job I've ever had is 8 to 5 with a one hour lunch. Employers don't want to pay you for the time you aren't there, so you still work your 40 hours, there's just an hour of unpaid bullshit in the middle of the day.
 

HydroSqueegee

Golden Member
Oct 27, 2005
1,709
2
71
Do people generally count the time for lunch when they say they work however many hours a week? Because if you don't count it and work 9 to 5 with a one hour lunch, that's only 35 hours a week.

you work 8-5 with a 1 hour lunch. aka 45 hours in the office a week.
 

IndyColtsFan

Lifer
Sep 22, 2007
33,656
687
126
I worked a lot of hours at my last job, and it did take a huge toll on me. I got awesome reviews and great raises, but never managed to move up due to lack of opportunities. Because of that, and because of a corporate restructure, I realized that all the time I put in after hours to get things done just wasn't worth it.

As an example, I was sick and tired of the regular occurrence of having my boss come to me at 4:00 PM and saying "I need a report by 8:00 AM tomorrow" when he knew it would take several hours to complete. I did stuff like that for years and what really pissed me off was when I wouldn't hear anything from him regarding the report and I'd follow up a week later and he'd say "Oh, I haven't presented it to my boss yet." I was also sick of those times when I'd look up at the clock and discover it was 8:00 PM on a Friday night and there I was, with more work left to do.

So what did I do? I finally got a life and pushed back on my manager. When he'd come to me at 4:00 PM and wanted a report the next day, I'd either tell him "No, it will take x hours to do so I won't have it to you until the day after tomorrow." Or, if I was feeling particularly pissy, I just would nod my head and then not do it. You'd be surprised the number of times that he'd never remember to ask me for the "urgent" report.

The moral of the story, kids, is not to work your life away. Don't rely on retirement and assume that's when you'll get to do the cool things in life, because for many (like my dad), retirement never came.
 

nanette1985

Diamond Member
Oct 12, 2005
4,209
2
0
40 years ago I was in school. I love your fantasy of what life was like back then. The guy who owned the local grocery store was well known in town as the local dope peddler. He sold his little store to the chains and made a pile of money for himself. He paid his employees something like 5 cents an hour - not much else people could do for income except farm work which paid less than that unless it was one of the busy seasons. You just try feeding your kids on what you make picking strawberries.

So if you won't work 40 hours a week, where are your children going to learn a proper work ethic?
 

lxskllr

No Lifer
Nov 30, 2004
57,398
7,578
126
you could 'want' less
having a 'nice' house and car payments is a choice
owning iPads is a choice. people choose to make more money for 'stuff' instead of living frugally with more time to spend together wishing they had more stuff

It's a 2 way street, with greed on both sides screwing the nation. Everybody wants everything only slightly more expensive than free. Growth is unsustainable. After awhile you have to say fuck it, making the same amount of money this quarter as last is good enough. There aren't enough resources to grow forever.
 

OverVolt

Lifer
Aug 31, 2002
14,278
89
91
you could 'want' less
having a 'nice' house and car payments is a choice
owning iPads is a choice. people choose to make more money for 'stuff' instead of living frugally with more time to spend together wishing they had more stuff

Our economy is service based, last I checked we don't have to assemble TV's by hand, blow glass bottles by hand, etc. Which is part of the problem to begin with. You can't just go to hell with this I'm going to try making my own TV's. You are just citing modern changes in thinking like austerity. There really isn't any reason to be shutting down factories meanwhile the population is growing. Its because there is a misallocation of resources and capital. Basically a large sucking wooosh on the middleclass.

The only markets growing right now are super luxury goods, and super discount goods. That is a deathspiral.
 
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Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
11,757
0
71
40 years ago I was in school. I love your fantasy of what life was like back then. The guy who owned the local grocery store was well known in town as the local dope peddler. He sold his little store to the chains and made a pile of money for himself. He paid his employees something like 5 cents an hour - not much else people could do for income except farm work which paid less than that unless it was one of the busy seasons. You just try feeding your kids on what you make picking strawberries.

So if you won't work 40 hours a week, where are your children going to learn a proper work ethic?

Glad you chimed in, I had expected more like you.

First of all, it is a fact that the percentage of income the top percentage of this country owns is much higher than it was 40 years ago. 5 cents an hour or not, as a percentage, the average person was MUCH better off than they are today. This cannot be disputed, it is a mathematical fact.

Secondly, I said a 40 hour work week should be the limit. I have no problem with working 40 hours, I do it. What I'm saying is that people who are working 45, 50 or even 60 are getting FUCKED. Badly. There is absolutely no reason for this when its all done to make even more profits for a company. It's one of the main reasons our society is sliding, in my opinion.


And while we are at it, a lot of people who work 40 hours a week, actually work even more, even if they are hourly. Let me explain.

Many people drive 30 minutes plus to work. Some are fortunate to live within 15 mins of their job, but its not uncommon to see people going an hour each way to work. So when you figure work time, figure 2 hours travel each day, 5 days a week, arriving 5-10 minutes early, cause you can't be late, and 1 hour eating lunch while at work. Total time away from family is really 55+ hours a week. And that's if your an hourly 40 hour a week worker. Imagine if you are actually a 50 hour a week worker, in reality you are gone from home for work specific purposes for 65+ hours a week.


Another example. I had a corporate training earlier this week. Quite a few members drove about 4 hours one way, to our training center. They stayed overnight a few nights for the 3 day training. They were away from home for 72 hours due to their job. They only got paid for 24 hours of it. And they aren't paid that great to begin with. Point being, we are slaves to our corporations. You can be an apologist for the corporations and want to 'teach' your son good work ethic. I'd rather work on educating/informing/bringing awareness to our country so that I can leave my son with a better world to live in, rather than just living/working for a corporation.
 

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
11,757
0
71
you could 'want' less
having a 'nice' house and car payments is a choice
owning iPads is a choice. people choose to make more money for 'stuff' instead of living frugally with more time to spend together wishing they had more stuff



Why should I 'want' less!? I work very hard for what I have. I give up the vast majority of my life working, for what I have. Why shouldn't the corporations 'want' less instead? After all, they are benefiting just a select few, when they could easily be making the entire country a better place if they were less greedy and more considerate for the countries greater good, while still living an EXCELLENT life. There is plenty to go around.
 

Cuda1447

Lifer
Jul 26, 2002
11,757
0
71
surely we're better off compared to those in the third world!

Of course we are. But that doesn't mean we should settle. Why not try to make the world the best place we can to live in, rather than letting it rot, simply because we are better off than those that are very unfortunate.
 

FoBoT

No Lifer
Apr 30, 2001
63,089
12
76
fobot.com
Why shouldn't the corporations 'want' less instead?

There is plenty to go around.

so you are entitled to a bigger share? i think if you work for yourself you get 100% of the pie

if you use the power of the government to force corporations to give you a bigger share, wait, i forget what that is called, i'll BRB
 

OverVolt

Lifer
Aug 31, 2002
14,278
89
91
Of course we are. But that doesn't mean we should settle. Why not try to make the world the best place we can to live in, rather than letting it rot, simply because we are better off than those that are very unfortunate.

People in third world countries are still people. The difference between them and us is that they spend 90% of their time trying to screw each other over, and we are kinda headed that direction.
 

OverVolt

Lifer
Aug 31, 2002
14,278
89
91
so you are entitled to a bigger share? i think if you work for yourself you get 100% of the pie

if you use the power of the government to force corporations to give you a bigger share, wait, i forget what that is called, i'll BRB

Because obviously the shareholders did more work than the cashier. /sarcasm The logic isn't sound at all.
 

OverVolt

Lifer
Aug 31, 2002
14,278
89
91
Screwing each other over is valued more than hard work and that ultimately is a path back to the 3rd world. Its obvious yea?
 

SlitheryDee

Lifer
Feb 2, 2005
17,252
19
81
you could 'want' less
having a 'nice' house and car payments is a choice
owning iPads is a choice. people choose to make more money for 'stuff' instead of living frugally with more time to spend together wishing they had more stuff

This is a good point. I make far less than most of ATOT purportedly makes, but I feel like I live ridiculously well. I have a shrinking mortgage, a paid off car, most of the tech gadgets I want, and some discretionary funds beyond that. People making far more than me are struggling to make ends meet though. Some of that could be attributed to cost of living differences, but not all of it.

People want too much. When they say "I just want to earn enough to comfortably support my family" what I often hear is "I want enough to have a car for driving on the highway, a 4x4 for pulling my 30k bass boat, a vacation home to park the whole works in front of... oh yeah and I want to feed and clothe my family, and I want my job that anyone could do after a 1 week training period to pay for it. Is that too much to ask"? Yes, it is.