Daily 12: 25 hours a week

December 2, 2016


I was talking with my roomie earlier, and we were discussing work. This is a frequent topic, since I work too damn much. While we were talking, he mentioned a recent week where he worked 25 hours, and said how nice it was. He said it was about perfect, since he got all his work done and still had time to relax.

I corrected his math. He probably did 25 hours of paid work, but add in chores, errands, commute, exercise, and everything else that needs to be done, and I’m sure he was back up at 40 hours. Which was about perfect.

That’s an element of work I feel we, as a society, often neglect. We think in paid hours, but we don’t count all the other stuff we have to do to keep our lives on track. Suddenly a 40 hour work week becomes 60 hours, especially if you have a long commute. And if you’ve got kids? You’re pulling 80+ easy. There’s no time to rest.

That’s another reason I’m so damn overworked. I say I’m working 80+ hours a week—40 hours at one job, 25 at another, 15 at the other—but that’s not the true total. If I worked 80 hours and slept 8 hours a night—or 56 total—I’d still have 32 hours a week to relax. That’s 4.5 hours a day! Plenty of time to recuperate.

But I still have to do laundry, buy groceries, cook meals, and exercise. I have to pile all that work on top of the other work, and relax in the remainder—and soon, there is no remainder. That’s why I hadn’t worked out in three months until yesterday (my whole body is sore), and why I hadn’t gone grocery shopping for three weeks until earlier today (the pantry was getting dire). Something has to give, and sometimes it’s the relaxation time, but other times it’s the chores you need to do to keep your life moving properly, and you just don’t do ’em and damn the consequences. (Plus, the math never works out as cleanly as above anyway.)

My roomie’s 25 hours was probably 40 hours all inclusive, which is a better way to think of it. My 80+ hours? More like 95+ hours. If you have a long commute and children, you ought to add those hours onto your paid hours and see what kind of week you’re really working.

Though maybe you shouldn’t. It can be depressing. We really ought to construct our society so more of us have 40 hour work weeks all inclusive, though, so we don’t all keep working ourselves into an early grave.

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By Stephen W. Gee

Author of Wage Slave Rebellion, Freelance Heroics, and about two good blog posts out of a hundred.

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