Monday, April 14, 2008

When did 40 become 50?

Growing up, both of my parents worked full time for Qwest. It was the norm that they worked 40 hours a week. They worked hard, then they came home and we had quality family time. I can remember my mom being home around 3:30 or 4. My dad around 5. For many years my parents worked in the same town, so there really wasn't any commute time to factor in as time gone, which was nice, because if we ever needed anything at home or school they could bring it to us.
Today, 40 hours/week in "Corporate America" is working part-time. Brenton is expected to work a minimum of 50 hours/week. He usually is putting in 55 hours. Now let's factor in the 30 minute drive (one way) and that is now 60 hours a week-that's crazy! I find it interesting when companies pride themselves by saying they want their employees to have healthy work-family balance, but they leave you little time for quality family time.
A typical night Brenton comes home (6-6:30pm), we eat dinner til 7pm that leaves one hour for us to get cleaned up, take baths, play and get to bed. Doesn't seem like a healthy balance. I wonder if the wages have gone up with the expected work hours or just the hours have increased. Meaning is Brenton making what his 50+ hours are worth?
Being someone whose love language is quality time, this usually bugs me and rubs me a wrong way- maybe it's the normal and people think it's okay. But for me, it leaves me feeling irritated. Or maybe it just leaves me exhausted because that's 60 straight hours with kids that don't nap or are not in preschool!


  1. I totally understand where your coming from. What's interesting is that Walmart managers are expected to work 70 hours a week. Anything under that is considered a poor performer.

    My work, working less than 50 hours would mean I'm a poor performer, not fireable, but certianly poor, passed up on promotions, raises and bonus's. It's tough.

    My dad growing up owned his own business, and I think he worked 70+ a week.

  2. I understand your frustrations with being home alone with the kids so much every day. I think the 40 hour work week is a realtively new concept - and only applies for the middle/upper classes. Years ago people worked much longer hours. Many families have dads who work two or three jobs to make ends meet. It's also cultural. In Japan the husbands leave the child raising and home making completely to the wives. The husbands work long hours but then often go out afterwards.
    I think that life will get better for you this spring as you get to know your neighbors who have kids. Maybe you should even schedule some play dates - say, meet at the park every Tuesday morning- moms can talk while kids play. Also, make use of the upper elementary aged girls in your area to come in and play with your kids. They'd probably love to get some experience for future baby sitting jobs. I had a next door neighbor girl who loved to come over and hang out with me and the kids while Craig was over the road trucking. Wish I lived closer to help out!!


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