Timesizing® Associates - Homepage
Timesizing News, January 21-30, 2004
[Commentary] ©2004 Phil Hyde, Timesizing.com, Box 622, Porter Sq, Cambridge MA 02140 USA 617-623-8080
1/30/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 1/29 via GoogleNews & searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA (except #1 which is from the 1/30 WSJ or NYT hardcopy), and excerpts [& comments] are by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialled -
1/29/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 1/28 via GoogleNews & searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA (except #1 which is from the 1/29 WSJ or NYT hardcopy), and excerpts [& comments] are by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialled -
- Hollister approves plan to trim workforce - 36 city positions could be eliminated, KSBW Channel.com [CA].
HOLLISTER, Calif. - The Hollister City Council has approved a plan that would eliminate 36 positions, or 22% of the city's workforce. But officials said the layoffs are not final and the city will work with union leaders to see if other ways can be found to trim the budget. Some options could include four-day work weeks, raise and benefit cuts, and job sharing.
[Ah, Hollister, the textbook case of damage-minimizing constant seismic creep between the damage-maximizing sporadic seismic adjustment of L.A. and San Francisco. Let's hope their city councillors are as gentle and sustainable as their seismic conditions by adopting trimming their workweek, not their workforce.]
The city council had been mulling the cuts for two weeks.
Last week, an auditor discovered that the city has $1.3 million less than was previously thought. That means the city's projected debt is more than $3 million.
- The controlled culture - Shoppers are deserting malls, their traffic, their packs of teens and the crummy food courts - "Call of the mall" by Paco Underhill, reviewed by Seth Siegel, WSJ, W9.
The malls of America are in trouble. These suburban-based retailing behemoths are facing a future filled with over-shopped consumers who must juggle ever greater demands on their time.
[Not necessarily. Depends how prostrate you are before other men's deliberate designs.]
Little wonder that a recent study reports a fall-off in mall shopping. Consumers are finding new, more efficient ways to shop...
- Nucor Corp., WSJ, B5.
[Our major corporate working model of timesizing with the most flexible corporate design in the world.]
Nucor Corp., feeling the crunch of foreign demand for scrap metal, said 4th-quarter earnings fell 52%, but predicts a better performance in the first quarter of this year as higher selling prices offset rising energy and raw-materials costs.
The Charlotte NC steelmaker posted net income of $20.6m, or 26 cents a share, down from $42.9m, or 55 cents a share, a year ago. Revenue rose 28% to $1.66B. The price for scrap rose 31% to $155 a ton in the latest quarter, as more scrap was diverted to China. Nucor sought to recoup some costs through customer surcharges and higher prices on steel sold on the spot market, according to CEO Dan DiMicco.
- A big German union, pointer (to A10), WSJ, front page.
...held routine warning strikes as contract talks get near, but this time IG Metall faces a hard fight on work hours.
German labor talks to focus on hours, by Christopher Rhoads, WSJ, A10.
[At last, some labor talks focused on the all-points priority!]
BERLIN - A new topic is on the table in the annual argument over wage increases in German industry: working hours.
[What a testimony to the sloppy suicidal stupidity of labor! - ever distracted onto non-strategic, market-bucking, higher-wage demands instead of strategic, market-redefining and -harnessing, shorter-hours demands. And thus distracted for long even in Germany of all places, where the Japanese Labor Minister even went in Jan/2001 to study worksharing systems! The time dimension must really mess up people's heads because they are sooo clueless about it. If you're confused about it, check out our first book, Defining Time - it's not that tough once you cut through all the physicists' attempts to mythologize it so they can keep their monopoly on fantasizing about time travel, surely a degree of professional irresponsibility on a par with the theologizing of Ptolemaic geocentric astronomers prior to Copernicus, Galileo and Galen.]
As it does nearly every year, IG Metall, a powerful trade union that represents 3.5m German metalworkers, began what it called warning strikes around the country yesterday, including 1,000 employees at Daimler-Chrysler AG's largest German plant. Similar actions - which consist of several thousand workers putting down their tools for a couple of hours [they still have tools and not just computers?!?] - are expected at factories belonging to semiconductor chipmaker Infineon AG, and Thyssen Krupp AG, an engineering company.
The union is calling for a wage increase of 4% over a one-year period,
[oops, we spoke too soon - the union is still focused on its market-bucking ticket to powerlessness, higher pay, instead of its market-redefining power issue, shorter hours - watch how employers take advantage of their stupidity two paragraphs below]
while employers are offering two increases of 1.2% each during a 27-month period. The union's demands are more moderate than last year....
[...because their erroneous focus has allowed their bargaining power to diminish over another 12 months of rising ambient unemployment.]
But this year's talks cut to a more sensitive topic that could show just how much power German unions still wield and whether they have come to terms with [ie: accepted the intimidating CEO party line about] global economic forces weighing on German industry. German metalworking companies [ie: CEOs] have asked for more freedom [ie: license] in determining workweeks, namely allowing them to adjust working hours between 35 and 40 a week, based on economic conditions. At the moment, most manufacturers are restricted to a 35-hour week.
"This could be the much more explosive and controversial part of the talks this year," said Klaus Baader, an economist with Lehman Bros. in London.
[It damn well better be. If IG Metall screws this one up like they did the 35-hour strikes in east Germany last June, they're useless for the long-term future of the German economy and will begin their descent to the kind of marginal status that unions have today in the USA. Like American unions, they will have sold their birthright (immediate shorter hours and greater market-determined bargaining power) for a mess of pottage (immediate higher pay and smaller market-determined bargaining power).]
"It's virtually unimaginable that unions would be willing to roll back the 35-hour week. It would be an enormous loss of face."
[Never underestimate the suicidal stupidity of at least 50% of the labor movement. In the American case in the 1930s, the AFL "kept its eyes on the prize" of shorter hours, but the idiots in the CIO split off and undermined the AFL's focused thrust. Result? A nationwide workweek maximum five years after the battle for the 30-hour workweek was lost in 1933 and waaay up at the almost irrelevant 44-hour level, to come down 2 hours a year for 2 years and pause at 40 in 1940. Add Lend Lease and Pearl Harbor in 1941 and that 40-hour level has never changed in the now 64 years since. Now (2004 unionized down to 13% of US labor force) American unions are roadkill. They let their power issue, shorter and shorter hours as worksaving technology poured in, slip out of their grasp. And they will remain a pathetic bunch of losers until they get focused squarely - and if necessary, exclusively - on this issue again. It's the only one that gives them power or meaning and it's the only one that gives them any significant role in social evolution. Shorter hours. Workweeks that should automatically adjust against un- and under-employment to provide full employment throughout the economy and hand them the bargaining power of employers' self-babying perception that there's an "acute labor shortage."]
The average German employee spends fewer hours at work than that of nearly every developed economy in the world - 1,444 hours a year, according to the Organization for Economic Development & Cooperation [OEDC - wait a minute, they got that wrong, it must be Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development because the acronym is OECD - wake up, Journal editors!].
[Which is exactly the way every developed economy in the world should be in the Age of Robotics. The most basic freedom is free time. It gives all the other freedoms a chance to be exercised. Without free time, none of the other freedoms have a chance to be fully exercised. And if conservatives are serious about valuing freedom, they must refocus and prioritize free time - for everyone. As for the objection that "the devil finds work for idle hands to do," we answer, "Nonsense - the leisure industries find play for idle hands to do." If you have any doubts about that, check out the Hilton Family Leisure Time Advocacy(TM) Study mentioned in 1/23/2004 #1 below and our numerous stories in spring 2001 about the prosperity of the French leisure industries in the wake of France's cut from 39 to 35 hours a week nationwide.]
That is nearly 25% fewer hours than an American counterpart, according to the OECD.
[The once-great USA, which has plenty of worksaving technology, but even more public and private sector makework than anyone, but still not enough to obviate icing 5.7m of its once-confident consumers in disability and 2.2m in Wacken huts. God knows how many are cowering on temporary unemployment and welfare benefits, not to mention forced early, postponed or interrupted retirement, forced single or multiple part-time and forced self-employment. "This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper." Like we said, American labor unions have failed the American economy, which was already accelerating down to Third World levels even before the autistic Bush regime began flushing a billion bucks a week down the I-relevant I-rack spiderhole.]
Since the late 1970s, Germany's unions have pushed steadily for shorter workweeks and more days off,
[Yet they only got down to 35 hours a week? Big deal. American college and insurance co. staff had 35-hour weeks 25 years ago, Lotus Development had 'em 20 years ago. It was still too high cuz there was still lots of unemployment, and it was still sporadic and arbitrary instead of city- or state-wide and smoothly, automatically adjusting against unemployment.]
on the theory that cutting work time would create more jobs by sharing the existing amount of work among more people.
[That's right, Chris Rhoads, except it ain't a theory. It was standard practice from 1776 to 1940 as the machines of the Industrial Revolution shouldered the work and the workweek came jerking down from sunup to sunset, seven days a week, to five 8-hour days. And as hours diminished, wages multiplied because labor kept itself out of abject, wage-trashing surplus. The reason is obvious. It was not actually straining for artificial job "creation" - it was only sharing the vanishing, market-demanded work, as the fundamentals of sustainable and efficient capitalism required.]
German companies complain, however, that the shorter working time drives up labor costs
[not as fast and pointless as executive compensation, and when shorter worktime drives up labor costs, it also drives up consumer markets and all derivative markets such as industrial markets and financial markets, which astronmical executive pay doesn't - except in stock bubbles and pyramids.]
- now the highest in the world, according to the Ifo Institute, a Munich-based research firm.
[That means the German economy, imperfect as it is, has among the most consumer dynamism and the highest velocity of circulation per capita. If the USA had the income centrifugation of Germany, the American GDP would be 25% higher - and sustainably so - instead of bubbling downward as more and more consumers get lower-wage marginalized jobs or go to warehousing in disability, prison and street living.]
To get around the restrictions, many German companies are shifting jobs abroad, where costs and restrictions are less burdensome.
[What a coincidence. Many American companies are shifting jobs abroad too, and the U.S. has the longest annual working hours in the developed world and costs and restrictions are also less burdensome than in Germany. As a matter of fact, costs and restrictions are also less burdensome in Mexico than in the U.S., and many companies are shifting jobs from Mexico to Asia. So do try to come up with a backup commentary, Chris. "This dog don't hunt."]
The addition of 10 countries, most of them from Eastern Europe, to the EU in May should accelerate the trend, economists say.
[Yep, west Germans are viel zu dumm even to share their 35-hour workweek with east Germans let alone with Bulgarians and such. And problems enough they've already got with the rigidities of a single currency among the current EU members, along with the rigid and arbitrary 3% EU deficit cap.]
How IG Metall, whose decisions serve as a benchmark for unions in other industries, responds will be watched even more closely than usual.
[It's time IG Metall quit responding and started initiating - some intelligent, sustainable, non-arbitrary, market-levelling strategies, such as Timesizing.]
More strikes around the country are expected in the coming days.
[Who cares what unnamed persons "expect"? We expect a Wall St. Journal reporter to find out and tell us what IG Metall PLANS.]
Negotiations are expected to recommence talks Feb.5.
[Same criticism plus poor editing again - should have deleted "talks." Here's a German version from Google News dated 1/29 -]
German metalworkers launch warning strikes, Deutsche Welle [Germany].
Metal and electrical industry workers began warning strikes in several states Thursday, after employers rejected union demands for a pay increase. Economists say the strikes could endanger the recovering economy.
[But economists say anything that limits the power of CEOs endangers the economy, when in fact, the economy is not recovering because they have not optimized their consumer base by worksharing a la workweek reduction to the point of re-employing all their 10% unemployed.]
Shortly after midnight workers across the country downed tools as part of a series of warning strikes organized by the country’s largest industrial union, IG Metall. Representing around 3.4m workers in the manufacturing sector, IG Metall called for the strikes after several rounds of negotiations failed to bring about a new wage agreement.
Early estimates say several thousand workers in Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse, Lower Saxony and Berlin participated in the selective work stoppages. At the DaimlerChrysler plant in Sindelfingen in southwestern Germany the assembly line came to a complete standstill as 1,000 employees stopped working for an hour.
The night shifts at several other major companies including Bosch, Epcos, Infineon, Osram and Continental were also affected by the strikes. IG Metall says the round of warning strikes is scheduled to continue through the first week in February.
Wage increase, fewer hours
The union had threatened to organize warning strikes since talks with industry representatives unraveled late last week. Employers had offered a 1.2% pay increase over the next 27 months, but IG Metall rejected it, saying it was far below the union’s demands of 4% increase over 12 months.
The employer’s association had also tied the pay raise to the introduction of contracts allowing for a flexible work "corridor" of between 35 and 40 hours without an increase in wage - a demand IG Metall categorically rejected as a "slap in the face" and a "provocation."
[Here's hoping IG Metall gets smart and pours all its effort into holding wages and shortening hours to achieve full employment in eastern and western Germany, because of shorter hours and higher pay, if you just win the first you wind up with both by market forces, but if you win just the second you wind up with neither by market forces.]
The return to a 40-hour work week, after unions had fought hard for reducing the week to between 35 and 38 hours, would cost the manufacturing sector at least 400,000 jobs, says IG Metall Vice President Berthold Huber.
[And he's right. And that additional unemployment would pressure down wages further till Germany, like the USA, was well on the slide to Third World living standards.]
The head of the Gesamtmetall employers' association, Martin Kannegiesser, has dismissed IG Metall’s criticisms as proof that the union is not willing to be flexible and work with industry to establish tariff guidelines that would benefit economic recovery.
[Clueless. Thinks consumers appear by magic. Needs a lesson from the early Henry Ford who wanted to pay his employees enough that they could afford their own product.]
Strikes dampen recovery
[We repeat, what 'recovery'?]
Several leading economic institutes are also of the opinion that the union’s warning strikes and insistence on a significant pay increases could endanger the still tentative signs of Germany’s economic recovery. According to a survey conducted by the Berliner Zeitung, the Kiel Institute for World Economics (IfW Kiel) and the Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA) have both criticized IG Metall for putting jobs at risk.
[How can so many of the power elite be so self-destructively stupid?]
Roland Dährn from the Rhine-Westphalia Institute for Economic Research in Essen said a wage increase of 2% would be ideal. "That would encourage more hiring," he told the newspaper.
[Nothing will encourage more hiring except a labor shortage fostered by a gradually but constantly adjusting, mostly downward, workweek.]
A strike, however, would put everything on hold and slow down recovery, he said.
[Better medicine now than death later.]
Joachim Scheide from IfW maintained that anything above a 2% pay raise would have a negative affect on the economy.
[How much are they paying you, Scheide?]
Eckhardt Wohlers from HWWA pointed out that IG Metall wage tariffs were traditionally regarded as the model for negotiations in the rest of industry. "When the metalworkers agree on more than 2%, it sends a sign to all other branches to do the same," he said warning that an industry-wide increase would severely hinder Germany’s competitive advantage and cost even more jobs at a time when the country is just beginning to pull itself out of recession.
[It's time every economy realized that the only place it can count on a competitive advantage is within itself, and reduced export dependency accordingly. Free trade in the context of uncapped executive pay is nothing but a green light for CEOs to vacuum, concentrate and de-activate the spending power from a larger population, with subsequent resulting depression.]
1/28/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 1/27 via GoogleNews & searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA (except #3 which is from the 1/28 WSJ or NYT hardcopy), and excerpts [& comments] are by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialled -
- ...Of supply and demand, letter to editor by L.A. Eldemir of San Francisco, WSJ, A19.
In regard to Greg Ip's Jan.23 page-one article "The gap in wages": One key thing not mentioned is the constantly growing supply of immigrant workers at the lower end of the wage scale. The basic tenet of high supply and low demand resulting in lower prices applies to labor as well as goods.
[And labor's "price" is wages. So a high supply of labor and a low demand for labor means low wages. That's why introducing waves of worksaving technology since 1940 without further reducing the 1940-era 40-hour workweek eventually make for a high supply of every kind of labor and a relatively low demand. And that eventuality has arrived. The net result is "sundowning" into depression, because we have all this wonderful technologized productive capacity and - strum, "where have all our markets gone? - gone to layoffs, every one...."]
However, current policy favors an increasing supply of labor, further exacerbating wage erosion.
[So waddaya say, USA = 3d world, in 20 yrs? 15?]
- Officers overworked, review finds, by Valerie Kalfrin (firstname.lastname@example.org), Tampa Tribune.
TAMPA, Fla. - Several Tampa police officers worked more than 75 hours per week last year, including off-duty jobs arranged by the department, a city audit shows. The extra hours put officers at risk of fatigue, auditors said.
Internal Audit Director Cynthia Miller will present the audit to the city council today. The review is done every three years to evaluate how well the city is paid for contracting its officers to the private sector for special events.
Auditors found the collection efforts outstanding, recording about $2,400 in past- due accounts.
They also noted that some officers appear to be working too many hours.
Department policy requires officers not to work more than 16 hours a day or 64 hours a week. This includes their regular shifts, court appearances and extra-duty jobs, where a private company or individual pays the city $26 an hour to hire a police officer. The officers volunteer for the extra work and receive $22 of that hourly fee. The jobs include directing traffic outside sporting events, escorting funeral processions, and acting as security guards at stores and nightclubs.
Auditors reviewed a sample of 26 officers' payroll records between Oct. 1, 2002, and Oct. 31, 2003. Nine officers had worked more than the established limits by as little as 15 minutes or as many as 15 hours.
The Tampa Police Department has nearly 1,000 officers. Patrol officers work 11½-hour shifts four days in a row. Detectives have 40-hour workweeks.
The sample chosen was not to investigate how many officers worked long hours but to evaluate the process of regulating their extra-duty jobs, Miller said. Working more than 12 consecutive hours without at least eight hours off duty can result in slowed reaction times and other impaired performance, according to a National Academy of Sciences report from 2003 quoted in the audit.
Department officials said they do not think the results point to a widespread problem. The department trains officers in fatigue management, they said. Supervisors also pull records often to check how much the officers are working.
The auditors "didn't find anybody working like crazy and falling asleep on the job,'' said Sgt. Ken Orrill, who
coordinates the extra-duty work.
Nevertheless, Orrill said the department's policy would clarify that officers should work no more than 24 hours of extra duty per calendar week. Orrill said his office will better document waivers from supervisors for working more than expected.
Most flagged in the audit had received such waivers because of extenuating circumstances where they could not "pick up and leave'' an extra-duty job, Orrill said.
These included an officer waiting at Raymond James Stadium for an armored car to collect proceeds from a Bucs game, he said.
- Germany poised for strikes, Expatica [Netherlands].
FRANKFURT - Germany's powerful metalworkers union IG Metall was poised Wednesday to start a wave of warning strikes in pressing its wage hike demands, but insisted on its readiness to achieve a "fair compromise" with employers. Work stoppages were planned at factories in several states around the country, affecting such prominent firms as DaimlerChrysler, Bosch Elektronik and Osram starting after midnight Wednesday when a 4-week truce period expires.
IG Metall is demanding a 4% pay increase under a 12-month wage deal for some 3.5m workers in Germany's key metal engineering and electronics sectors.
Employers are offering 1.2% pay increases in stages over 27 months, while also seeking to raise the working week back to 40 hours, from the current 35 hours, without additional pay.
[Even many German employers don't "get" the absolute necessity of cutting, not raising, the workweek to maintain domestic wages and markets. There is a clash between their short-term megalomaniacal desire to compete with anyone in the world, no matter how low their wages and working conditions, and their longer-term need to anchor their businesses in strong domestic markets. At the moment, the short-sighted view is dominant, and is generating a global deepening economic depression that is being denied by the consolidated-ownership media and ignored by the majority in the economics profession by means of repeatedly redefined measures that externalize and/or camouflage more and more of the mounting damage and de-activated consumers. The damage is defined to be stable in unemployment and welfare (5-year lifetime U.S. cap) but is mounting in the still uncapped areas of disability, homelessness and suicide, and the uncappable areas of incarceration; forced early, postponed and interrupted retirement; and forced single or multiple part-time; and forced self-employment. The dysfunctionality of primitive, short-term, downsizing-type capitalism is building to a crisis. We need to switch to timesizing-type capitalism as quickly and smoothly as possible - or we will all have flat Third World levels of effective demand and super-astronomical Third World levels of concentrated skills, employment, income and wealth - with nothing sustainable to invest it in. Humanity is at an impasse. We solve this problem, the Chesterton trap, and "get over" this dimension of greed (inability to stay within our share-per-person, or to even define it), or we will drift around aimlessly in this backwater of evolution indefinitely, becoming ever more vulnerable to extermination by more progressive intelligent species, if any.]
In an interview in the tabloid paper Bild, IG Metall deputy chairman Berthold Huber insisted the union's demands were not excessive and that his side was willing to compromise. "We are not keen on a strike and we will seek a fair compromise," Huber said.
He said the 4% pay hike demand was within reason if one considered that worker productivity is projected to rise 1.8%, with inflation projected at 2%. "The decisive point is that we are not stuck with the risk of inflation
and that we gain a fair share of the economic progress," Huber said, adding that "you can forget any upswing" in the German economy if workers are left out, in turn affecting private demand.
[At last, somebody connecting the dots between flat wages and flat economic growth. Now if they would make the connection from flat wages back to inappropriately long working hours for current levels of worksaving technology, we'd have the whole process of deterioration pegged.]
But critics of the union's pay demands warn that they could hurt the prospects for German economic recovery. "The recovery is now standing on unsteady legs," said Michael Heise, chief economist for the Allianz insurance concern, told the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel. "If it now also comes to a high wage agreement, it could turn dangerous."
[Always following the fashion set by the insulated isolated top brackets - to think that it's all about investors, not consumers. The unsteady legs of the so-called recovery will just get less and less steady until this thinking changes.]
The president of the prestigious Berlin-based economic research institute DIW, Klaus Zimmermann, warned against a wage conflict, saying this would pose "a further threat" to the German economy.
For IG Metall, the wage demands are the first major test after the union's disastrous campaign in the summer of 2003 to try to force a reduction of the working week in eastern Germany to 35 hours.
[Funny how the two-guy media are spinning this as a disaster for all they're worth. Though it failed for 300,000 engineering workers thanks to Schroeder's stupid opposition, it succeeded for about 15,000 steelworkers.]
That campaign of hit-and-run strikes, chiefly against automotive components suppliers, had to be called off as employers stood firm and public opinion turned against the union when car factories in western Germany began to be forced to shut down for a lack of parts.
Talks between employers and IG Metall on a new wage accord got started in early January. They will be resumed next week.
- Working smarter, achieving more, by Dan Sullivan, Business Week Online.
Too many entrepreneurs wrongly believe that long work hours are a measure of success. Here's a way to reclaim your life.
I work with a lot of entrepreneurs, and the way many of them talk about time is reminiscent of the talk about gasoline during the energy crisis of the 1970s: "There isn't enough to go around! It's running out!" To compensate, some adopt time-management systems as complex as the gasoline solutions. ("Only even-numbered license plates can fill up today!") What they need, however, isn't more complexity. They need simplicity.
Ultimately, the fuel crisis wasn't managed by figuring out how to keep doing things the same way, but rather by adopting new ways of working with the resources at hand. Innovative technologies like fuel injection systems emerged, and the energy supply - which experts projected would be depleted by now - continues abundant. The same is true of time: It may seem to be a [scarce] resource, but there is actually as much of it as you need if you learn to use it in a new way.
Still, many entrepreneurs operate in a time system far more obsolete than a 1970s gas-guzzler. Indeed, their [time system] comes from the era of the Model-T.
At the turn of the last century, factories revolutionized the way goods were produced and delivered to the
public. With factory work came a different attitude toward workers. They were parts in a machine and could be replaced. While they were working, it was necessary to ensure that things ran as uniformly and predictably as possible. Every day's work was the same, and compensation was given in exchange for the length of time worked. Working long hours was a sign of loyalty. In sum, it was a bureaucratic time system. I call it the Time-and-Effort Economy.
Today, bureaucratic systems are breaking down. Advances in technology have radically shifted our thinking, emphasizing the limitless creative potential of the individual. Entrepreneurs are on the leading edge of this trend, stepping free from old structures to innovate and create value with greater speed and adaptability than lumbering institutions, which are focused on perpetuating themselves rather than serving their markets. Entrepreneurs live in what I call the Results Economy. They get paid only for the results they produce, based on the value these results create for their clients and customers [and they don't even get paid for them if those results are not scarce but in over-supply]. For them, it is an entrepreneurial time system.
Why, then, do so many entrepreneurs still operate as if it mattered how long or how hard they work? An unhealthy notion of virtue has become attached to burnout, regardless of whether the long hours have produced any results. This thinking completely misses the point of being an entrepreneur, which is freedom.
Types of days
In 1988, I co-founded The Strategic Coach with my wife, Babs Smith. We specialize in creating breakthrough strategies and tools for highly successful entrepreneurs. Among our many offerings is Entrepreneurial Time System, the purpose of which is to create an ever-increasing amount of personal freedom for the entrepreneur, while generating the greatest possible results for his or her business. What follows is a discussion of its essential elements.
At its core, The Entrepreneurial Time System completely alters an individual's relationship to time. It allows one's personal and professional lives to receive an equal amount of attention - indeed, to be in balance - and thus generate energy for each other. The program calls for dividing days into three distinct types, which we call Free Days, Focus Days, and Buffer Days, and attending differently during each.
The good life
- Free Days. A Free Day is a 24-hour period, midnight to midnight, in which you, the entrepreneur, do not engage in any business-related thinking, communication, or actions. Admittedly, it's a difficult concept for many company founders, who might feel they are abandoning their child when they take time away from the business. However, the opposite is true: You become a detriment to your business when you don't. When you refuse to delegate tasks, you slow down your team. When you run out of energy, you don't have the creativity to seize opportunities. When you become reactive, you harm the organization you want to build and protect. Your personal life suffers, too. One successful entrepreneur I know says, "I was boring! I only had one thing I could talk about: work."
The best Free Days are planned in advance - and are protected, inviolate, and non-negotiable. When you learn to disconnect from the stream of demands and information (much of which is soon irrelevant) and invest attention and care in the other aspects of your life, you start making choices against a broader backdrop. Your life becomes more integrated, less a tug-of-war between conflicting elements.
In 2003, Babs and I are taking 150 Free Days. We booked them before the year began. Imagine the trust in our team that this demanded of us! But until we made the commitment, we couldn't have a team equal to the challenge. Now, our free time is devoted to rejuvenating ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. When we return to work, we're able to be more creative, confident, and productive, and the whole company benefits.
- Focus Days. A Focus Day is a 24-hour period, again midnight to midnight, in which you spend 80% of your time on the activities that create results for your business. To use a sports analogy, these are "game days." On Focus Days, you concentrate on your most important business-related activities, relationships, and opportunities. If you've planned your Free Days strategically, you will be rejuvenated and thus able to be fully "on" and "present" for your performance on Focus Days.
By communicating to your team in advance that you'll be "focusing" on a particular day, you will enable them to clear a path for you, setting up whatever you need to help you be your most productive and achieve results.
What should you be doing on your Focus Days? Think about what you do personally that makes the greatest contribution to
- your company's bottom line. Pick the three activities that create the best results for your company. These are likely the activities that also energize you personally, because you feel a sense of progress and accomplishment when engaging in them. Imagine how productive you could be if you could spend a day attending to just these tasks, without interruption, and with full preparation and support. This is what Focus Days are for.
- Buffer Days. If Focus Days are for performance, Buffer Days are for rehearsals. On Buffer Days, you handle all of the details that would otherwise distract your attention on a Focus Day. You use these days to catch up, clean up messes, delegate, and learn new skills. You use them to maintain and restore simplicity and order in your life - what could be more satisfying than clearing a week's worth of phone calls to return from your to-do list? Most importantly, you use them to do the necessary planning that will ensure that nothing intrudes on your Free Days and Focus Days.
Consider the emphasis and breakdown - Free Days first, then Focus Days, and finally Buffer Days - in a
ratio of roughly three, three, one. Now, imagine applying this system to your week, your month, your year - indeed, your life. What would you have to change, physically and mentally, to make it work for you? Is there anything you would lose as a result? What would you gain?
Thousands of entrepreneurs have learned this system in The Strategic Coach Program. Many struggle initially with the seeming paradox of working less yet getting better results. Time and again, though, I've seen individuals surpass all their previous business achievements while finding new satisfaction in their lives, because they now have more freedom than ever to do what they feel passionate about, to be with the people they love, and to enjoy a richer array of experiences.
Dan Sullivan is co-founder and president of The Strategic Coach. A visionary and innovative creator, Sullivan has more than 25 years' experience as a highly regarded speaker, strategic thinker, resource, and coach to highly successful entrepreneurs. His strong belief in, and commitment to, the power of the entrepreneur is evident in all areas of The Strategic Coach® and its coaching programs, which work to help entrepreneurs reach their full potential in both their business and personal lives.
- IBM, Dell and HP under fire over 'Sweatshop' computer factories, by Graeme Wearden, ZDNet [UK].
Workers employed in factories in the developing world making computer components for companies such as IBM, Dell and Hewlett-Packard are suffering atrocious conditions for extremely low pay, according to a new report. The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) says it has uncovered "dire working conditions" at computer production sites in Mexico, China and Thailand.
In the course of its investigation, CAFOD spoke with electronics workers in all three countries. It uncovered a litany of unsafe factories; compulsory overtime; pay below the legal minimum wage; and cases where large numbers of workers have been deprived of basic legal entitlements such as health, pension and employment benefits.
Katherine Astill, CAFOD's private sector analyst, said: "The current situation is unacceptable. Its products may embody the latest in high technology, but labour standards in computer manufacturing can be appallingly low."
CAFOD believes that these conditions are caused by the pressure within the IT industry to cut costs, in the drive to offer cheaper products. This has seen many manufacturers outsource some of their operations to developing countries where wages are much lower, it's easier to hire and fire workers as demand changes, and very few people are members of a union.
HP, IBM and Dell have all been singled out for criticism by CAFOD. The agency has examined their respective codes of conduct for labour standards, and found that all three fell below standards set by the United Nations.
IBM in particular was criticised for failing to include provisions that would stop suppliers from using forced labour or child labour, imposing excessive working hours, or using harsh or inhumane treatment. It had also failed to ensure that suppliers pay a living wage. IBM said it has already responded to this report by taking action to remedy some of the problems that have been uncovered. The company said in a statement: "IBM has long had a strong policy against discrimination in the workplace. We are taking steps to reinforce this with the suppliers, including updating our supplier agreement to include new language that specifically prohibits them from discriminating against employees and applicants for
employment because of race, colour, religion, sex, age, national origin or any other legally protected status."
Some of the accounts published by CAFOD are harrowing. They include the story of Monica, a 26-year-old woman employed by a contract manufacturer making printers for HP. During her interview, Monica was subjected to a humiliating strip-search examination, and made to take a pregnancy test. Workers who fall pregnant are likely to be summarily sacked, according to CAFOD, but HP said it was not aware of such cases.
A HP statement said: "HP is working with our suppliers on an ongoing basis to ensure that our suppliers' practices reflect our values and are consistent with our labour and environmental standards. We have implemented a Supplier Code of Conduct that has been rolled out to our top 50 suppliers, and we are working with those suppliers to ensure that their practices meet our code. We will work with them over time to roll out the code of conduct to their sub-contractors as well."
Dell welcomed CAFOD's investigation. "This report raises some serious issues. We're pleased with our progress to date on dealing with these problems, but there's more work to do. "We're going to ensure that our suppliers understand the principles that they need to adhere to in order to work with Dell," a Dell spokesman told silicon.com's sister site ZDNet UK.
As part of the report, CAFOD has laid out an "agenda for change", in which it calls on multinational computer manufacturers to adopt codes of conduct for supply-chain management based on the standards set by the United Nation's International Labour Organisation, and to provide resources to make sure these standards are kept to.
Governments also have a vital role to play, CAFOD says, by encouraging companies to improve their practices and by taking the issue into account when awarding its IT contracts.
1/27/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 1/26 via GoogleNews & searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA (except #1 which is from the 1/27 WSJ or NYT hardcopy), and excerpts [& comments] are by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialled -
- Labor woos working parents, Melbourne Herald Sun [Australia].
Working parents would have the right to request family-friendly work hours as part of a radical[??] "work and family" agenda being considered by Federal Labor. Employers would need to demonstrate why a request for more flexible hours could not reasonably be granted.
"It is about changing the workforce culture on the part of employers so they recognise that flexible work hours are the way of the future," Labor workplace relations spokesman Craig Emerson told The Daily Telegraph.
The right for working parents to request more flexible hours is under consideration as the third plank in a Labor policy to give workers "right to request" powers. The other two are the right for women to request part-time work after returning from maternity leave, and the right to request permanent part-time work after a long period of casual employment with the same firm.
Mr Emerson said these "rights to request" would be subject to a test of what was reasonable for each business, rather than a blanket law. This meant a small retail business with few employees would more easily be able to argue a worker's request was unreasonable than big businesses, such as Telstra and the banks.
"We are sympathetic to this sort of approach - it does recognise the challenge of balancing work and family life," he said.
"If you can balance work and family life through more flexible working hours then workers are much more likely to remain at a business or in an occupation." This would encourage bosses to invest more heavily in workers' skills and reduce turnover.
Labor would change the Workplace Relations Act so that the balance between work and family were considered.
[So, Australia creeps ahead - though too reproduction-tied in an age of overpopulation...]
- [...but Germany appears to be actually careening backward -]
Germany's moonlighter economy - Tough times mean working second jobs, by Andreas Tzortzis, Christian Science Monitor.
BERLIN – He begins his day early, in slacks and a nice shirt. He ends his day late, in overalls and work boots.
At 5 a.m., Andreas Koschorrek gets ready for his morning job as a client manager for a cleaning service. After a four-hour shift, he makes a one-hour drive to nearby Potsdam, where he pulls on overalls and washes windows. The pay from both jobs totals a little over 1,200 euros (almost $1,500) a month, just enough to pay his rent and child support for his two daughters.
"It's hectic," the trained maintenance worker says of the two-job life he began a few months ago. "Every month, the money has to go to something," he says, adding that people have to work extremely hard "just to afford vacation."
Moonlighting has long been a part of economic reality in the United States. But the financial doldrums in Europe's largest economy are beginning to force Germans like Mr. Koschorrek into working two or even three jobs to stay afloat and afford some of the finer things in life. "Certainly what has happened elsewhere hasn't gone unnoticed in Germany," says Martin Werding, at the Ifo Institute for Economic Research in Munich. "There have been massive changes in standard work life. Flexible contracts, people changing professions - all this has arrived in Germany as well. In that sense [working two jobs] is a part of the picture."
A system on overload
Once Europe's economic powerhouse, Germany's form of economic socialism is being strained by the very aspects that made it attractive. Entire careers spent at one company, generous pension and healthcare plans, and ironclad job protection have proved too costly and have chased away investment, say analysts.
[B.S. - the only people in Germany who 'need' investment are in the financial industry, and they appear poised to ruin the German consumer base and the whole economy in the name of short-term prosperity for themselves = short-term prosperity, long-term suicide, same as in the USA.]
To rein in the welfare system and make the economy more flexible, the government - after a long and bitter fight with unions and the political opposition - passed tough economic 'reforms' [our quotes] in December. Among other things, the changes loosen hiring and firing laws.
[Easy on investors, tough on everyone else - never mind that then investors have nothing solid to invest in.]
"When (this system) worked really well and people had high wages, it was fine," says Melanie Arntz, at the Center for European Economic Research in Mannheim. "But now people realize in general that there seems to be something that has to be changed, and they are in favor of the 'reforms' and are adjusting to them by having another job."
[Ridiculous. Now the German family will go the way of the American family = enriching Wackenhut prison contruction.]
Skilled laborers like Koschorrek are facing high unemployment rates, and even white-collar professionals are no longer guaranteed full-time employment and are looking for ways to shore up their income.
Bernard Bosil has branched out from his profession of tax adviser, working a total of three jobs now to maintain his middle-class lifestyle. "Every job is so unstable, you don't know if you're going to be working in the same place three years from now," says Mr. Bosil, a native of the Rhineland city of Krefeld.
So he started his own window-cleaning company with a client list initially made up of friends and colleagues, and cut back his hours at the tax office. He now spends 20 hours a week in the office, devotes the rest of the week [# hours??] to the window-cleaning business - and on the weekends tops up steins at a beer garden, the same place he worked as a student.
Bosil sees advantages to becoming more economically nimble. "It's a nice change," he says. "To just sit in the office all day is too boring, I need people around me."
To help such moonlighters along - and try to bring down unemployment rates that hover around 10 percent - Germany changed labor laws last year. Under the adjustment, people working part-time jobs can earn up to 400 euros ($500) without having to pay taxes or social costs on the wage. Employers pay a set rate of 25 percent of the worker's wage to cover tax and some benefits.
In the six months after the law went into effect April 1, more than a million professionals, students, housewives, and craftsmen turned to working the so-called "minijobs," according to the federal agency set up to manage the system.
"It's clear that incentives have changed in favor of having a small job, in addition to a regular job," said Harmen Lehment, of the Kiel Institute of World Economics. "I expect more and more people will make this move and have a minijob."
For white-collar professionals like Bosil, his minijob as a waiter helps him pay the rent on his new apartment and go on weekend trips. Blue-collar workers, like Koschorrek, juggle minijobs with work in their field to stay above water.
"I never thought working two jobs would become so common," says Koschorrek, whose work is categorized as a craft in Germany. When he completed his vocational training license in window- and building-maintenance work in the early 1990s, the demand for his services was high. But in the years after the Berlin wall was dismantled, the window-cleaning market was flooded with east German companies bringing cheaper labor who lowballed each other on bids. Koschorrek saw his income dwindle. He tried starting a company a few years ago, but ultimately gave up at the beginning of 2003. He - and Bosil as well - may face even more competition in the future, under a new law that makes it easier for tradesmen and craftsmen to start their own businesses.
Koschorrek found work again in August last year. Now, one of the last things he packs before leaving mornings is a backpack with his worker's overalls and a pair of boots. In the early morning hours, he folds his lanky frame into a company truck and drives to different clients to ask them if they're happy with their cleaning service. In the afternoon, he mounts a scaffolding, pocketing 338 tax-free euros as a minijobber working for a window-washing firm. At night, he often returns to his job at the building-maintenance service, walking the flourescent-lit halls of one of the buildings his company is cleaning, checking in on janitors. His last vacation was six years ago. "I don't even have time for that anymore, I turn my vacation days into pay," he says.
More work, less rest [and less per-hour productivity and less incentive for more innovation]
In a country of globetrotting tourists accustomed to 29 days of vacation each year, the statement might seem like heresy. Yet it could perhaps be a sign of things to come. Germans worked on average two hours more last year than in 2002, according to the Federal Statistics Office. While tiny, the number was notable because it was the first increase in working hours in 11 years.
The latest - and possibly last - in successive generations of window cleaners in his family, Koschorrek is now reconsidering the work. His father and grandfather were able to retire comfortably. "I thought: That's how you're going to do it, too," he says. "But, well, we see what's become of that."
- [and in 4-hour workweek reducing South Korea -]
Korea's young find it hard to get a job, by Kim Jung Min, WSJ, B2A.
[Unfortunately they're only coming down from 44 to 40, and they're only starting in July.]
SEOUL -...South Korea is home to a growing number of out-of-work 20-somethings..\.. Lee In Seok has been trying to find work since graduating almost a year ago. The 26-year-old has applied for more than 100 jobs - all to no avail....
A weak economy, the allure of cheap outsourcing offshore, and the embrace of [work-saving] technology are all contributing to high unemployment among young Koreans. The rate for those aged 15-29 reached 8.6% in December, more than twice the overall jobless rate of 3.6%. Their ranks are so large that they have been dubbed the Kangaroo Tribe because they lack the economic independence to leave the protective pouch of their families.
Graduates have fared the worst. Last year, 60% of higher-education graduates failed to land jobs.
[Not much incentive there to bother with it, and then young people will be drowning the job market even earlier and they'll start laying off professors. There goes one of our really big makework programs. See #20 on our Realms of Makework page. Does anyone in South Korea realize the timesizing imperative, the need to share the vanishing work? There must be someone if they're finally cutting to a 40-hour workweek.]
Even law graduates, traditionally the most sought-after by Korean companies, are having trouble: Nearly 2/3 have been unable to find work.
[Hey, maybe there's a silver lining in this cloud after all - demotivating more lawyers. Litigiousness, at least in the USA, is #2 on our Realms of Makework page.]
The surge in youth unemployment is the result of 2 trends.
Add to that a cyclical downturn in the Korean economy - which resulted in a 6-month recession last year - and the outlook for young people is dire.
- ...Demographic. Children of Korea's "second baby boom," the progeny of the first baby boomers born after the 1950-53 Korean War, are reaching adulthood and pouring into the job market.
[Compare America around 1970 for the babyboomers and around 2000 for the second babyboomers.]
- ...Economic. Since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, Korean companies have become more focused on profits, paring back workforces, relying increasingly on temporary employees and people with more experience and skills.
[The U.S. has been doing the opposite - going for low-wage young people regardless of loss of corporate knowledge.]
- They [Korean companies] have also turned to technology for labor-intensive tasks and begun outsourcing services and production to cheap locations in Southeast Asia and China.
[Hmm, this qualifies as a third, technological trend, but far be it from conventional reporters, analysts or economists to highlight anything that might disturb their sneering about the "Lump of Labor Fallacy" (see also later in this article), the silly notion that there might be just a finite amount of market-demand for labor (ie: jobs) that needs to be shared and spread around to all those who need to support themselves, lest the consumer base go into a long slow tailspin.]
[How do they know it's cyclical. When you can't share the vanishing, not just finite, labor demand enough to absorb your young people into the self-supporting workforce, you're threatening the whole idea of work and independence = working to support yourself. But then, short-sighted, economists are threatening the basic idea of work with their trapped-in-the-box thinking about the limitlessness of labor demand all over the world, even as we're gradually prying the tenacious hold that their tiny minds have on the limitlessness of the pollutability of the rivers and oceans, and the inexhaustibility of the fisheries and the ground water. Google Herman Daly, leading ecological economist, on this - particularly his books on Steady State Economics and "For the Common Good," not to mention Barry Commoner's classic, "The Closing Circle."]
When Mr. Lee applied for one of 50 vacancies at a small local food company in December, he was up against 4,500 other applicants. "I didn't even get an interview," he said.
[Shorter vacations, fewer job vacancies. Hm, how do we find our examples like this in the U.S. economy - they're in here somewhere but what do we search on.... Meanwhile -]
Like Mr. Lee, Song Kyoung Min has also struggled to find work since leaving a university two years ago. The 26-year-old computer-engineering graduate, who lives with his parents [Kangaroo Tribe!], has been hopping from one part-time job to another and surviving with the help of a small allowance from his parents. "The government...doesn't seem to realize the extent of this problem," he said....
[Why should they? They're rich, insulated and isolated.]
Labor experts say that while the overall jobless rate is likely to fall [if &] when the economy improves and companies start replenishing their staffs, it won't necessarily translate into more jobs for younger workers....
[or, by our US experience, into more jobs for anybody.]
Then there is the country's [and the world's] love affair with technology. In the retail industry alone, technology is taking the place of thousands of young job-seekers.
[How about that. They can announce the death of the Lump of Labor Fallacy sneer in the distant South Korean economy, but just try to get them to admit it about the US or UK economies! Yet look at this clip from a particularly fatuous article on the editorial page -]
'Outsourcing' is good for America, by Prof. Douglas A. Irwin of Dartmouth economics, WSJ, A16.
...Of course, the share of the American workforce in manufacturing has fallen steadily over the postwar period due to vast increases in productivity,
[looks like a genuine admission of technological displacement of human workers in the U.S. and an inherent renunciation of scoffing at the Lump of Labor 'Fallacy', but Irwin immediately goes to damage control and distraction -]
but this is a worldwide phenomenon. Between 1995 and 2003, China, Japan, Brazil and other countries lost more manufacturing jobs than did the U.S., according to an Alliance Capital Management study..\..
[So, Irwin says, tech displacement in the U.S. is no big deal cuz it's happening everywhere and in some places it's worse than in the U.S. - never mind that responding to technology with downsizing instead of timesizing is leaving our consumer base and economic growth at a fraction of what they should be. Basically Irwin tries to justify outsourcing by saying that U.S. manufacturing hasn't (yet!) been -]
vaporized in the process [because] manufacturing production has risen about 40% over the past decade.
[Never mind that demand for American manufactures - and production - would have risen at twice that rate if American employees had higher pay and more free time in proportion to the growth in American under-employment, comprising unemployment, welfare, disability, homelessness, incarceration, suicide, and also forced early, delayed and interrupted retirement, forced part-time and forced 'self-employment' - instead of surplusing cumulating sections of the American workforce and suctioning their higher pay into the top income brackets, where its concentration levels are now so astronomical that they're actually suctioning the spending power and markets away from their own investments = a classic depression scenario. In general, standard economists will cling to their pre-technological 18th-century thinking as long as they can - even ignoring the halving of the workweek between 1776 and 1940. And the S. Korean article still hasn't mentioned the currently in-the-works 4-hour reduction of the workweek - and in fact, never does get around to connecting these dots.]
Take Lotte Department Store, for example, which has just built a counter system that replaces sales staff with personal digital assistants. It is planning to introduce the automated system in its 20 stores nationwide. The company expects the system to reduce the number of salespeople, mostly in their 20s, by 70%....
[Gradually companies are painting themselves into a worksharing corner because without that, no 20-something jobs, no 20-something markets.]
A recent survey by the Ministry of Labor found fresh college graduates accounted for only 18.2% of all recruits in 2002, compared with 59.3% in 1997.
[So what is the gov't doing so far? Well, aside from the effective but too rigid worksharing of the new 40-hour workweek, which is apparently taboo for this WSJ reporter to mention, it's doing taxpayer-burdening makework -]
The government has drawn up plans in an effort to provide more opportunities for young jobseekers. This year, it will spend 517B won ($434m) - up from 362B won last year - on subsidies to companies that hire jobless youngsters, vocational programs and public-sector job-creation efforts.
[In other words, big government and other bogus, market-irrelevant upsizing.]
The job-creation programs last between 6 months and a year. ...This year, government ministries will offer 142,000 places in their own job-creation programs.
Business leaders complain that universities have failed to foster the kind of competitive manpower they need. "Despite the high unemployment rate, we have a hard time recruiting qualified employees," said Oh Sang Soo, president of Mando Corp., a Korean car-parts maker....
[Then quit leaning on the taxpayer and implement overtime-to-OJT conversion economywide!]
1/24-26/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 1/23-25 via GoogleNews & searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA (except #1-2 which are from the 1/24-26 WSJ or NYT hardcopy), and excerpts [& comments] are by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialled -
- Fresh outside pursuits can help you wake up your brain on the job, by Joann Lublin, WSJ, B1.
Most of us working stiffs spend our free time caring for the kids, goofing off, exercising or taking out the trash. Most of us never pick leisure-time pursuits that might enhance our success on the job....
[But then, that wouldn't be leisure, would it. It would just be an extension of the job.]
- Plastics firm's flexibility meets challenges - From navigational buoys to car parts, company fills niche, by Michael Buettner, Charleston Post & Courier [SC].
You may never have heard of Multiplastics, but there's a good chance you've seen their products.
The Mount Pleasant company has been around for more than 50 years, and in that time it has made odds and ends of plastic for a range of uses from navigational buoys and packing materials to parts for SUVs and golf carts.
One way the company has kept its business afloat during the recent economic downturn has been to keep looking for even more ways to put more plastic into more products. "We work for every industry," said company president Deborah Herbert. "That's what keeps our creative juices flowing."
Multiplastics is a division of Curd Enterprises, founded in the Chicago area in 1952 by Herbert's parents, Robert F. and Dorothy Dailey Curd. The family, and the company, moved to the Charleston area in 1965. Herbert went to work for the company in 1979 and became president in 1992.
Originally, the company made fiberglass display items, such as a giant statue of "Nipper," the music-loving dog, for RCA's Rochester, N.Y. plant. Later, the company shifted into plastics and built a business making navigational buoys.
When Curd Enterprises first arrived, it occupied a 10,000-square-foot space in North Charleston. The company has grown since then, currently occupying a 138,000-square-foot plant and distribution center on Long Point Road. It employs about 40 people.
The company's buoys, which are used by numerous state and federal agencies including the South Carolina Dept. of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers, are made under the Curd name, while its other, diversified plastic products are made under the Multiplastics brand.
The plant houses a variety of plastic molding machines that can produce items up to 16 feet long. Robot routers trim the molded parts to a precision of 2/1,000ths of an inch, as required for the company to qualify as an ISO 9001-certified supplier for automakers and other industrial customers.
Slowdowns in those customers' business since 2000 had a trickle-down effect on her business, Herbert said. "Suddenly, the phones stopped ringing," she said. "We work with so many large customers, and suddenly they didn't need parts. We had to respond."
Herbert is especially proud that she was able to avoid laying off any employees during the downturn. Instead, the company switched to four-day workweeks and cut back on hours. It's important to retain workers, she said, because the operation of the company's machinery requires fairly extensive training.
Business has picked up since the big crunch a couple of years ago, however, in part because of the company's in-house product-design capabilities.
Paul D. Spies, vice president, explained that Multiplastics' engineers can design a part on a computer, create a prototype mold and manufacture a working part, all in-house. With that part - which can range from a small piece of molding for the interior of a car to an entire kayak hull - the company can go to potential customers and show them exactly how much weight and how many dollars the customer can save by switching to plastic from, say, fiberglass.
That innovative approach has allowed the company to win some unusual contracts, including the design and manufacture of the plastic pans attached to the Isle of Palms connector that catch oil-tainted runoff and prevent it from draining into the sensitive marsh environment below. More recently, Multiplastics has been providing transparent compartments for the world's first see-through-bottom kayak.
"We're always finding new niche markets," Herbert said. "The creative challenge is to educate the customer about how they can benefit from switching to plastic."
AT A GLANCE
476 Long Point Rd., Mount Pleasant
PRESIDENT: Deborah D. Herbert
YEAR FOUNDED: 1952
EMPLOYEES: About 40
ANNUAL REVENUES: Less than $10m
- Employees first - Companies flout conventional wisdom, treat their workers well and make money, by Cecil Johnson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
Some gutsy business leaders achieve extraordinary success by challenging the conventional wisdom that holds that the customer comes first. In Guts! Companies That Blow the Doors off Business-as-Usual, consultants Kevin and Jackie Freiberg offer an instructive collection of profiles of companies achieving excellent results by placing employees first.... The Freibergs include numerous...examples of companies that rowed against the current of conventional wisdom from the outset.
Guts is a sequel to the Freibergs' 1996 bestseller Nuts!: Southwest Airlines' Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success. The new book also contains numerous references to Southwest Airlines' employee and customer-service policies and practices.
- One of the most spectacular examples of such gutsiness is the SAS Institute of Cary, N.C., headed by former North Carolina State University faculty member Jim Goodnight.... SAS is the world's largest private software company. It has 9,000 workers and offices in 23 countries, revenue of more than $1B and 40,000 customers in 18 countries. It also leads U.S. companies in 24/7 customer service. 80% of its sales come from renewals; the annual renewal rate is 98%.
The Freibergs maintain that a "gung-ho" work force at SAS keeps products flowing and customers content.
Goodnight "makes employees' lives a lot easier and more pleasant, which makes them ready and eager to give their all at work. In an industry notorious for footloose employees, they stick to SAS like glue, which allows the company to avoid the costly headache of recruiting, training and assimilating new hires," the Freibergs write.
Among the worker benefits at SAS: an on-site, subsidized Montessori day-care program for employees' children, flexible work hours, unlimited sick days, "kids' days" off to attend to sick children or important events, a seven-hour workday, a cafeteria with booster seats and high chairs and a round-the-clock free health center with 11 family-nurse practitioners, three family-practice physicians, two nutritionists, 10 nurses, a psychotherapist and two physical therapists.
The Freibergs interviewed Jeff Polzin, a veteran systems developer at SAS who took a job at Cisco and came back to SAS three weeks later. They quote Polzin: "We're not here because of the incredible perks. We're here because we get an opportunity to develop exotic software. But, if another company gave us a similar offer to work on cool software, it would be hard to leave SAS because of all the benefits we can take advantage of."
- ..\..One [more company achieving excellent results by placing employees first] is Seattle-based retailer Bon Marché. The Freibergs quote Bon Marché's chairman and chief executive, Dan Edelman, about putting employees first: "I think putting your customer before your people is the wrong way to go. That may sound like business heresy, but think about it. The customer spends at most a couple of hours a week in a Bon store; our people spend eight hours a day there. And it's our people who are the primary communicators of our culture, the living embodiment of our brand."
The authors point out that in 1988, Bon Marché's sales were flat, morale was low and turnover was high. Customer service, the hallmark of the original store, had deteriorated to where managers at Federated Department Stores, which had bought the 69-store chain, harbored doubts about its survival.
"The culture, such as it was, was based on slogans, pep talks and a few inexpensive and unimpressive perks. Edicts came from on high; there was little follow-through and even less buy-in. Employees were wary, if not already jaded. Edelman was confronting a culture of crisis," the Freibergs write.
Edelman then embarked on a program of culture change that involved input from hundreds of employee volunteers throughout the chain. The result was the BonLife policy, which introduced new benefits, increased input from employees on both their needs and the needs of customers and instituted a more relaxed work atmosphere and six-month checkups to prevent the company from slipping back into its old management ways.
The results of the culture changes, the Freibergs report, have been dramatic. Four years ago, Bon Marché ranked sixth in customer service among Federated stores. "By 2002, it had advanced to first place. In addition, the number of open jobs has dropped 75%, and the rare openings are snapped up within days, not months. Many more management positions are being filled internally. As for sales, they reached more than $1B in 2002," the Freibergs write. Employees became better ambassadors of Bon Marché's brand....
Among the other companies profiled in Guts!:
In the end, the reader of Guts! may conclude that these gutsy businesses are still putting customers first by treating employees so well that they will go the extra kilometer to deliver good products and customer service.
- financial-services giant Synovus;
- GSD&M, the nation's third-largest advertising agency;
- Quad/Graphics, one of the world's leading printing companies;
- Frederic's Corp., distributor of Aveda Environmental Beauty Products;
- Planet Honda of Union, N.J.;
- Ernst & Young's National Tax Compliance Group;
- and Whole Foods of Austin. Whole Foods gets high marks for the sense of ownership it engenders in its employees and what the Freibergs call "disciplined democracy." They quote Whole Foods founder John Mackey: "We like to think of ourselves as a democracy, a structured and disciplined democracy. Energy and ideas work their way up, rather than the other way around. When it comes to rules, I believe that less is more."
- Half of young work force only hold temporary jobs, by Koh Byung-joon
(email@example.com), Korea Herald.
SOUTH KOREA - More than half of salaried employers in their 20s were temporary workers in 2002, indicating an increasingly unstable labor market for young adults as domestic companies tried to save costs and make layoffs easier.
The National Statistical Office said yesterday that of the 4m salaried workers aged between 20 and 29, 1.6m were part-timers while 391,000 were daily contract workers, or those employed on a per day basis, at the end of 2002. Together, the number of temporary workers accounted for 50.2% of the total work force in that age group, the survey showed.
"Amid the economic downturn, companies tried to avoid hiring full-time employees since it would make layoffs more difficult and add to their financial burden," an official at the statistics agency said.
The proportion of temporary workers in that age group has steadily risen more than 11% from the 38.8%
seen in 1992, when 1.61m out of 4.15m workers in their 20s were on temporary payrolls.
The finding came as a younger generation of workers is suffering tougher prospects of landing jobs amid last year's economic slowdown, which has led companies to scale down hiring plans. The jobless rate among those aged 15 and 29 reached 8.6% last year.
"The worsening job security seems to be the result of a mixture of businesses' preference for experienced and skilled workers and the rapid changing local employment environment after the Asian financial crisis," he added.
[Never mind wave after wave of work-saving technology and a 1940-level 40-hour workweek just coming in this summer, creating a huge labor surplus.]
The shift in employment patterns also took its toll on the average working hours among those in their 20s.
According to the survey, 5.1%, or 230,000, among those salaried employees, including the self-employed, worked fewer than 27 hours a week.
Furthermore, despite the tightened [job] market and job insecurity, younger people are not keen on starting their own business. The survey showed that the ratio of those who opened their own business dropped to 7.2% in 2002 from 8.9% in 1992.
The Korean government said it will give priority to job creation when formulating policies for this year. However, the government is expected to face difficulties given that the nation is also grappling with a rapidly aging society.
Last week, the government announced that it would implement a mandatory retirement age of 60 in 2008, higher that the one currently in place in many domestic companies, as part of its efforts to provide more job security for an aging population.
Critics, however, have raised concerns that the measures could run counter to the government's plans to create jobs for younger generations as the increase in the retirement age could hinder companies' plans to hire new and younger workers.
[The only way to avoid agism and the risks of a blank check on gov't funds if, as desirable, people start living a lot longer, is further reducing the workweek from the 40-hour level they're just just trimming-to this year.]
1/23/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 1/22 via GoogleNews & searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA, and excerpts [& comments] are by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialled -
- 1/26 Buddy, can you spare some time? - As free time shrinks, media are in fight for users' attention, by Martin Peers, WSJ, B1, B3.
[So maybe the media and some advertisers will team up with Hilton (see #1 yesterday) to restore and enhance that most basic of all freedoms, free time. Timesizing can help.]
So many choices, so little [time] - An ever-growing array of entertainment options are competing for consumers' time - at a point when total leisure time itself is shrinking.... [chart caption]
...The battle for Americans' disposable time - among a vast proliferation of entertainment products and media channels - is becoming even more pitched than the battle for their disposable income. Indeed, in many key demographic groups, time is scarcer than money.
The scramble for consumer attention is having ripple effects for other industries as well, particularly technology and advertising.
...Consider this: Since 1973, the median number of hours that people say they work has jumped from 41 a week to 49, according to Harris Interactive, which does an annual survey of adults about their work and leisure time. That has mostly come out of people's leisure time [what else?], which has dropped from 26 to 19 hours a week over the same period, Harris reported.
And people have a lot more to crowd into those diminishing hours.
Media companies are scrambling to adjust to the new realities. ...Broadcast TV [viewing] is down dramatically in recent years [but] people are spending a lot more time watching cable and satellite channels, lifting overall household viewing over the past decade. ...Companies that own broadcast networks are buying uip major cable channels.
- Parents can no longer let their children play unsupervised and instead ferry them from soccer game to hockey practice.
- Cellphones, pagers and BlackBerries allow the demands of the office to intrude everywhere, any time of day.
- A dizzying array of entertainment options have invaded homes, from videos and DVDs to videogames, PCs, the Internet, MP3 players and hundreds of new TV channels.
- Even radio is splintering, with satellite radio, often commercial-free, competing with traditional channels.
[Good, maybe they'll smarten up and cut the workweek down to more like where it should be for our level of technology. And where's that? Low enough to vacuum all our unemployed, welfare, disabled, homeless, incarcerated, force-retired, forced part-time etc. back into the job market.]
- GE's NBC now owns Bravo and [plans] to buy USA and Sci-Fi.
- ...Disney...owns ABC [and also] ESPN and ABC Family Channel.
- Viacom...owns MTV and Nickelodeon along with CBS.
...Technologies that help consumers manage and maximize their own time [what little of it there is] are gaining popularity, including cable-TV "on-demand" services that let viewers order movies or TV shows on their own schedules rather than a network's. The spread of low-cost DVD players is having a similar effect, as is TiVo and other "personal video recorders," which also let viewers skip through commercials. Such devices are now in roughly just 2% of U.S. households but growing fast, and increasingly available as part of cable-TV boxes....
"In 1965, 80% of 18- to 49-year-olds in the U.S. could be reached with three 60-second TV spots. In 2002, it required 117 prime-time commercials to produce the same result," P&G's global mktg officer, Jim Stengel, [said]....
More affluent households attractive to advertisers are also more likely to be Internet users. And Internet-using homes watch less TV than people without the Internet, according to UCLA's Center for Communication Policy....
- 1/26 Florida judge declines to give class-action status for suit, WSJ, A10.
...that accuses Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of failing to pay low-level employees for extra work. Circuit Judge Glenn Hess in Panama City FL wrote in his ruling that if the plaintiffs were able to prove Wal-Mart shortchanged the workers, determining the amount owed to each worker would overwhelm the court.
[How about that. A judge refuses to provide justice because he doesn't have the resources. Still think this is the Greatest Country in the World?]
A former nightshift 'manager' [our quotes] in the Panama City Beach Wal-Mart Supercenter and several former employees of Chipley Wal-Mart sued the retailer in 2001, saying they were forced to work through breaks, skip meals and return to unfinished tasks after they clocked out. Steve Agan, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said the next step will be to try to file a federal class-action suit under the FLSA, limiting the number of people joining.
- 1/24 Married to the office - Ten years ago the experts predicted we'd all be working from home and job-sharing by now - So why hasn't it happened?, by Lisa Mitchell, The Age [Australia].
AUSTRALIA - ...The Business Council of Australia (BCA), whose members include about 100 corporations, says that 84 per cent of members surveyed in 2003 claimed to offer eight or more work/family policies, the most common relating to flexible hours, job-sharing, ad hoc working from home (or "teleworking") and parental leave.
But the reality is that employees are reluctant to take up these arrangements.
[But only because employers are even more reluctant, so employees fear it will hurt their career.]
In November 2002, Monash University's Dept. of Management released a fascinating snapshot of the progress and problems faced by 1500 Australian organisations implementing work/life balance strategies. The survey found that workers are trapped in "long hours" cultures trying to demonstrate company commitment to the detriment of their personal lives. Companies have created isolating, hostile and unsupportive environments for employees who have commitments outside the organisation, and poor attitudes and resistance from middle management and supervisors are quashing progress.
Rachel was stunned to find her manager, who has children, displayed a singles versus married-with-kids bias. "It was implied rather than directly spoken, but the attitude was 'What possible excuse could I have to need to work from home?' I worked in an open-plan office, fielding interruptions all day. When you get to my level (team leader), you have to fight fires and manage staff. Sometimes I needed to concentrate on reviewing documents and putting strategies together."
Rachel would often stay...late to maintain political peace, but on the days she did work flexible hours, she felt compelled to justify her absence. "It might be sending an email just before leaving (to prove that she had worked late) or having to make a bit of a song and dance about it (arriving late next morning) in the office, saying: 'Sorry, but I was here till 8pm last night'."
On a scale of one to 10, she rates the value of working flexible hours at nine. "It helps me to create a bit of work/life balance and do my job more effectively." She now holds a similar position in a utilities company, where flexible hours are accepted practice, but working from home is not. "I do more (unpaid) overtime at home now."
One size will not fit all: companies must decide which practices best suit their industry. In the legal profession, for example, the one-on-one client/solicitor relationship remains sacred. Firms find it difficult to redesign the full-time model to recognise and reward part-time partners, says Jo Renkin, a solicitor and former convenor of the Victorian Women Lawyers Association (VWL).
"It depends on the willingness of colleagues and the (supervising) partner to have them successfully work those hours," says Renkin who, as a new mother, works a two-day week as a senior associate with Lander & Rogers. But she admits that legal professionals who adopt flexible options will still have to check their career ambitions at the door. "I'm grappling with my own expectations of my prospective career. Because I'm only two days a week, I'm not there enough to run some of the bigger matters. If I was working 3-4 days a week, I'd like to think it wouldn't have a negative impact ... It's another part of flexible work arrangements that hasn't properly been dealt with in the profession."
Law firm Minter Ellison says it has about 26 people sharing jobs and about 120 able to work from home, on an ad-hoc basis, out of its Melbourne workforce of 680. According to Mark Redman, director of human resources, such arrangements are judged individually.
At accounting firm Deloitte, flexible work hours has been the most successful work/life strategy, but job-sharing threatens the partner/client relationship. "The transfer of knowledge between two people would be difficult, they'd spend too much time briefing each other on the client's needs," says Roslyn Hore, the human resources director, who estimates that 10-15% of the 900 workforce operates on flexible options. "It has doubled in the past two years ... there are a lot of women choosing to have children."
Since Westpac first offered job-share to branch staff in 1996, more than 1000 have taken up the offer, says David Lording, head of media relations. He estimates about 30% of Westpac's 28,000 national force works part time.
While managers tackle the juggling act that new work practices require, employees aren't convinced. In spite of a successful 15-month stint job-sharing as office manager, 34-year-old Carrie* lost her position when a new manager with a rigid attitude took over four months ago. "We hadn't been given the impression that he was unhappy with our arrangement. We were both astounded." Even though both women worked overtime, the manager thought their commitment was limited, she says.
Invisible hot deskers and teleworkers also battle to maintain their status and equitable conditions. Hore learned that 50 workers on Deloitte's auditing team who were "hot desking" at client sites felt isolated and out of the loop. She now ensures they are kept better informed and organises more social events.
A teleworking survey of 2500 Australian companies by Professor George Lafferty for the University of Queensland found home workers burdened with unreasonable workloads. "We found people working a lot more in the evenings and on weekends, and managers expecting people to be working more because they were seen as privileged." Home workers also complained of increased friction in the household as work hours crept into after hours.
In the finance sector, some workers say the benefits of adopting flexible practices are marred by a lack of relief staff and work piling up in their absence. Many managers simply do not believe in the flexible workplace policies and a large number of employees said they had to justify their leave, due to lack of trust. Their complaints are discussed in Pressure from All Sides, a report prepared in 2000 by RMIT University and the Union Research Centre for Organisation and Technology.
Family friendly issues are still seen as "soft" and "women's business", says Melinda Cilento, the Business Council of Australia's chief economist. "There is resentment from managers at having to become more adaptable ... (particularly from) managers who didn't understand the business case for it and benefit of it all."
Where to from here? Clearly, a shift in executive thinking must take place before the new workplace can loosen up. Barbara Holmes, director of the consultancy Managing Work Life Balance, is about to conduct a study of the work culture in which the management attitude of "presence equals performance" prevails.
Her research already shows that some employers fail because they do not manage the consequences of flexible arrangements. "There isn't enough focus on job redesign, so that hours tend to get renegotiated down, but the responsibility and deliverables of the job don't necessarily get changed ... if you're dropping back to 30 hours, that's eight hours less of deliverables you can make."
[Unless you have something we call t-e-c-h-n-o-l-o-g-y. How long are how many people gonna stay how clueless about the technological revolution in work savings and productivity? Can anybody spell r-o-b-o-t-i-c-s?]
The companies that are succeeding, she says, are the ones that help employees negotiate new terms in a practical and accountable way. That's something Hore, of Deloitte, has also found. Her managers were more likely to accept flexible practices if they had the safety net of a review process to pull back employees who were not performing well.
IBM has long been a champion of flexible working. Sandra Creaner, 36, a foundation program manager who lives in Hoppers Crossing, describes her company's attitude as being 'worth more than gold'. Creaner, a foster mother to two children aged eight and four, works from home two days a week. "It gives me more time with them in the morning and if there's something on at school I can pop out at lunchtime." On the days she's in the Southbank office she often gets up at 6am and does a couple of hours' work from home so she can leave the office at 4pm. "It means alot to the kids. Before this they were in childcare 12 hours a day." Creaner's manager is actually in New Zealand so even when she is in the office she doesn't see her. "They judge me on my productivity," she says.
The challenge for human resources departments is to come up with new and inventive ways to assess the efficiency of a revolving workforce, so they can convince executive management. Potentially, it's a win-win for those companies that are successful early adopters. They get to scoop the talent pool, and mounting evidence shows that supportive work environments can increase productivity while reducing absenteeism and staff turnover, says Sharon Parker, associate professor of the Australian Graduate School of Management.
Even the notoriously rigid legal profession seems headed for a shake-up: American research already shows that firms that offer flexibility for the benefit of employees are more attractive to clients. "They think: 'What a cutting-edge group of people and we still get great advice'," says Renkin.
* Names have been changed.
- 1/24 Call for end to 48-hour working week opt-out, Guardian [UK].
UK - Labour MEPs [members of the European parliament?] were under fire last night for voting to end Britain's opt-out from European rules limiting working hours.
The European commission had asked MEPs if they thought workers should continue to have the right to exempt themselves from the maximum 48-hour working week.
UK Labour members joined socialists from other member states in warning that the opt-out, which allows voluntary deals with employees wishing to work longer hours, is open to abuse by employers and ought to be scrapped.
[Doncha love the way they try to spin this as something employees really WISH to do?!]
The EU parliament's employment and social affairs committee also called for the commission to take legal action against the UK for "widespread and systematic" misuse of the opt-out.
Philip Bushill-Matthews MEP, Conservative employment and social affairs spokesman in the parliament, said: "This opt-out was secured legitimately by the last Conservative government to provide the flexibility sought by many employers and employees alike. "Employees should retain the freedom to choose how many hours they work, and should not be prevented from enjoying extra overtime pay.
[Funny how free they are "free to choose" to work more hours for the same money, but not less. You want to see how far this specious "freedom" goes - let them choose to work LESS!]
"Conservative MEPs will be leading the charge to overturn this vote; it is bizarre that in this we shall have the full support of the UK government against its own MEPs. "For the sake of British jobs, it is time that the government brought its MEPs into line before they do further damage."
Liberal Democrat MEP Liz Lynne said: "By signalling that they wish to see this clause go, Labour MEPs have broken ranks with their own government's supposed commitment to a flexible labour market and a competitive UK economy. "Of course there must be adequate provision against workers opting out under duress, but this is not best achieved by removing the opt-out altogether. I believe we should maintain the opt-out for the sake of European competitiveness, as well as for less well-paid workers who rely on the opt-out to make up their earnings through overtime. What needs to be done is to make sure that whenever it is used, the opt-out is truly voluntary, and protects the best interests of workers."
Plaid Cymru deputy leader and MEP Jill Evans backed action against the government, saying: "This is a serious blow to the UK Labour government's credibility on defending workers' rights. "Recent reports have shown that British workers are working longer hours now than 10 years ago, with an increase in the number of people working over 55 hours a week as well. The European commission must not delay in taking action. Too many people in the UK have been without adequate protection for too long, and this must stop."
Ms Evans claims the system is blatantly being misused and is "far from being voluntary." Today's committee opinion will now be passed to the full European parliament for consideration.
- 1/25 New rules on overtime may bring wage cuts, by Michael Davis, The Virginian-Pilot [VA].
USA - Organized labor is starting to sense that changes in the nation’s overtime rules are inevitable.
[Oh yeah? As "inevitable" as Marx's prediction of capitalism's self-destruction?]
“Obviously, the Bush administration is determined to implement the biggest single government-sponsored wage cut in history,” said Greg Denier, communications director for the United Food and Commercial Workers’ union, which represents several hundred employees of The Kroger Co. and other businesses in the region. “Their time frame is as fast as possible.”
On Thursday, the Senate sent to the president an $328B federal spending bill that dropped a provision to block the controversial changes to the overtime rules. The Labor Dept. revisions to the complex Fair Labor Standards Act are expected to be issued in final form by March 31 and do not require approval by Congress.
The coveted premium wage for work over a certain number of hours can account for one-fourth or more of workers’ paychecks in some industries.
Under the proposal, companies would be required to pay overtime to workers who make less than $22,100 a year, up from $8,060 a year now. But it would exempt all nonmanual workers earning $65,000 or more, regardless of their duties.
Jobs also could be redefined based on responsibility and other factors, which could change which workers qualify as supervisors – often exempt from overtime. Exactly how many people and what occupations would be affected are unclear.
The Labor Dept. claims the plan would make about 1.3m low-wage workers newly eligible for overtime, while just 644,000 white-collar workers would definitely lose their eligibility.
But the proposal itself says an added 1.5m to 2.7m “will be more readily identified as exempt” from the extra pay.
The liberal Economic Policy Institute claims that as many as 8m workers such as nurses and legal secretaries could lose their overtime pay protections.
Labor Dept. officials say that figure is erroneous because it counts part-time workers. “Our intent is not to take away overtime – not at all,” Labor Secretary Elaine Chao told a Senate hearing last week. “Our purpose is to protect workers.”
The plan has become a hot-button issue among Democratic presidential candidates. In a statement Friday, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean called the rules “an insult to thems of hard-working families who rely on overtime pay to make ends meet.”
[Dean's cluelessness about the destructiveness of overtime in a robotizing world is scarier than his warcry.]
Critics charge that the new rules reduce costs for business at the expense of their employees. For instance, they warn, retail store dept. managers – who are often experienced hourly employees with seniority but not supervisory authority – could be considered supervisors under the new rules and could therefore be exempted.
The Labor Dept. itself is giving employers tips on how to avoid paying overtime. Among the strategies: cutting hourly wages, then adding the overtime back in to equal the original salary; raising salaries to the new $22,100 threshold, making workers ineligible for automatic overtime; and adhering to a 40-hour work week.
“They’re denying overtime for those who earn it,” Denier said. “It is a determination to cut pay across the board.”
Some fear that a loss of overtime would undercut wages and even overall employment in their labor-strapped industries.
The health-care staffing shortage forces nurses at many facilities to routinely work overtime just to cover shifts. And nurses that serve double duty as administrators or clinicians could be reclassified as supervisors under the new rules, costing them overtime.
Mary Lynnd Watson, a registered nurse and clinical director for Beach Health Clinic in Virginia Beach, said if the extra pay is eliminated, nurses may simply leave the field and create an even worse labor shortage in the industry. “You can make a lot more money for a lot less stress” at other jobs, Watson said. Unionized employees whose labor contract guarantees overtime – typically one-and-one-half times pay after an eight-hour day or a 40-hour week – will not be directly affected.
But the new rules will erode union pay, organizers say, because management likely will use competitors’ lower pay as leverage. “It’s a terrible change,” said David Vinson, president of Teamsters Local 822 in Norfolk, which represents about 1,900 local workers at United Parcel Service Inc., The Smithfield Packing Co. Inc. and elsewhere. “The employer is going to come to us at the bargaining table and say they can’t compete without cutting wages.”
1/22/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 1/21 via GoogleNews & searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA, and excerpts [& comments] are by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialled -
- Leisure time distortion: Study reveals Americans put work first, TV second, family third in order of time priorities - Results inspire launch of leisure time advocacy initiative and new leisure website, Business Wire.
[Good starting soundbite - "leisure time distortion" - how about "leisure time neglect" - "leisure time sidelining," "leisure time downplaying"....]
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif... - Have you ever thought that if it weren't for work and to-do lists, you'd have plenty of personal time? If so, the Hilton Family Leisure Time Advocacy(TM) Study places you among the majority of Americans. In fact, the study revealed that most people feel pressured by a world where work dictates the pace and the quality of their lives, and where there is never enough free time.
To raise awareness of America's fleeting leisure time, the Hilton Family of Hotels, including Hilton(R), Conrad(R), Doubletree(R), Embassy Suites Hotels(R), Hampton Inn(R), Hampton Inn & Suites(R), Hilton Garden Inn(R), Hilton Grand Vacations Club(R) and Homewood Suites by Hilton(R), has created the Leisure Time Advocacy (LTA) initiative. Supported by a board of 12 academics, sociologists, medical professionals, authors, and leisure experts, LTA is addressing the serious issue of leisure time deficiency head-on and providing new solutions for bringing balance back into our lives.
[About time the corporations and industries with a self-interest in this agenda woke up and started promoting the basic freedom = free time. They've sat back and let the Protestant work ethic gut their industries for the last 64 years of frozen 40-hour workweek.]
The insight learned from both the new Hilton Family of Hotels study and the LTA board has inspired the launch of a leisure-time advocacy initiative and a new leisure Web site - *MyLeisureTrip.com(TM), which goes live today. "With a
healthier balance between work and play, people are actually more productive while on the job, which enables them to put in more quality work time in less hours, leaving more time for leisure," said Tom Keltner, president, brand performance and franchise development group for Hilton Hotels Corp. "We are working closely with our expert Leisure Time Advocacy Board members to advocate leisure time in general as an antidote to stress, offer helpful time-usage tips, and provide a plethora of leisure-time and leisure-travel solutions, whether it's a five-minute mental break or a five-day vacation
The LTA study revealed that about a third of those polled (32%) say they postpone fun because they feel guilty when they are not doing something they believe is productive. Yet seven out of 10 say they simply need more fun in their lives. "Sometimes it's a unique event over a weekend or a longer, exotic getaway that jars consumers out of their worker-bee habits, which is just the solution being offered by the Hilton Family of Hotels through its newly launched MyLeisureTrip.com leisure site, chock-full of easily accessed leisure events and activities within the U.S. and Canada," Keltner continued. "While the Hilton Family of Hotels attracts more than its fair share of the existing leisure travel market, we know that there is tremendous potential for stimulating even more leisure travel particularly during the more traditional periods of weekends, holidays and summer."
Live to work
The bravado work mentality,
["bravado work mentality"? - weak soundbite]
while a staple of American society, leaves only one in 10 of us (14%) believing we have our priorities correct as a culture; on a personal level, one in three (34%) feel we live to work rather than work to live.
Stressed but happy?
- Three-fourths (74%) think that as a culture we place a higher value on our success in the workplace than our success at home; one-third (34% of us) believe we have our priorities decidedly in the wrong place.
- The country is split as to whether the American work ethic of hard work and long hours has had a positive or negative effect on our culture. About one-third (33 and 31%, respectively) vote for each effect.
- At the end of our chore-filled weekends, only two out of 10 Americans (23%) say they are energized and ready for the workweek ahead. The remainder report being in a negative state at the beginning of the week - already tired, stressed or apprehensive - or simply on "autopilot."
- If we had it to do over again, only 15% of us would work harder, compared to 40% who would spend more time enjoying our leisure time.
With the pressures of daily life, it's no wonder then that eight out of 10 Americans report medium to high stress at work and six out of 10 feel these same levels at home. Nearly half (46%) of Americans say their stress level is higher today than it was five years ago.
Despite the high-strung scenario, nine out of 10 Americans say they are happy, with more than half of us (53%) reporting we are very or extremely happy.
Quality time... With the television
Americans have twice as much leisure time as we think we do, according to the Hilton Family Leisure Time Advocacy Study. Alas, the study also found that Americans currently are spending as much time each day with the television as they are with their families and friends.
Vacation hesitation? Why wait?
- Despite the magnetic pull of the TV, the majority of Americans (73%) recognize spending time relaxing with friends and family is among the best investments of time. Pursuing hobbies was declared the second best use of time.
- Americans wish they had about one extra day of leisure time each week. With the extra time, Americans say they'd like to spend more time with their families.
The Hilton Family Leisure Time Advocacy Study found that guilt, time and money are the main reasons for putting vacations and leisure time on the back burner. While seven out of 10 Americans (69%) feel they need a vacation right now, only half (55%) will take all the vacation days they are entitled to each year.
About Hilton Family of Hotels
Hilton Hotels Corporation is recognized internationally as a preeminent hospitality company. The company develops, owns, manages or franchises more than 2,100 hotels, resorts and vacation ownership properties. Its portfolio includes many of the world's best known and most highly regarded hotel brands, including Hilton(R), Conrad(R), Doubletree(R), Embassy Suites Hotels(R), Hampton Inn(R), Hampton Inn & Suites(R), Hilton Garden Inn(R), Hilton Grand Vacations Club(R) and Homewood Suites by Hilton(R)....
Leisure Time Advocacy (LTA) is a unique advocacy initiative that focuses on the conservation of free time. Formed by Hilton Family of Hotels in Fall 2003, its mission is to raise awareness about the very serious issue of leisure time deficit and to spark dialogues that will help Americans realize that leisure relief is critical to leading a well-balanced life. In addition to providing helpful tips and suggestions for adding more leisure into people's lives, LTA will challenge and empower Americans to think about how they value and spend their time, reminding people that time is a limited resource.
The LTA agenda is determined by the LTA Board, consisting of 12 renowned and respected academics, futurists, medical experts and life coaches who study the importance of leisure in America's lives. They include:
[Notably absent = John de Graaf, Juliet Schor, Anders Hayden, Jeremy Rifkin, Barbara Brandt, Phil Hyde....]
- Craig Finney, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Leisure Studies & Recreation, California State University, Northridge;
- Teresa Ghilarducci, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics, University of Notre Dame;
- Geoffrey Godbey, Ph.D., Professor of Leisure Studies, College of Health and Human Development, Penn State University;
- Andrew Hoff, Ph.D., Associate Dean, College of Health & Human Services, California State University, Fresno;
- Benjamin Hunnicutt, Ph.D., Professor of Leisure Studies, University of Iowa;
- Arthur Kornhaber, M.D., Founder and President of the Foundation for Grandparenting;
- Janet Luhrs, Author of "The Simple Living Guide," "Simple Loving," and Publisher of the online magazine Simple Living Oasis;
- Andrea Pennington, M.D., Founder and President, Pennington Institute for Health;
- Joe Robinson, Author of "Work to Live" and founder of the Work to Live Campaign;
- John Robinson, Ph.D., Professor of Sociology, University of Maryland, College Park;
- Erik Rosegard, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies, San Francisco State University;
- and Veda Ward, Ph.D., Department Chair and Professor, Department of Leisure Studies & Recreation, California State University, Northridge.
The Board exists to discuss, evaluate and offer suggestions for encouraging increased leisure time. The Board meets on a quarterly basis to discuss various leisure issues and ways to influence leisure-focused behavioral shifts in today's society.
For more information on LTA or its board members, please visit www.MyLeisureTrip.com.
Launched by Hilton Family of Hotels in January 2004, MyLeisureTrip.com is a unique site for consumers seeking a host of hospitality, travel and experiential entertainment information and offerings within the U.S. and Canada. It also hosts information about Leisure Time Advocacy (LTA), Hilton Family's advocacy group that focuses on the conservancy of free time. Featured content, combined with advice and tips from the LTA board of renowned academics, futurists, medical experts and life coaches, will offer suggestions for changing people's leisure habits and encouraging increased free time to reflect on and enjoy life.
About the survey
The Hilton Family Leisure Time Advocacy Study was conducted online from May 23 - 29, 2003 by Harris Interactive. More than 1,550 working Americans responded with their views on the value of vacations and leisure time. Significance testing was conducted at the 95% confidence interval.
More information about LTA, the Hilton Family Leisure Time Advocacy Study, and the LTA board, can be found at www.MyLeisureTrip.com.
- Anticipating big contract, Westward ready to hire, by Leslie Bryde, Portage la Prairie Daily Graphic, Canada.
PORTAGE LA PRAIRIE, Manitoba - A Portage la Prairie company will have to wait until next month to find out if it will be able to increase staff hours, recall laid-off employees and hire additional workers. Larry Mauws, head of Westward Industries Ltd., said staffing decisions hinge on securing a lucrative contract to supply New York City with 300 three-wheeled Go-4 Interceptor vehicles.
Westward Industries is the only company in North America that manufactures these types of vehicles. The Interceptors, which cost about $23,000 each, are used by law enforcement agencies in the United States.
A new multi-million dollar contract was expected to be approved by New York City officials on Jan. 19. However, due to a holiday in the United States, final approval will not be given until Feb. 10.
"They've told us that everything looks good and there's no changes. It's just unfortunate (the agreement) came up for approval on Martin Luther King Day," said Mauws shortly after learning of the delay. "We are getting a good vibe from (city officials). We just have to wait a little longer."
Last month, Westward Industries announced it was reducing hours for 13 of 27 full-time workers at its assembly plant in Portage. Three of six employees at the company's plant in St. Francois Xavier, where parts and vehicles are painted and shipped, were also given partial layoff notices. Several contract employees were laid off.
The moves were blamed on a delay in signing new contracts with four American cities, including New York, Miami and Seattle.
Tentative requests for the three-wheeled vehicles were received last year, Mauws pointed out.
To date, there's been no indication when the three other cities will follow New York's lead and ink new agreements with the local manufacturer.
In anticipation of landing the New York contract, Westward started running job advertisements last week. The company is looking to hire at least two new assemblers at its Portage plant. "We're getting geared up to increase our production by at least a good 50%," Mauws said.
Last month, production was cut down from five vehicles a week to about two.
He also said once Westward is given the green light to begin building Go-4 Interceptors for New York, employees' hours will be increased and layoff notices rescinded.
Since scaling back hours and instituting partial layoffs, the company has been involved in a [work]share program with Employment Insurance. Under the program, laid-off employees work a few days a week with EI covering 60% of their wage on the remaining days. "We can't hire anyone until we put these other workers back to work," Mauws explained. "That's what we plan to do just as soon as we get word that we can .... I'm really looking forward to that day."
- EU wants end to long UK working hours, by Swaha Pattanaik, Reuters [UK].
BRUSSELS - European Union lawmakers have called for an end to a loophole that allows British firms to break working time limits laid down by the bloc's laws. The European Parliament's Employment & Social Affairs Committee narrowly voted to urge the European Commission to suggest ways to narrow the scope of this opt-out, used most extensively by Britain, and eventually to scrap it altogether.
They want even more urgently to clarify the way working time is defined - a critical issue for the EU's health sector after a court ruling last year forced Germany and others to count all time that doctors spend in hospital as standard working time.
The Commission is asking for feedback on the so-called working time directive, which says employees cannot be forced to work more than an average of 48 hours per week, as a pre-cursor to suggesting possible changes.
While the Commission's consultation document did not specify any plans to change the opt-out, it focused on failures to apply the spirit of the EU law in Britain, where 16% of employees regularly work longer than 48 hours per week.
One way firms get around the rules is by asking prospective employees to sign the opt-out at the same time as their employment contract, a practice which effectively compromises a worker's freedom of choice, according to the Commission.
"We are asking the Commission to come up with changes as quickly as possible after the consultation period is closed," said the chairman of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, Theo Bouwman. "The main objective is to solve the problem of how to interpret the directive when it comes to health workers and workers in similar sectors, such as firemen. We also have to find a solution to the general opt-out used by the UK which is unacceptable."
The committee voted to call for an end to such practices. The issue will now be put to a vote by the full parliament within a month.
But not all members of the parliamentary committee were happy with this position. "By signalling that they wish to see this clause go, Labour MEPs have broken ranks with their own government's supposed commitment to a flexible labour market and a competitive UK economy," said Liz Lynne, a Liberal Democrat on the committee. "Of course there must be adequate provision against workers opting out under duress, but this is not best achieved by removing the opt-out altogether."
The Commission said parliament's view was important as it would be a key player if the working time law needed to be changed but that it would reserve final judgement until its consultation period was over, at the end of March.
- Some islanders are working for too long, by Mark Oliphant, Guernsey Weekly Press [UK].
ISLE OF GUERNSEY, U.K. - Business leaders believe many local employees are working too long.
A Board of Industry survey revealed that 60% of the manufacturing and non-financial service jobholders toiled for more than 40 hours a week. And leading employment representatives [meaning HR people?] have suggested that people in the island do work to excess.
‘I am not at all surprised by the survey’s findings, bearing in mind the shortage of labour in Guernsey,’ said TGWU [Transport & General Workers
Union] regional industrial organiser Peter Du Port. ‘Many people not in finance are on lower wages and it is common for them to do a second or third job or overtime to make up the difference in pay.’
Mr Du Port added that it was an unfortunate feature of many people’s life that they found it necessary to work many more hours than they would have done 10 or 20 years ago. This is because of the high cost of living and particularly the price of housing.
But Peter Budwin, the director of the Confederation of Guernsey Industry disputed the claims. ‘Some people in the island work long hours but generally there is a good balance between work hours and home life – there is a happy workforce,’ said Mr Budwin.
[Jes' like slave owners with their "happy slaves."]
Chamber of Commerce president Mark Gill also thought there was no long-hours culture in the island, but added that people often worked more than 40 hours a week.‘This is because a number of people have more than one job but if that is the case, that’s their choice and it’s up to them,’ he added.
[Oh sure. Wages have been so flat for so long that people have to string together part-time jobs to make ends meet, just like in the other stupid anglophone economy, the USA, and employers smile and say, "Their choice."]
Mr Gill warned people not to work too much [while pressuring them to work as much as possible?] but rejected any calls for restrictions on their hours. ‘People have to be careful if they are working long hours so that they remain effective and they have to strike a balance for their own well-being and that of their family. But I would not want to see restrictions.’
Approved Personnel managing director Gina Le Prevost added weight to claims that non-finance workers worked for too long. ‘On the commercial side there has always been a historic tendency for employees to work longer, but in the finance sector the contract of employment seems to be slightly lighter on hours,’ said Miss Le Prevost. She blamed the long stints at work on low unemployment, housing restrictions and poor training.
Full employment, she said, meant that employers wanting specialised personnel had trouble recruiting them and the existing staff would work longer to compensate.
Miss Le Prevost said that employers were not helped by the strict housing regulations. ‘The number of people coming into the island is limited – something which I do not oppose – but this means workers are pushed to the limit as there are not enough people in what is a busy island.’
And Miss Le Prevost believed that better and subsidised training systems from the Board of Industry would increase the number of specialised workers, making them more appealing to employers and therefore reducing the load on others.
- Overtime grab - A bad idea that won't die, editorial, Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Last spring the U.S. Labor Dept. proposed an overhaul of federal wage-and-hour regulations that would have made hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of working Americans ineligible for overtime pay. Lawmakers from both parties were so offended that when the Labor Dept.'s appropriations bill came up in Congress, the Republican-controlled House and Senate both voted to ban funds for the plan.
But in Washington these days, bad ideas never die. Using a crude tactic that has become increasingly common in the last year, congressional leaders took the funding bills behind closed doors for a House-Senate conference, stripped out the overtime-change prohibition, and merged them into a giant "omnibus" spending bill that now stands for approval before the Senate. Now the Labor Dept. says it plans to proceed with its new wage-and-hour regulations after all.
Democrats have objected to this outrageous process and, quite properly, are blocking the omnibus bill until the Bush administration heeds the House and Senate majorities.
The Labor Dept. has always been something of a political football - pro-worker under Democratic presidents, pro-employer under Republicans. But the overtime episode represents a new degree of partisanship and mendacity. In unveiling
the wage-and-hour plan, Labor Secy. Elaine Chao insisted that some 1.3m low-wage workers would gain the right to overtime pay for the first time. Then a Washington thinktank scrutinized the proposal and estimated that nearly 8m
other workers - typically skilled employees such as nurses and legal secretaries - would lose their rights to overtime pay. Then the Associated Press discovered that the Labor Dept., even while promoting the new overtime rules, was also
giving employers advice on ways to skirt them.
It's true that the thinktank which first challenged the overtime rules, the Economic Policy Institute, gets much of its funding from organized labor. But if Chao's plan really delivered what it promises, then labor would be supporting it, not fighting it. In any case, the Labor Dept. has never satisfactorily challenged the institute's calculations.
This should not be a partisan issue. Overtime pay is the government's way of protecting the 40-hour workweek, one of the great bipartisan achievements of American capitalism. Millions of workers, Republicans and Democrats, rely on overtime wages to pay their bills and balance their budgets.
[This paragraph paves the way to hell with good intentions. First of all, it speaks of the 40-hour workweek as if it were a great permanent monunment, frozen forever, when in fact, the workweek had been declining from the 80-84 hour level for the previous 150 years. The fact that it got stuck at 40 is a part historical accident, part spin-doctoring. The historical accident is that when FDR screwed up by not pushing through the 30-hour workweek in 1933, the best he could do after the moment passed was get a 44-hour workweek in 1938 and get it cut 2 hours a year for 2 years, and then came Lend-Lease and Pearl Harbor to cut unemployment without further worksharing. The spindoctoring was the 40-40-40 coincidence - 40 hours maximum workweek, 40 cents minimum wage, in 1940 - which was turned into The 40/40/40 Plan. The workweek was never meant to get stuck there, but the employer-perceived labor shortage of the war kept it stuck there until everyone thought it came down on stone tablets with Moses from Mount Sinai. Secondly, and even more perniciously, people were never supposed to rely on overtime to pay their bills. It's supposed to be purely an emergency thing. That's why in the Timesizing program (Phase Two), we don't reward it at all.]
Chao says the overhaul of overtime is necessary because entire industries and occupations have disappeared since Congress first wrote wage-and-hour laws in the 1930s. That's possible, although management and labor lawyers have testified that the overtime rules have evolved quite nicely over the years as employers and unions brought new workplace cases before administrative law judges. In any case, the Bush administration has squandered any credibility it might have had on the issue, and it should drop this badly tainted plan so that Congress can get its budget work done.
- Memo to boss: Decent work hours = better-than-decent production, by Cindy Goodman (firstname.lastname@example.org), Miami Herald.
FLORIDA - Melvyn Cohen startled his wife when he arrived home from work hours earlier than usual one recent afternoon. But Cohen, who owns a 25-year-old Fort Lauderdale shipping business, was just following through on his New Year's resolution to leave work at a decent hour. ''Before, I would stay around and supervise,'' he said. "Now, if it's slow, I leave.''
Cohen's resolution resonates across South Florida. Most of us strive to leave work at a decent hour. Who wouldn't want more personal time?
[She answers her own question in the next sentence -]
It's just that sometimes corporate cultures, burdensome workloads, demanding clients, workaholic bosses and unforgiving deadlines get in the way.
But in other instances, it's our own doing: We lose track of time or need to work smarter. A recent survey by the Families & Work Institute found that the percentage of employees who want to work fewer hours rose from 47% in 1997 to 64% in 2002. The institute also found that most employees who work longer hours than they'd prefer feel more overworked.
[Ah, wouldn't that seem to follow? Honestly, some of these survey designers are brain damaged.]
This makes them likelier to make mistakes at work, feel angry toward their employers, resent co-workers who work fewer hours and look for new jobs with other employers.
Feeling overworked was also found to have affected these employees' personal lives, particularly their ability to cope with everyday events.
Consider these suggestions:
- Take advantage of the slower days. Theresa McLaughlin, a partner with the Fort Lauderdale law firm of Akerman Senterfitt, says she often works well into the evening, noting that service businesses are oriented toward the number of hours you bill and the amount you collect. Like Cohen, she came to realize that she needed to take advantage of the lulls. ''If I'm not crazy busy, I leave,'' she says, "so that when I am crazy busy and have to stay late, I'm not so bitter.''
- Determine the reason for all those late nights. It's easy to blame demanding clients for workaholic cultures, but many businesses have found that much of the pressure for overwork comes from the inside. If you're a boss, it may be time to pilot a plan to eliminate pointless meetings and needless pressure.
[Or realign the workload - or (oh horrors) HIRE!]
If you're an employee, it may be time to examine your workday. ''Ask yourself: What is your objective in the organization? What are you supposed to be contributing? What are you measured on?'' suggests Shari Roth, owner of CAPITAL iDEA, a Weston-based firm that consults businesses on leadership and sales development. ''Tell your boss you need to know what is required,'' Roth adds. "Be specific; maybe your goal is not just improving profit but improving it by 10%. Then figure out your plan to do that and have an action plan for each day.'' She suggests you ask your boss: Would I seem to be abandoning my co-workers if I were to leave when my work's done?
''Sometimes people feel they can't go home because the culture says to stay,'' Roth says. "If you know your target, then you know you've had a successful day and you're not just waiting for the buzzer to go off.''
- Communicate. These days, employees are scared. Reluctant to say no, most take on more work while positions remain unfilled. So says Earl Taylor, global spokesman for Dale Carnegie & Assocs.
[It's the 'magic' of plentiful worksaving technology, a frozen 1940-era workweek, downsizing instead of timesizing, high unemployment and labor surplus, and low wages, consumer confidence and consumer markets.]
''If you're having trouble getting out the door to go to your son's ballgame, figure out what is causing it,'' Taylor says. "The answer may not be renegotiating your schedule; it may be that the organization needs to replace people [amen!]. Now that the economy is rebounding, this might be the time to ask.''
He also suggests taking your department's frustrations and solutions to management. 'You can say, `Here are things that are happening, here's what we believe is causing [them], and here are alternatives we'd like you to consider.' See it from management's point of view, and talk in terms of management's best interest. Don't go in confrontational or say, 'I'm a nice guy; cut me some slack.' Go in with a complete approach, and it will improve your odds.''
[Connect the dots between overwork and less hiring and weaker markets.]
- Determine if it's hopeless. If your boss is a workaholic and expects the same from you, it may be time to change jobs or switch departments. ''Sometimes there is no working it out,'' Roth says. "Make a time frame for how long you can live with the situation, but also make a game plan, an exit strategy. Time is valuable. Too many people accept dysfunctional situations at work.''
- Never assume. ''Some people assume the boss expects them to work late,'' says Avis Russ, author of Balance for Busy People: Managing Your Health, Money, Time, Space, and Relationships. '. . . Ask your boss, `If I get X, Y, Z done, can I leave at 6 o'clock on Monday and Wednesday nights? I want to participate in my church activities, and I think that will help me function better at work.' ''
- Rethink how you allocate personal and work hours [ie: prioritize]. It's unlikely that businesses will change what they expect of employees, says J. Walker Smith, author of Life Is Not Work and Work is Not Life [sounds good!]. So you should change. ''In the economy we're in, companies are asking people to do more,'' Smith says. "You don't want to be perceived as a person your company can do without. Rather than leaving work at a decent hour, people are now starting to sneak out of work to do personal things during working hours. "If your job requires you work 60 hours, find ways to rebuild your lifestyle around that fact.
[And plan an exit strategy - from this job. Who needs it a 1900-level workweek?!]
"For example, you could leave at 2 p.m., try to take care of personal things at home and come back later.''
- Sharpen your time-management skills. It's easy to stay at work longer than you plan. You may need to work smarter. McLaughlin, the Fort Lauderdale attorney, polled her colleagues and got these suggestions: Do the hard stuff when you're fresh, so you don't have to stay late and do it. Budget in time for emergencies. Close your office door, to avoid interruptions. Set a time range for when you plan to leave the office. Set time limits with phone gabbers, declaring up front that you have only 15 minutes to talk.
- And if all else fails, resolve to play the game [ie: game the system]. Let's face it: You may need to just leave your jacket on your chair and your computer screen and office light on and take off.
1/21/2004 primitive timesizing & worktime consciousness in the news = glimmers of strategic hope - all are 1/20 via GoogleNews & searched-screened-collected by Alan Applebaum (AA) of Brookline MA, and excerpts [& comments] are by Phil Hyde (PH) unless otherwise initialled -
- Liberals want input on rules for workweek - Business, labour will be consulted for legislation - End of 60-hour allowance among revisions to act, by Caroline Mallan with files from Richard Brennan, Toronto Star.
ONTARIO PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS, Queen's Park, Toronto - Ontario's Liberal government will try to come up with a "fair and balanced" set of rules governing workers' rights as it rolls back the 60-hour workweek.
[This was The Return of the Ten-Hour Day, something the shoemakers of Philadelphia were fighting for in 1792.]
Labour Minister Chris Bentley said yesterday the government will deliver on its election promise, but wants input from business and workers to come up with the best way to change the Employment Standards Act.
The legislative rollback of the controversial 60-hour workweek allowance contained in the existing bill will come in the spring legislative session, Bentley said. "We want the input of business, labour and others prior to the introduction of legislation to end the 60-hour workweek," Bentley said.
The creation of the 60-hour workweek meant that employers no longer had to receive a permit from the ministry of labour in order to ask an employee to work more than 48 hours in one week. Critics pointed out that without ministry oversight, employees felt they had little choice but to agree to the longer hours or else face punishment, possibly even dismissal.
Premier Dalton McGuinty said too often there was "unequal relationship between the boss and the worker and the worker would feel obligated (to work the 60-hour workweek) even though technically it is voluntary." "There is a power difference there. We felt too many workers would be under a sense of obligation to work a full 60 hours even though they would prefer not to," he said in Hamilton while visiting a child-care centre.
The Ontario Federation of Labour's Wayne Samuelson said he expects the Liberal government to examine not just the length of the workweek, but other provisions in the act, such as the length of the work day and the practice of averaging overtime worked over several weeks to avoid paying premiums to workers. "There is all kinds of manipulation going on in the workplace, the Employment Standards Act is nothing short of joke."
He said a revisit of the act is a chance to study how people are asked to work. "What's wrong with saying that nobody in this province should be forced to work more than 40 hours a week; what's wrong with saying if you do work more than 44 hours, you get time and a half?" said Samuelson.
Samuelson said he worried that Bentley and the Liberal cabinet will be intimidated by business owners fighting to maintain the status quo in the name of productivity. "Flexibility and competitiveness? Those are buzz words that usually when a worker hears them they should duck," he said. "How about some flexibility to make sure people can get to their kid's soccer game, to weddings in their families, to events that are important to them?"
Judith Andrew, of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, an umbrella organization that promotes the interests of small business owners, said much of the criticism levelled at the 60-hour workweek did not amount to any abuses. "There has not been a huge change in terms of what has been going on with work hours, the sky hasn't fallen," she said, citing industry studies that show fewer employees are working more than 50 hours a week since the Conservatives made the changes in 2000. She said the number of workers putting in between 41 and 49 hours has increased only slightly.
Andrew said her organization views the new consultation process as a "fine-tuning" exercise aimed at making the rules clear for employers and employees. "What's important for small business is that there are clear rules," she said.
Click here for spontaneous cases of primitive timesizing in -
Nov.21-30/2003 + Dec.1
1998 and previous years.
For more details, see our laypersons' guide Timesizing, Not Downsizing, 'flung' into print as a campaign piece during the 1998 race for Joe Kennedy's empty Congressional seat. The handbook is available online from *Amazon.com.Top |
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