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Preindustrial workers worked fewer hours than today's (2009) (mit.edu)
630 points by jammygit 32 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 496 comments



The 40h a day week and modern-day work contracts come as a direct evolution of medieval servitude, with little modification.

This explains the system of values that revolve around it, such as for example the notion that it's somewhat something to be ashamed of for an employee to leave its employer, while it's perfectly OK for the employer to terminate the employee at any time.

The servant was not expected to leave its master, that was not OK.

Or that you are expected to be available at all times, even though the contract only mentions 40h, and that is perfectly OK and even interiorized as acceptable by most people, which will even go to the extent of defending that state of affairs.

What I see in the workforce is a desperate need for people to continuously prove the need for their own role, as automation and informatization eat away more an more jobs.

It's a game of face time, who sends most emails past midnight, and who is willing to sell more of their personal life and squeeze other people out of theirs, often to do "important" tasks that are often completely unnecessary.

I had a couple of jobs where I was working overtime, running for deadlines all the time, sending emails left an right, meetings, you name it. One day I had enough and I left, and to my surprise, I was never replaced :-)


> such as for example the notion that it's somewhat something to be ashamed of for an employee to leave its employer, while it's perfectly OK for the employer to terminate the employee at any time.

Your entire post is overgeneralization and dramatizing to prove some poorly thought out hypothesis but this here is the most obvious example. When there is enough choice people change jobs all the time - the demand in my local dev market went through the roof last couple of years for multiple reasons - I see people change 2 jobs within a year, demand all sorts of things - last round of job interviews I did the interviewers spent double the time explaining why their company was a great fit for me instead of actually interviewing me for position - compared to the usual narrative of asking why I fit them.

The situation is pretty much dictated by supply/demand and both sides take advantage. Firing and quitting can have negative implications for both sides, just depends on scenario.

I don't see where shame enters the equation.


What's your supply and demand explanation for the following norms?

- It's considered professional for employees give their employers two weeks notice before leaving. It's considered completely reasonable for employers to terminate employees and not even pay them for the rest of the day.

- It's considered unprofessional to talk about what you're getting paid.

- It's considered normal for potential employers to do background checks, call references, and even run credit checks on potential employees. Ask a potential employer for references or any information on their financials, and that's weird. The latter is particularly strange, because the employer is paying the employee, so the employee has a much larger interest in making sure the employer can pay them.


Termination without notice or payment is definitely considered bad form, short of the company closing due to bankruptcy.

I have never worked anywhere that did not provide notice or some severance. Even at a startup that cut 50% prior to going down in flames, they paid those half that were released two weeks pay and two weeks insurance coverage. (even though they were asked to leave immediately)

Large corporations tend to offer minimums plus based on years of service at termination.

Even termination with cause (performance, not legal) will generally be after a half year of 'remediation' training, then plenty of notice to find a new job.


Are you US-based? Because severence packages are absolutely an exception, rather than the norm. Most of the US has "at-will" employment, which states that employers can terminate employees at will, for any reason, without warning. And companies take advantage of this all the time.

The other thing is that you seem to be speaking as a developer. Everyone knows that our industry treats employees better than average. You really need to look at the broader landscape though.


"Most of the US has "at-will" employment, which states that employers can terminate employees at will, for any reason, without warning"

I think this is a misleading (although frequently stated) comment.

Large companies I've worked for have a bureaucratic procedure before they fire anyone, and generally allow people to save face even when they really want you gone.

Technically it's "at will", but I think it's primarily the mom & pop businesses that are going to fire on a whim.

Furthermore, you are implying that there are no constraints on companies in the US, like for instance the WARN act.


"primarily the mom & pop businesses that are going to fire on a whim"

Talk to some people in the hospital business who are over 50. I have a friend who worked for a huge hospital, was good at her job, had been doing it for many decades. One day an HR person called her into the office, said she needed to take a test, and said she had to leave that day until she took the test, administered by some 3rd party. A younger worker, doing the same job, also didn't have this credential they invented, but she got to stay. She wasn't making as much money because she hadn't been there as long.

My friend had a couple of weeks to study for this test, which was about the physics of the machine she had been using for 30 years. She failed the 1st time, they wouldn't tell her her score, and wouldn't tell her what she got right or wrong. The test itself was ridiculous: how many of us could explain in detail the physics of how our hard drive works? She was given a small severance and told to sign papers that I'm guessing gave up her rights to sue. And besides, it's well known in my area that suing a hospital is a fool's errand. The local lawyers do so much business with hospitals that they won't even take cases against them.

If you tell someone "your job ends today, but we'll give you a month's pay if you sign these papers", many people have no choice but to sign: they can't afford to have zero income starting today.


A quick search suggests that "many" firms pay severance, but I couldn't find hard numbers. In my experience it's not that unusual for people to give no notice or less than 2 weeks notice when they leave blue collar jobs like restaurant work.

https://businesstown.com/articles/should-you-pay-severance-w...


For layoffs, severance is common.

For other terminations .... there should be a performance improvement plan in place and you should have seen it coming for a long time.

Only the most severe, egregious situations should result in a off-the-cuff, surprising firing.

[I'm not saying that everyone lives up to this standard, but it's the way it should be.]


Sure, but that goes back to the point that supply and demand are driving these sort of concessions by employers. Devs are in high demand and low supply, so the concessions are much higher than say, a retail job. I would say severance is common in "professional" roles, whether that be an accountant or middle manager. It's certainly less common in blue collar work and lower skill work. Despite the existence of at-will employment in some states, many companies in these states still choose not to fire indiscriminately. I think that it's smart business practice to offer severance, because companies are reviewed these days on sites like Glassdoor. A company with a bad reputation for treating employees is going to have a hard time attracting talent.


The couple times I've been laid off, the severance was dependent on signing over new legal requirements like new non solicits for who they didn't lay off.


My explanation is you are just wrong about all of those things. A firm that let people go without severance would be considered extremely unprofessional in professional contexts. Talking about how much you get paid is not only normal it’s protected by law and you should definitely be doing both legal and financial research on any perspective employers.


> A firm that let people go without severance would be considered extremely unprofessional in professional contexts.

Not everyone works at "firms": this is extremely common in food service, for example.

> Talking about how much you get paid is not only normal it’s protected by law

Citation? I've worked at least one place where it was explicitly against the rules to share what you were paid with your coworkers (although this was years ago--I'd be happy to hear if the situation has changed).

> you should definitely be doing both legal and financial research on any perspective employers.

Obviously, but you simply don't have the same tools to do that. Have you tried asking employers for references?


Discussion of pay (and other workplace issues) is a "protected concerted activity" under the National Labor Relations Act, even when it happens outside the context of a union: https://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/rights/employee-right...

The NLRB has taken action against companies that have attempted to use such handbook policies against workers: https://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/enforcement-activity/... (click the pin on Missouri, it isn't direct-linkable :()


Interesting, I'm glad to be wrong on that one. I guess that means my previous employer just had some unenforceable policies (not too surprising).


It's worse than an unenforceable policy, it's an explicit violation of the law for which they can (and should) be sued over.


It is not a norm for non-professionals to provide 2 weeks notice. Leaving a good service job without providing notice will have no ramifications on your food service worker reputation.

I routinely ask my perspective boss for references. I also routinely ask for financial data before accepting a job. It has never caused even an eyebrow to be raised.


> It's considered completely reasonable for employers to terminate employees and not even pay them for the rest of the day.

Nope.


"Nope." is cute and shows you're cocksure about that. However, the reality is that this happens all the time and is never punished by culture as "unprofessional" for a corporation to do. Who would punish them? The customers?


>Who would punish them? The customers?

Future potential employees. If I go on glassdoor and read about this happening I'm either going to

A: raise my rates as I need to keep a larger emergency fund to deal with these guys

B: decline to work there at all

They end up only ever getting entry level kids to work for them. The system sort of works in that regard if you come from a non-traditional background you can work for a year or two at a job like that, skill up and move on.


There have been many threads on HN where the debate is "Do employees have enough power to [punish companies] if they need" but none of them have really every made a coherent case one way or the other, but they seem to lean "no" Disclaim: My personal Anecdote^


If someone steals my car, and I don't have a means to punish them, is it also okay for them to steal my car? I don't really get your reasoning here.


Saying it's okay, that's up to you. Do they get away with it? YES!


> However, the reality is that this happens all the time

Murder also happens all the time and it is not okay. Something happening does not mean it is okay.


Saying it's okay, that's up to you. Do they get away with it? YES!


> It's considered completely reasonable for employers to terminate employees and not even pay them for the rest of the day.

So where does the sentiment that it is completely okay come from?



Most of your points feel out of date and just not true unless you're working in the boonies ie backwater areas with only 1-2 dominant employers

> It's considered unprofessional to talk about what you're getting paid.

This is no longer the case. Some companies have even taken the transparent route where everyone's salary is publicly available.

> Ask a potential employer for references or any information on their financials, and that's weird

You can work for a publicly traded company if you really want access to financial data. Even some startups will provide it if you just ask.

You can also glean insight through sites like Glass Door. They have existed well over a decade now. This issue mainly stems from employees not habitually doing enough due diligence on companies, unless there are legal and financial barriers that I missed.


>What's your supply and demand explanation for the following norms?

OK. You can't just assert things and then when someone disagrees challenge them to come up with their own explanation. The null hypothesis is "I don't know".


The person I'm responding to said:

> The situation is pretty much dictated by supply/demand and both sides take advantage.

If that hypothesis is true, then they can use that hypothesis to explain the existent phenomena.


>If that hypothesis is true, then they can use that hypothesis to explain the existent phenomena

Why would that be the case? It is true that supply/demand largely explains what happens in the job market. It is also true that there are are socio/political/cultural forces at play. For example, supply and demand is not a good explanation for why you can't come into most work environments in your undergarments.


> For example, supply and demand is not a good explanation for why you can't come into most work environments in your undergarments.

Sure, when we get to ridiculous cases. But things just short of that, supply/demand is a huge contributor to. Showing up to work in shorts and flip flops? How acceptable this is depends a lot upon how hot the job market is.

Of course, no matter how hot the demand situation is-- it is never going to cause one to tolerate behavior so egregious that it scares away other employees and makes the supply picture worse.


Showing up to work in shorts and flip flops? How acceptable this is depends a lot upon how hot the job market is.

That's really more of a cultural question, though, where the culture obviously takes the kind of job into account. Specifically, showing up to a programmer job in shorts and flip flops is going to remain accepted in most places even when the job market gets less hot, until culture changes for some unrelated reason.

The supply-demand situation is only relevant when people are going against the culture.


I think maybe we agree.

I was disagreeing with the one-sided claim, "The situation is pretty much dictated by supply/demand and both sides take advantage."

But you said something more balanced which I agree with: "It is true that supply/demand largely explains what happens in the job market. It is also true that there are are socio/political/cultural forces at play."


What proportion of the total jobs market [in your country || in your supply chains] are you looking at though.

The parent might be a generalisation but you're objecting based on the thinnest sliver of contrary occupations. Seems like the parent could well be on the money for all menial roles?


The whole thing is much better explained through supply demand and security. When job supply is low you want to maintain a close relationship with your employer because you hope this grants job security. When the demand outpaces supply suddenly people are forced to bid up wages - I agree that the culture might need time to catch up - like initially the risk averse will still be stuck in this mode and few will change jobs, but as the demand ramps up the terms get better and switch job becomes much more common - culture changes and even the most cautious cannot ignore the market trends - I've seen this first hand in my local market over the last few years where the salaries went up 2x in 3 years.

How medival servitude explains any of this better is beyond me.


Have a look a low wage/low skill jobs. There is no such thing as security, employees are subject to their employer's benevolence. They even have to accept circumstances that might violate laws. They can't fight it because they need the job, even if they hate it.

I'm too busy to do the research for you, but Amazon warehouse workers are the first examples that come to my mind.


It’s the opposite. Low wage workers leave much more often than get fired. Consider Uber where drivers earn a very low net wage. Only 4% remain after a year. Maybe some are fired but I suspect he overwhelming majority just move on.

Amazon has the highest turnover of any Fortune 500 company in 2013. That’s because their workers quit. They have options even at a low wage. That’s why they recently raised wages.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/20/only-4-percent-of-uber-drive...

https://www.ibtimes.com/amazoncom-has-second-highest-employe...


If it's like when I worked menial jobs then the bosses just do something to make you quit like scheduling you for only 1 hour a week, assign you to only do the shit work that was previously spread out, etc. I think that muddies the water a bit in terms of those stats


Yeah, they do that so you can't claim unemployment like you could have if they fired you.


I've worked those jobs when I was younger - none of those people would feel any shame quitting for a better job so I'm not sure what your argument is.


Why should they? They're typically underpaid and in not so great conditions, but even if they aren't, why should they feel shape for quitting for a better job? If you fulfill your contractual obligations, you don't owe your employer anything and leaving any job for a better one is totally not something to be ashamed about. If anything, shame on the employer for doing a bad job in retaining their employees.


> feel any shame quitting for a better job

Yes and how do they find a better job without education? You are very fortunate that you were able leave that behind you. But do you realize there are millions of people in this world who have no means of pulling themselves out of the dirt?


Never before has education been so cheap or widely available. The whole world’s information is available to anyone with an Internet connection.


Let me be sarcastic: Yes, it is very easy to have sufficiently fast internet (or even a computer) in a non-industrialized country. Even in the US it is perfectly viable to work 2-3 low wage jobs to keep your family fed and healthy and then bring up the energy to do a hacking boot camp. Also, because the basic education is so great in under developed regions regions, it is a breeze to grasp higher concepts of math. And analphabetism does not exist.


Yes, life can be hard. And it’s unfair.

It wasn’t easy or fair in preindustrial times. People worked a few hours less on average, but they received less wealth in exchange and had no opportunity to educate themselves and grow wealth. Serfs were not given a choice of job or even the ability to leave or marry without their lord’s permission. Peasants were stuck for life, unlike someone who works low paid 2-3 jobs today.


So, what's your point?


>Never before has education been so cheap or widely available.

Not the kind that counts to most employers (college degrees). That form of education has never been more expensive.


I've never heard about anyone being ashamed of leaving a company in any market. Even ones that have small demand. In fact, I've heard countless people saying that they never quit interviewing entirely.


While I have bones to pick out of OP, your post assumes your experience is the norm and not far away from the median.


For real. Being a software developer is probably the easiest and safest career you can have without being born into wealth.

edit: I should also mention having options is not really a blessing when they're all bad.


`easiest` ?


Yes.

Ever done manual labor? Or something that requires both intense manual labor and intellectual problem solving, like carpentry or many of the building trades?

Or think about all the various fields that require intense intellectual output, with nothing like the rewards and security of software engineering.

We've got it good. Though, really, the ideal would be for all workers to be treated more like we are, and less like replaceable, abusable cogs in a machine.


Agree. Ever have to stand waist deep in cow shit? I have. One of the things that encouraged me to go back to college. After the farm job I twisted wrenches for a living. Six day fifty hour weeks were the norm, the pay was meh, and I had over $8K of my own money invested in tools at the end.

Yes, this career has been awesome. Awesome, and fun. Non-stop learning the entire time.


Neither your point nor the parent's here make the case that being a developer is the 'easiest' job.


Yes - I have. I worked construction; worked on a loading dock; drove a delivery truck for bulk freight. Not having to do manual labor doesn't make a job 'easy' though. And certainly not the 'easiest'


Yes. Being a software developer is easy. It's not necessarily the case, but I can think of no other trade that pays so well and offers so many opportunities for so little ability, effort, accountability, responsibility and stress.


Where do you work? I'm in operations and spent 10pm-3am last night responding to an incident. There's a lady here going bald in her early 30s. Stress is high, responsibility is high, accountability is high, effort is high.

I can think of literally 1000s of jobs that are easier


I'm a C# dev and the only anxiety I've experienced has lied in having to maintain garbage legacy code.


Yep. I've been a grocery store manager, an interior contractor, a whole slew of other jobs, ... and a software engineer. Software engineer is by far the easiest job I've worked.


I guess this is cultural as well, I(anecdotally) absolutely feel shame when I am about to leave a company, or even negotiate.


Back in the day, Merrill Lynch had a rep for hiring really green people on the cheap, doing a very good job training them up, and then not paying them according to their new value in the market. When you would leave, managers would often lay the guilt trip about "What you owe us..." (to which the proper response is the line from Goodfellas -"F* you. Pay me.")

There was a sitewide IT town hall in NY when I was there and some senior MD brought this problem up. "We're investing a lot of money in training people and then having difficulty retaining them." From the crowd of around 1000 a voice cried out "Stop training them!"


Why is the response to stop training them rather than train them and then pay them their worth?


That's not the correct response. I'm pretty sure the person was being facetious.


Is that really what you want though? Ever wonder why all our schools are becoming job training centers?


I don't think it's purely cultural because chances are you have co-workers who don't have these issues at all just as I know people who are limiting themselves because of feelings like this - I would say this is more individual.

To flip it around - do you feel other people who leave the company did something shameful ? Do you see judging from others (especially outside of co-workers where it's incentive based) ?

I think as job market turns from oversupply to undersupply the culture changes simply out of nececity.


No worker would ever get hired if he or she were open with that they would leave the company the very instance a better offer came around. Companies, on the other hand, have no trouble hiring even when they admit that they'd fire you the very instance someone who can do the job for less pay comes around.

Loyalty in the work place is a one-way street. It goes from the worker to the company but not the other way around.


That depends on demand/supply. Tech companies in cities with high demand for engineers have no problem hiring people who will leave as soon as something better shows up.


That is subtly different from what I wrote. :) I wrote that no one who were open about it would be unable to find a job. If you told your interviewer that your only objective is to maximize salary they would (rightly) treat you as a sociopath. A company whose only objective is to minimize salaries (and therefore maximize profits) is also a "sociopath" but that is somehow acceptable.


Yeah, that's true, I guess you'd normally wouldn't say that. Although I've worked a guy once that said something similar and got hired anyway. He still works in the same place after a couple years and still has the same attitude. I think that most people make it up to be a lot less socially acceptable than it actually is.


Funny because my todler is never ashamed to loudly demand what she wants, yet as adults we feel shame when we want to negotiate.

It absolutely is cultural.


Well, isn't also the case that a toddler still hasn't fully developed their empathy and other mental faculties, and thus aren't capable of understanding the full extent of how their behavior affects others (and indeed why they should care).

I'm not saying that anyone should feel ashamed to negotiate for better compensation (quite the opposite!), but I'm also not sure that you can look at those little uncooked narcissists and conclude "this is how a human being naturally behaves". I think it's pretty normal for a person with mature emotions to feel at least a bit bad when making demands.


Does your toddler have control over their bowels? This stuff develops, but it's not always cultural.


Ask yourself why you feel these emotions, because the culture you're in had to have made you learn them. The companies you have worked for sure as hell do not care about you once you leave.

Source: personal experience


All correct, but cultural things like these can't exactly be dispelled with logic.


Culture comes from people. Taking the reins of culture and leading it to new places is entirely natural


Software development is far from the norm. People working menial jobs don't have the luxury of making demands or changing jobs on a whim.


Even many software development jobs don't have that option. It's a bubble within a bubble that gives the employee the power.


>Your entire post is overgeneralization and dramatizing to prove some poorly thought out hypothesis but this here is the most obvious example.

What kind of garbage comment is this statement? Argue the points of disagreement but saying something offensive like this serves no purpose and is just plain wrong, rude and disgusting.


>the demand in my local dev market went through the roof last couple of years for multiple reasons

Do you think your local development market is remotely representative of the nature of national employment trends in general? And you accuse the OP of "over-generalization"?


>The situation is pretty much dictated by supply/demand

Well that's not true. There are laws strictly regulating the supply and demand from the labor side of things.


In the past, there definitely was such norm. The "job hopping" was seen as negative.

Even today, I software development and especially sillicon valley is a bit of outlier - people in our industry change more often then in other industries.


> Your entire post is overgeneralization

…proceeds to extrapolate from "my local dev market" to economy with thousands of sectors and tens of millions of workers without a trace of irony or self-awareness. Um, ok.

As others have pointed out, being in software engineering at this particular point in time is probably not super representative.


No I just gave one counterexample where his theory clearly breaks down and gave a more general explanation based on supply and demand.


>Your entire post is overgeneralization and dramatizing to prove some poorly thought out hypothesis

I find that the main thesis is actually pretty sound. Historically speaking, the current (capitalistic) labour / production system is a direct descendant of the medieval feudal labour relations that existed in Europe 900 years ago. When you truly look at it, they are pretty identical in their core mechanics. There is a class system, there is servitude, there is limited social mobility.

It's just that the outer appearance is different, that some aspects are improved (in degree, not in kind, if I'm making myself understood), and finally that the technological advances mask the inequality and the problems in the system (a world where one person has 500$ and the other 500,000$ seems better than one where one has 1$ and the other 1,000$, but they are equally unequal).


> Your entire post is overgeneralization and des-dramatizing to prove some poorly thought out hypothesis.

This apply here also. Thank you for laying it out for me


Simple rules that work for me: a) don't take my work laptop home, no corp provided phone (if they insist I'd keep the phone at my work desk, where it belongs). b) work 40 hours on average per week. Just go home already! Helps if you're a late sleeper (like me), you can simply arrive later at work to compensate for the hours you've recently donated to your employer. This works very well for me, although I'm based in Europe, ymmv.


This is what I did too, leave the laptop at work, arrive relatively late, as I knew I had to leave late anyway.

It makes it more bearable, but it still kind of sucks, and everyone in your team is doing it (taking laptop home, answering calls), eventually, it's going to cost you.

You get to work in the morning, and there is this long email thread about how something was "urgent" or went wrong and they tried to reach you and they couldn't... all that good email delivered peer pressure stuff, passing the bucket blame it on the absentee kind of thing.


I think that BS only persists because not just because people allow it to, but some people positively get off on it. They love the opportunity to be the hero "I was up from 4 til 7 rebuilding the database -- you're welcome" and the ability to differentiate themselves without actually being competent at their jobs.

Some roles (junior investment banking analysts, junior lawyers, etc) the long hours and weekends are part of an apprenticeship type weeding out process, and are almost a form of hazing ("I did it - you have to do it too") But at least in those cases there is an expected path out.

It sounds like you are in a dysfunctional shop. If it's possible, move. It's not like that everywhere.


> "I was up from 4 til 7 rebuilding the database -- you're welcome" and the ability to differentiate themselves without actually being competent at their jobs.

Some do this because it's in their nature. They don't spend their free time doing enjoyable, fulfilling tasks for whatever reason, so work is really the only form of stimulation they have. Older women without children (or adult children) seem to be particularly susceptible to this.


I would argue not only that early rising is totally unnatural but also that lying in bed half awake - sleep researchers call this state "hypnagogic" - is positively beneficial to health and happiness. A good morning doze of half an hour or more can, for example, help you to prepare mentally for the problems and tasks ahead.

--The Virtue Of Idleness By Tom Hodgkinson


I wish I could wake up naturally, when I feel rested, but my 2 y.o. Won’t let me. Also, my wife is nuts and thinks it’s lazy to sleep past 7. I want to wake up at 9... but have to be up around 5:30-6 every day. Thing is, I’m self-employed and have nowhere to be, no one to answer to. What went wrong...


You married a morning person, and you need to buy blackout curtains for your kid and let them stay up as late as they like.


Not taking your laptop home is poor information security practice. We had a break-in where dozens of laptops were stolen. We had to do key rolling, password resets, etc for the whole organization. Many people couldn't even work until new computers were shipped in. Of course me and the people who took our laptops home were fine.


Sounds like the organization you work for should have spent more in security.


The thieves climbed up to the second floor and smashed a window. I'm not sure what kind of security could have prevented this.


Eyes on the building. Bars/shutters on the windows. An alarm system. Caltrops on the floor. A locked room with a decent door for the laptops, and/or a strongbox. Africanized killer bees. Full-disk encryption on the laptops themselves.

There's plenty of reasonable measures that organizations can take to protect their equipment and data. "Give the laptops to the employees, they might be stolen if left in the building" is not one of them, not if they care at all about information security.


This is a curious statement. Why would someone having a bunch of laptops require password resets? Weren’t the laptops properly configured so physical access != network access? If not, then having people commuting with these timebombs is not a good idea. As it’s much more likely that a laptop will be stolen from a worker’s home or car or anywhere than the office.

bot1 32 days ago [flagged]

you cant be serious


In a recent office I worked in they were just looking for the large iMac screens :-) Although I don't think there were any laptops lying around...


Somehow I don't think you know much about medieval serfdom. While the serf was not allowed to leave neither was the lord allowed kick the serf out of his land. The only way the lord could "fire" a serf was to sell the associated land in which case he would simply become the serf of another lord. By contrast employees are not attached to their place of work and are free to leave. The two systems have nothing in common.


He was offering that "proving worth to the lord" was fundamental to that psychology. Which fits in with your scenario just fine.


That's the point. A serf didn't have to prove his worth. An employee does.


A serf who can't prove his worth get beatings and demotions. Ultimately death.


Do yourself a favour and open a history book.


I admit it, I was talking from my vast experience with Braveheart.


How does a lord ensure that his serfs perform?


> The 40h a day week and modern-day work contracts come as a direct evolution of medieval servitude, with little modification.

Where can i read more about this assertion? I was not aware that serfdom would specify such details as the number of hours. I guess that serfdom would be a very different institution in each country, or even within each province; (I guess corvée service might have been a more detailed contract, but I am not aware of the details) so I would like to hear some more details.


>I was not aware that serfdom would specify such details as the number of hours.

I'm not sure they did, but your work day was effectively limited to when the sun was up. Candles were quite expensive well through the middle ages as they were mostly made from beeswax, lower class persons would use fires or candles made from soaking things like rushes in animal fat - neither of which provided light conducive to any sort of work.


the landlord still had to allow his serfs to work their own plot/cottage on occasion; so they had to agree on some form of time management, even without clocks or candles.


Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber goes into it tangentially, as part of making a greater point.



When everything is urgent, nothing is urgent.


>The 40h a day week and modern-day work contracts come as a direct evolution of medieval servitude, with little modification.

You're claiming the opposite of what the article does. Medieval serfs did not work a 40h week.

>This explains the system of values that revolve around it

No.

>such as for example the notion that it's somewhat something to be ashamed of for an employee to leave its employer, while it's perfectly OK for the employer to terminate the employee at any time.

Says who? This is so overbroad that it doesn't actually match reality. Lots of people quit jobs all the time.

>The servant was not expected to leave its master, that was not OK.

Come on.

You have an angle you want to argue but you can't just distort reality to fit your conclusion. Nothing you argued is broadly true, though I'm sure you can find individual examples.


> The 40h a day week and modern-day work contracts come as a direct evolution of medieval servitude, with little modification.

Edgy. But also deeply ignorant of history. Servitude means you can't quit your job. That is a pretty significant modification!


A lot of people can't. They will literally not be able to pay bills.


Most people need a job. That's not the same as being unable to switch employers, or being unable to move to a better market.


> The 40h a day week and modern-day work contracts come as a direct evolution of medieval servitude, with little modification.

Well, in Europe it is more the estate system and urban manufactures, I think, that have influenced the culture of work. In the US, you have something much worse even. I found this recent article eye-opening for me:

[1] M. Desmond. In order to understand the brutality of american capitalism, you have to start on the plantation. New York Times Magazine, Aug 18 2019.

web: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/slav...

> a desperate need for people to continuously prove the need for their own role, as automation and informatization eat away more an more jobs.

While I agree with this (go @AndrewYang! ;), I don't think it is the only (or even the biggest) factor. It is the long shadow of WWII and the resulting demographic imbalance coupled with a self-serving but fundamentally wrong narrative around "economic growth". This has led to what some have called "the big institutional lie" where throughout society you have institutions that rely on promises of advancement or necessity to lure the fresh blood but that can not keep these promises to all of them. It's basically a pyramid scheme. Peter Turchin pointed to this as a contributing factor to polarization as the educated "elite" of such countries/societies must increasingly fight among itself for the increasingly rare places or resources (relatively speaking). → revolutionary potential


>"the big institutional lie”

The big lie is all the lavish promises people made to their future selves. Expensive medical treatments (Medicare), retirement funds (social security/pension payments), expensive infrastructure (constant access to clean water/electricity/gas/sewage/etc).

Maybe the biggest lie is pretending to be able to predict the future. All those aforementioned promises require future resources, population, growth, technological advances, all of which are just guesses as to what will be available in the future.


> Expensive medical treatments

Again. Universal healthcare solved that in Europe.

It is expensive, but it's a shared cost that benefits everybody.

> Maybe the biggest lie is pretending to be able to predict the future

Maybe, but back then they didn't have the means to care for more than a few days at a time, to think about the future.

If they could have done it, they would have done it.


> Universal healthcare solved that in Europe.

As a person which lives in Russia and Germany, I'm really interested in what you mean by solved?

Universal healthcare in Russia is a total mess. Universal healthcare (edit: in Germany) have a lot of problems too, of which the most significant is underpayment, low salaries, and such a lack of personnel, that CDU people did really suggest to use conscription to draw the free workforce.

The very flaw of positive rights is that you can't guarantee them, since they cost money. If you have no money, your positive rights end there. Yet people still believe that one could guarantee such rights.


My favorite subject.

First, I'm not sure if you're aware, but the price of a procedure in the US is not necessarily related to its cost. There's been several news articles showing the same procedure can cost 100x more in one hospital vs the other in the same city. Hospitals literally pull prices out their ass and justify it by saying "no one pays that price". Then they bludgeon people with these completely fictitious numbers when insurance doesn't play ball.

What you're also failing to realize is the US does have a universal health care system, it's just really shitty and inefficient: its called the emergency room. Doctors can't just leave people to die if they can't pay.

Stories from the great US paid healthcare system:

When my wife had to get her gall bladder removed. The hospital charged us $25k for 1 hour use of the surgery room, and $20k for 1 hour use of the recovery room. It took insurance almost a year to resolve, and in the meantime both sides kept bothering us. Hospital told us not to worry though because things usually get resolved once both sides start threatening eachother with lawsuits. I asked what happens if insurance still doesn't pay it, and they said that the hospital usually writes it off. Sounds GREAT!

The above was on top of ~10k other general hospital bills, plus 3.6k anesthesiologist, 25k surgeon, and a couple k in post operation followup. Total charged price for one of the most common operations in the country: about 85k. Completely sustainable.

In another instance, we needed something done that we thought wasn't covered by insurance. When trying to figure out what the price would be, it took several weeks worth of phone calls, and tens of hours on the phone to figure out with our local hospital what it would cost. Then when we got there, someone said it didn't include something. But it was OK because insurance covered the whole thing for various reasons. We said OK. They were wrong though, insurance still didn't cover it. This is important because medical places usually have an "insurance price" and a "cash price", and we got screwed out of the cash price by going through insurance.

We also had a close friend deliver her own baby in a hospital hallway and get charged $30k for the delivery.

My sister was charged $1.2k for the removal of a cotton ball from her ear while waiting in a line.

My brother had a $5k ambulance ride.

I always think twice before interacting with the healthcare system in the US.


Could you elaborate how anything of this is relevant to what I wrote?

The point was that you can't guarantee positive rights, since positive rights require some commitment.

>Stories from the great US paid healthcare system

Did I said it is great? Why you emphasize "paid" when any healthcare system is paid?

Your services are flawed in a typical American way, i.e. overregulated crony mess where all the burden lies on an avg Joe since he has no leverage on a political system while lobbyists do.

I bet my head that if you implement a universal healthcare, you would end up in a mess like that which Russia have, rather than something more decent.


I had a friend who had an appendix removed, the bill was $80K, similar to what you quoted. He didn't have insurance, however, so he haggled on the bill. Eventually they settled and accepted $8K, or 10% of the sticker price, for the procedure. I don't know how insurance companies settle these things behind the scenes, but I imagine many are overpaying and we're all paying the cost through higher insurance prices.


Insurance companies have zero incentive for real procedure prices to ever be listed; they provide 'value' both in terms of their negotiation services and in terms of pointing to how expensive getting anything done is.

However the true result is presented to wall street: If the insurance company is making more than a very meager profit we're getting screwed out of what should be universal affordable care.


Do you have any idea how absolutely crazy these numbers sound over here in Europe?


The legal maximum out of pocket cost for a calendar year for in network providers (providers who agree to a price with your insurance company) is $13.5k. You should budget at least that much for a childbirth in the US (in case of complications such as C sections and other common issues after birth), if you can manage to plan your child being born between ~May to Oct, as you can then likely have all your expenses be in one year, otherwise another year's out of pocket maximum will come into play.


I am Russian, and Russia is a total mess, full stop. To address positive rights - societies don't just "run out" of money. As has been repeated a million times, a country with a sovereign currency is not run like a household budget. And the "right to clean water" is rather useful in making sure we don't have outbreaks of the plague and other fun stuff


Money is a proxy for power. That power comes from the ability to trust the government issuing the money and the people the government represents (i.e. the country). You can claim the right to clean water all you want, but unless you fund infrastructure development, and have access to aquifers or fresh water lakes, it doesn't matter how much money a government issues. Similarly, if a country isn't producing enough children to support the elderly, it doesn't quite matter if they've been promised nursing homes.

See Zimbabwe and Venezuela.


> First, societies don't just run out of money.

Social programs do. Price goes up due to natural reasons, budget goes down due to natural reasons, your government can't provide a service anymore.

The most common example is social security, the pension system. Demography changed, age of retirement goes up, payments go down, and you can't do anything about it.

Sure, the governments try to deflate the price, but there are no miracles, and artificial price deflation causes deficit, for example a deficit of medical personnel or scarcity of a service.


To address positive rights - societies don't just "run out" of money. As has been repeated a million times, a country with a sovereign currency is not run like a household budget.

Sure, a country with a sovereign currency can create as much currency as they wish. They can never "run out" of money, literally. Practically, though, creating more currency doesn't result in more products being made and services being performed. Most countries are aiming for their currency to hold its real value relatively steady in accord with its nominal value, and you cannot do that if you create more money whenever you "run out" of it. So yes, countries cannot "run out" of money literally, but practically they can and do.


It means that in Europe universal healthcare is almost a solved problem, according to WHO (World Health Organization) 6 out of the first 10 and 16 out of the first 20 highest ranked healthcare systems are in Europe.

source: https://www.who.int/healthinfo/paper30.pdf


>20 highest ranked healthcare systems are in Europe.

It's not a rank, it's a (bad) efficiency metric, which says that Ukrainian and Kazakhstan HC is "more efficient" than Russian, and that Chilean HC is "more efficient" than that of Denmark.

If you assume this metric shows what's better, it's safe to assume that this metric is garbage. To lazy to dive into the methodology, they weight the date using avg schooling years and other vague staff, but the results rendering this paper totally unsound.

Comparing different countries using a single "performance" metric is nearly always garbage, since all sorts of important nuances are being omitted.


> It's not a rank, it's a (bad) efficiency metric, which says that Ukrainian and Kazakhstan HC is "more efficient" than Russian, and that Chilean HC is "more efficient" than that of Denmark.

They are, according to the World health Organization.

Ukrainian healthcare system is more efficient than Russian because you don't have remote regions that have very little or no chances of being reached in case of emergency.

Chile and Denmark are basically at the same level, it shouldn't be a surprise that many South American countries rank at the same level of some western countries.

If you look at the ranking created by other entities, it's more or less the same, even though they used different metrics.

You will always find mostly European countries in the top 20s.

Italy and France really are among the best in the World when it's about healthcare.

USA really is shitty, even though they have the highest spending per capita.

The methodology is well explained, there's an entire chapter explaining it, they are not 'Comparing different countries using a single "performance"', your rebuttal is rebutted.


I guess my comment was specific to the US, but pay in the medical field is vastly lower in Europe than in the US. Regardless, Europe is still subject to the biggest factor, which are demographic changes and they will have an impact on the availability of future benefits. I would say these past 20 years and maybe next 10 will have been the peak, and then there will be visible cuts in services or quality of services due to lack of people (and/or taxes) to service the debt.


It's not by any means solved in Europe. // Swede


Compared to the system in the US it is. How did one researcher put it? "Every healthcare system has its flaws, but the US somehow manages to have all of them."


Compared to the US it is. Obviously there are going to be ongoing problems in any large undertaking, but Sweden pays half the cost for healthcare per capita. A 50% discount for equal quality care. Americans like myself are getting absolutely screwed in terms of the cost of healthcare.


Well, you're right!

It's not entirely solved yet, we still have to die sometimes...


> This explains the system of values that revolve around it, such as for example the notion that it's somewhat something to be ashamed of for an employee to leave its employer, while it's perfectly OK for the employer to terminate the employee at any time.

This looks very USA-centric to me. In Germany, the mentality is rather that both directions are to be ashamed of.


It has everything to do with power. You don't even need to consult the history.

Large organizations very rarely need any particular drone. The drones always need money to survive, their health insurance, stability for their family, a clean professional reputation. So the big guys takes advantage of the little guys.

Early in my career, I worked a lot and was compensated poorly for the value I brought to the business. Then I built systems that made me very difficult to get rid of without losing all the money I was bringing in. Now I make double and work 30 hours a week when I'm busy.

For any reasonably large corporation, your employer is not your friend. They deserve professional courtesy, but never loyalty or personal respect. Always look out for yourself, what you bring to the table, and what you're getting out of it. Forget anything else. If you want something personal, go home to your wife and kids at a reasonable hour. They love you.


You don't even imagine how much employers do to favor employees. This jaded view from corporate america, by corporate employees, ignores that the majority of employment comes from small businesses that eat up losses all the time to not lose valuable employees.


It is something to be ashamed of for employees to leave their employers? Where? I've worked in a few places in the US and I never sensed any "shame" when an employee left. I have sensed that employers feel shame when laying people off though.

I think the modern wage labor relation is very different than medieval serfdom, on both sides. Marx does a good job of explaining this Kaptial Vol. I. What is the same is the basic exploitation that underlies that relationship.

I agree 100% with the rest of what you say though, there are too many people taking BS jobs too seriously.


At my last company, there were several employees who spent the vast majority of their time trying to convince people their jobs are important. Whether I thought they were or not is kind of irrelevant, but it seems insane to work a job where the majority of your time spent is convincing people it makes sense for you to have a job.


At a place I previously worked, I heard a rumor that the entire job of someone who was fairly high up was to email a simple report to someone higher up every day. As someone put it, the job of a crontab entry.

Since then, I started a job that was ostensibly non-technical, and it seems like people are overly impressed by anyone who can provide a dashboard style report, and it's as though you're assumed to be putting forth significant effort every time you make a new one.

If I was able to act in a more strategic manner, I would not let on that I had automated such things, and soon my entire job would be pushing a button three or four times a day.


You can open your own business and run it differently, and show everyone how sucessful your approach is.


> The 40h a day week and modern-day work contracts come as a direct evolution of medieval servitude, with little modification.

Not really, they come as rather significant modifications of early capitalist servitude, won at a substantial cost in lives.

Early capitalist servitude did itself evolve directly from feudal servitude, but it got much worse, in economic terms, in the process. It usually came with at least notional political freedom, though.


>Early capitalist servitude did itself evolve directly from feudal servitude, but it got much worse, in economic terms, in the process.

No it didn't. This Roussaunian idealization of rural subsistence living must really die. People aren't idiots, you don't move to urban factory work (as bad as it was compared to modern day) unless rural life was much worse.


> People aren't idiots, you don't move to urban factory work (as bad as it was compared to modern day) unless rural life was much worse.

Rural life was worse not because rural feudal tenancy was worse than urban factory servitude, but because the technology advances which made it possible to support the latter also simultaneously produced a population boom and reduced the total (not just per capita) quantity of rural labor demanded, producing a whole lot of surplus rural labor.


No.

>also simultaneously produced a population boom

You think subsistence living was great before technological progress? Why do you think there was a population boom? How do you think population size was controlled before technological advances?

Maybe through:

- high child mortality

- famine, starvation and malnutrition

- war, crime and violence

- disease and injury

... all of the above!


Standard of living rose by some measures on moving to the cities; however, the dependence on an employer was much greater than the old dependence on your lord.


>Standard of living rose by some measures on moving to the cities

Some?

>the dependence on an employer was much greater than the old dependence on your lord.

I'm not sure that's actually true.


> however, the dependence on an employer was much greater than the old dependence on your lord

I'm not sure the dependence was much greater, but it was less likely to be honored restart than mercilessly abused by the employer, because capitalism arose in the context of a huge labor surplus created by agricultural productivity revolutions, whereas feudal tenancy arose in tighter labor conditions and had grown traditions (and in some cases legal structures) based on that. Which is not too say that feudalism was without massive abuses of dependent relationships, itself.


We'd have to work weekends as well, if it were not for religion. Kind of funny, kind of sad.


> The 40h a day week and modern-day work contracts come as a direct evolution of medieval servitude, with little modification.

Citation needed

It really come from workers rights to have a life outside the workplace AND a salary even when they could not work (what we call safety).

In medieval servitude there was no life outside the workplace, nor safety.

Pre-induistrial workers worked less, on the average, because they were surviving

They were working when they needed money and not working (AKA doing some other job for the house or the family, like farming or breeding cows and pigs) when they had enough to go on for maybe a week or so.

Life was on the edge back then.

You had an accident, any kind of accident, you were ruined.

There was no safety net, of any kind.

> it's a game of face time, who sends most emails past midnight, and who is willing to sell more of their personal life and squeeze other people out of theirs

It's not in Europe, for example, where we don't think that socialism is a curse word, we think it is necessary for the progress of society as a whole.

I will quote one of my favourite computer scientist ever, Joe Armstrong, creator of Erlang, that unfortunately recently passed away.

> Yes - happy days. At the time I was working a 6 hour day due to the enlightened Swedish child care policies. Parents of young children are entitled to work 80% of full time - good for creativity and family life. Result 2 kids and a new programming language.

source: https://twitter.com/joeerl/status/1067720315151810560


> Pre-induistrial workers worked less, on the average, because they were surviving

> They were working when they needed money and not working (AKA doing some other job for the house or the family, like farming or breeding cows and pigs) when they had enough to go on for maybe a week or so.

Especially they worked depending on the season. During planting or harvest they were on the fields from dawn till dusk. In winter they took care of the animals and stayed by the fire place inside.

Manufacturing work had similar cycles.

Only industrialisation brought working cycles independent from season and daylight.


This is a cohesive response. The definition of work is itself a manifestation of industrialization, post-U.S. revolution. Previously, in the teleologically-oriented universe of the Medieval period and early Enlightenment, there was little if any distinction between work and life. Exceptions were for those who sought to become members of Guilds -- the architects, alchemists, millers, bakers and too herbalist apothecaries whose guild was closesly associated to the early Catholic church and later, loosely, with Luther's heresy.


When you are on your deathbed, your first thought will not be "man, I wished I had worked more".


> the notion that it's somewhat something to be ashamed of for an employee to leave its employer, while it's perfectly OK for the employer to terminate the employee at any time.

Did you just make this up? The stigma is the exact opposite. Western society makes it quite difficult to fire employees. Hell, it's even illegal to fire striking employees. You'd be hard-pressed to find any employer willing to fire an employee without thoroughly documented evidence of the employee's malfeasance.

The only time anybody gets fired is when they really really deserved it. In contrast, many employees leave their jobs capriciously with little to no consequence.


You appear to live in quite the bubble if you really believe this with absolute certainty.

> Western society makes it quite difficult to fire employees.

Have you worked in a US "right-to-work" state? It's incredibly easy to fire people. Large companies are typically the only businesses that bother with "thoroughly documented evidence of the employee's malfeasance". And even that is rare.

> You'd be hard-pressed to find any employer willing to fire an employee without thoroughly documented evidence of the employee's malfeasance. The only time anybody gets fired is when they really really deserved it.

I'm just a single data point. I'm a bit of a workaholic. I'm also a perfectionist. And I'm someone who always busts his ass at every job. In the last 20 years in TN, I have encountered the following occasions:

- During college, I worked part-time at Books-a-Million in their little cafe. I had the laziest, most unreliable cafe "manager" I've ever met—she would regularly be 30+ minutes late to shifts, causing me to be late to classes and events; she would constantly offload managerial tasks to me when we shared a shift; she would spend vast majorities of her shifts talking on the phone with family and friends; she wouldn't respond to customers at the counter if I was busy (because she was on the phone), and would ignore them waiting for me to get to them; when I would follow her shifts, she never spent any time at all cleaning up after herself, and left the entire area a fucking mess; the list goes on. When Spring Break hit, I'd had a pre-approved vacation on the books for nearly 3 months—a road trip to Chicago with friends. My ride showed up 15 minutes before my shift ended and came in for a coffee to wait for me to be relieved by the manager. One hour later, I finally called the manager. She was at home watching TV (yes, she told me that directly). I asked if she was aware she was supposed to be relieving me so I could leave for vacation, and she said yes. I told her my ride had been waiting for over an hour by this point, and needed to leave because it was a long drive. She complained about having to work on a Saturday. Said she guessed she'd go get in the shower and start getting ready for work. I decided I'd had enough of this behavior after nearly 1 year—I told her that I would be leaving in 30 minutes whether she was there or not. And since she's the manager, an 18-yr-old kid shouldn't be displaying more responsibility, reliability, and dedication to his part-time job than she, as a 30-something, gave to her full-time job. Then I thanked her and hung up. I then wrote all this up in the cafe log book—a book we were supposed to write important notes for store management in that they would review daily. She showed up right at 30 minutes later, and I left. Upon returning from the vacation, she called and asked if I'd come in and cover a shift for her. I agreed. Upon arriving at the store, she was there, and she and the store manager told me I was fired for insubordination. I had expected it, of course, but that's beside the point. I'm sure I really really deserved to be the one fired in that situation, right?

- Nearly 20 years ago, I was fired from Best Buy. I'd worked there for somewhere close to 9 months, I think. Never missed a day. Even walked to work after my clutch went out on the interstate. The day before departing for an approved vacation, I declined the female store manager's advances and being asked out. The day I returned, I was asked to sign a document declaring that the reason for my firing was poor job performance and missing work. My direct manager on the pre-Geek Squad declined to sign the form—telling me privately afterward there was no way he could sign such a statement because he absolutely depended on me and was now fucked without a replacement—but wouldn't you know it ... lucky for Best Buy there was a store manager who was happy to do it. I declined to sign the form, informing them I'd happily sign a form that declared I was being fired after declining to go out with a superior. They declined to provide such a form, so I wrote it myself on their form, after striking through their bullshit reason, and signed that statement. But again, surely I really really deserved being fired there.

- 17 years ago, I worked as a temp worker with Randstad for Maytag in one of their customer service centers. It was a pretty easy job—just take calls all day and help people figure out appliance problems. One day, Maytag announced they were moving a US factory to Renosa, Mexico. There were quite a few jobs being lost. That night, at home, on my personal computer, I was doing some research into US companies moving factories to Mexico. There was a particular organization in Texas that helped facilitate such moves who mentioned working with Maytag on their website. They had a form on their site you could fill out for more information, or to ask questions. So, I filled out the form—asked some specific questions about working conditions, average pay rates of Mexican workers compared to US workers, time to spin up factories, worker treatment, and a few other things. I put my name, email, and phone number in the form. There was an input that asked where I worked that was required—so I just typed in Maytag without thinking and moved on. The next morning, I arrived at my desk to a couple managers waiting for me. Followed them into the office, where they showed me a printout of the form I had filled out the night before on my personal computer at home. All the questions I'd asked. They asked what I thought I was doing. I simply explained—in absolute honesty—I was very curious about how factory moves work, how workers are treated and paid in Mexico, especially compared to union workers at Maytag's existing US factories, and had found that site saying they could provide such information. They told me I was a customer service rep and had no business looking into such matters, and then informed me I was being fired for impersonating Maytag company personnel and misrepresenting their interests. But, of course, I really really deserved it.

> Hell, it's even illegal to fire striking employees.

- Oh, this is a funny one. About 15 years ago, I was fired after getting involved with union organizing, and sharing some literature and discussing unions with my coworkers. This was in a factory, where part of the employees were already unionized, but the company was subcontracting jobs out to cheaper, non-union workers like me. I mean, it's supposed to be illegal to fire someone for union organizing. Ah, the beauty of a right-to-work state—where every employee is an at-will employee, and you can pretty much make up any excuse to fire them. But alas, I'm sure I really really deserved it.

I moved into sales for a few years after that, and did really well. Then I finally decided to put my computer skills to use as a software developer 12 years ago—and subsequently turned that into running my own business for the last 7 or 8 years. The tech world has been quite different—though there are still plenty of issues that could be improved. However, the lessons of my years of "normal" employment were quite clear—in right-to-work states, it's absolutely okay for employers to terminate any employee, any time, for any reason. Real reasons. Utter bullshit reasons. It doesn't matter. The employer has all the power, and the employee has to just take it or lose their job and income.


>it's absolutely okay for employers to terminate any employee, any time, for any reason. Real reasons. Utter bullshit reasons. It doesn't matter.

Strictly speaking, the employee can quit for any reason too.


It's comparing apples and oranges to compare medieval peasants life and modern office work. Even today in rural areas people work around the clock in and around the house to keep everything afloat and barely survive. Sitting on your butt for 10h a day and doing intellectual work seems hard only until you try to do some farming for a while - and modern farming is nothing compared to how hard it was back then, when you had to do everything manually, no running water, no electricity, no farming machinery, no supermarkets. They even had to make their own cloths as textile was extremely expensive, and I've read that weaving was one of the activities that was taking any free moment to medieval women, it was extremely time consuming. The pace of life was slower, that for sure, and perhaps the average working hours were indeed shorter (in winter especially because of shorter daylight), but they worked way harder than most people have to today.


In modern farming, the hard part is not sitting in the tractor working on the fields. The struggle comes from running a business, taking care of financials and keeping the tractors running and cash flow positive in a very competitive, globalized environment which pays very badly.

I have done farm hand work the modern way with tractors and the old timey way with horses. If it paid as well and was as stable as computer work in the office, I'd trade my job for either.

Farm work with tractors is sweaty, dirty, solitary job but it's not particularly physically taxing. You don't need much strength most of the time, but there are times when you need to lift heavy things etc. But at the end of the day you see the field is plowed and you get to work with big machines (fun!).

Farm work with horses is sweatier and dirtier but it's a community effort with typically a minimum of two people and one horse. In the olden days it would have been a whole family group working together to put food on the table. This kind of work is very tough physically but is very rewarding and relaxing mentally.

And sitting on my ass all day in the office is also quite physically demanding in the sense that I must hit the gym regularly after work or my health will suffer.

You mention textile work, for example. Spinning yarn was an activity almost everyone took a part in. People back then carried a spool of yarn and a bunch of fibers in their pockets and spun it in their idle time, e.g. while sitting together with their family at night. It's not too dissimilar to playing with a yo-yo, or doing knitting or other activities people enjoy even today.

Pre-industrial life was not as tough as modern people think. There were many positive sides to a simpler lifestyle back then. These days we're well fed and have good health care but we work ourselves to death for no obvious reason.


I was talking more about the amount of work, than how hard it is (and it's hard, especially in summer). On the farm you start very early in the morning and there's always something that needs to be taken care of, practically until you go to bed. Now, it probably depends also on the size of the farm, number of people, type of crops and how good the land is, what animals do you keep, machines, etc. My experience is that there was very little free time of just doing nothing. Pace is slower, so you have a lot of small time-outs in between the chores, but very rarely you're like: "OK, we did everything for today, I'm off to binge watch Netflix for the rest of the day" (except in winters when days are shorter, then you get some tv time). That was my experience, at least.


Yes, farm work has periods of non stop work in spring and fall for a few weeks. And then some if there is livestock.

But the annual work time was lower for a pre-industrial farmer compared to an American office worker making ads for the web.


I'd argue it's actually easier to cope when what you need is repetitive hard physical labor.

You don't go to sleep thinking about that big problem you still haven't solved. You actually get the satisfaction of doing the physical activity. You know with certainty that you've done your job (you can actually see it) and you know when to stop because your body will tell you to. Finally, you might be exhausted physically at the end of the day, but your mind is definitely not exhausted, which allows you to actually do something with it afterwards.

On the other hand with mental work, mostly you can't stop thinking about work unless you distract yourself. Many times you don't see the outcome of what you did and it's pretty easy to think you haven't actually "done" anything.

Another thing I'd say is that with farming (and other manual labor activities) there is very little that is not known beforehand. You might have some unexpected events, but even then, you likely know what to do in those occasions. With mental work it's a lot more unpredictable and full of unknowns.

Having said all that, I've never had the opportunity to work with physical labor so my views are likely biased.


> You actually get the satisfaction of doing the physical activity.

Found a guy who haven't done any hard physical labor before. You are confusing a 8-hourd hardcore shift/12 hours hard work under the boiling sun in the field with a 1-2 hour workout in a gym.

> Finally, you might be exhausted physically at the end of the day, but your mind is definitely not exhausted, which allows you to actually do something with it afterwards.

Namely, to lie down and get sleep at once.


I don't like sleeping more than eight hours, unless I'm completely sleep deprived. Even then, I'll automatically wake up after about eight hours. This has been the case for as long as I can remember, including times of extremely intense mental work, like a compressed exam week at university. The exceptions was when I did manual labour on a construction site for a few weeks.

I'd get home, eat, shower, and pass out, and sleep for ten or more hours. I wanted to do some reading or watch series but I couldn't keep my eyes open.

Maybe I would've gotten used to it at some point. But the experience was unlike anything else I've gone through.


Not OP but I have done manual labour jobs (Construction jobs gen labour and mudding, seismic exploration labour, moving) for years hen we first moved to the West.

I absolutely miss being in a good shape by default. I miss the satisfaction of seeing the fruits of your labour like with mudding.

> Namely, to lie down and get sleep at once.

And boy did I use to not have any sleeping issues! Slept like a baby most nights and woke up ready to go only drank coffee for the flavour. But now that I'm an office plankton I can't even think in the morning without a cup of tims.


I did this for 3 years. Things you didn't mention-

Breaks exist, and are encouraged. I have to take breaks in my office setting and bosses act like it's not okay.

You get good at the Physical activity. The first month sucks, after that it's fine.

The Physical activity isn't as hard as it appears. There are often tools to aid. I found my 2 Physical jobs was more mental than Physical.


To pay for my nice computer science education, I worked in mine exploration and later a working mine.

> Another thing I'd say is that with farming (and other manual labor activities) there is very little that is not known beforehand. You might have some unexpected events, but even then, you likely know what to do in those occasions. With mental work it's a lot more unpredictable and full of unknowns.

This is laughably false. Much of the day at physical jobs is spent problem-solving and jury-rigging stuff to work, whether it's figuring out how to mount a drill platform or dealing with the tailgate falling off your pickup.

> Finally, you might be exhausted physically at the end of the day, but your mind is definitely not exhausted, which allows you to actually do something with it afterwards.

The grind of this sort of work is far more mentally exhausting than programming, and I only worked there in the summers when I was in my late teens/early 20s. The two things are not even comparable. When I realised I'd worked my last day mining, I was as happy as I've ever been.


I disagree. I worked in construction and factories in the past. Problem solving at your typical physical job is easier mentally. Moreover, the duration and number of occurrences is much less. When I came home after work, I did not think about work compared to when I became a programmer. The physical exhaustion and aches were pronounced, but I didn't feel any mental exhaustion unless I was sleep deprived due to working overtime.


> Having said all that, I've never had the opportunity to work with physical labor so my views are likely biased.

Very strong opinion to end up saying everything could be just false because it is a mere gut feeling.

Everyone has worries and problems, if it is not the weather which is about to damage the harvest it will be the expensive providers or the fruits imported from cheaper countries or the workers who try to do as less as possible with the maintenance of their tools. And after work everyone stressed because they are afraid that this year benefits might end up not covering expenses and not knowing what to do if the price of milk drops again and your 11 year daughter does not understand why all family can't go to Disneyland during the tourist season like her friends do.

You were right about being biased.


You're confounding affluence with the difference between physical/mental labour. I've done both hard physical labour and hard mental labour, and what OP says is totally spot on. Hard physical work, even when excruciatingly tough, is most often more bearable than hard mental work. There's nothing like beig 'done' after a hard day of work. After a hard day of mental work you just feel miserable until you fall asleep. If only manual laborers were appreciated (i.e. compensated) as much as mental laborers...


My significant other does manual labor, and it's a good day when they don't want to just come home and fall asleep on the couch and those good days are rare. Even after my worst days of a software dev job, I still have the energy to come home and cook dinner, do some yard work, and other chores.

I will echo your line about wishing manual laborers were better appreciated. I have impostor syndrome, but it's not in comparison to peers in my industry, it's feeling like I don't deserve to earn multiples more then people like my spouse who break their bodies for a pittance.


well, yes, unless after hard day of work, you have more work waiting or, you go to bed worrying if weather will kill your crops, or will you be able to sell them, etc. Farming in particular is much more like running a startup, then it is like office work, where the risk of running business is someone else's problem, and you get your salary at the end of the month no matter what.


> Everyone has worries and problems, if it is not the weather which is about to damage the harvest it will be the expensive providers or the fruits imported from cheaper countries or the workers who try to do as less as possible with the maintenance of their tools. And after work everyone stressed because they are afraid that this year benefits might end up not covering expenses and not knowing what to do if the price of milk drops again and your 11 year daughter does not understand why all family can't go to Disneyland during the tourist season like her friends do.

Sure we all worry, but that wasn't what I meant to say. I mean on the actual work day, almost everything is predictable or it has known responses. Today you have to plow the field, remove weeds, prepare seeds, milk the cows, etc. While on a mental job you get thrown literally anything at you and you're supposed to solve the problem.

Those worries you mention exist on both worlds equally. What if my startup fails? What if I get old and can't get a job anymore? What if the tech I'm working gets obsolete? What if I get replaced by a cheaper alternative so the bottom line grows?

> Very strong opinion to end up saying everything could be just false because it is a mere gut feeling.

Maybe I should've mentioned it but I got this from talking to friends and others that have physical jobs. It's not a study, but definitely not just a gut feeling.


> Those worries you mention exist on both worlds equally. What if my startup fails?

This cannot be serious. I've worked at startups, and the answer is: there are 50 other companies within 10 blocks who are falling over themselves to hire programmers, especially one with the gumption to try a startup. I've never heard of anyone who worked at a tech startup who then had trouble finding other employment after it failed.

If your biggest "worry" at work is that you might not become a millionaire and may have to fall back on a $150K/yr job, I really don't know how to respond, because that is nothing at all like the worries faced by people working in labor.


You're being pretty quick to judge here.

I've never worked on a startup and have no intention to do it. I live in a poor country where the average developer earns $8k/year and very few of us have any fallback. Mentioning startups was a way to relate to people here on HN.

If you don't focus on the specifics I bet you can come up with examples that relate to you and my argument still stands. Everyone has a different worry. Putting one's worries on a pedestal and discarding everyone else's as "not as bad" is pretty shallow to me.


Even when everything appears to be repetitive it is never repetitive. You should just try a work holiday visa on a country where you want to learn a language and work at a farm. It still won’t reflect all the stress that means just changing one provider, investing in new technology from all those companies that want to make profit on you for and never be sure on whether this year you are really not going to make it anymore, knowing you are already at the bottom of the chain (primary sector) and you start considering closing everything right before getting into bankruptcy. And your friends still believe you are ok because “you work in the nature” and if you are an owner you are very likely to get the whole year salary at once and they cannot understand why being cheap is just a way of survive.


There's some bits of truth to this, but you're also missing some big issues.

> You don't go to sleep thinking about that big problem you still haven't solved.

Possibly, but maybe not. Just because you're working in the physical realm doesn't mean you're not working at all in the mental realm.

Additionally, it's easy to worry about injury. Sprain an ankle? Sitting at a computer, it's merely an inconvenience. In labor, you're not working (and not earning money to pay the rent) until you've recovered.

Also: most people I know in labor are living paycheck to paycheck. Financial stress is real. To combine these: many people I know don't have health insurance. It's really expensive when you have to buy it yourself. More stress.

> you know when to stop because your body will tell you to

Definitely sounds like someone who has never worked in labor. You work until the job is done. If 'your body tells you to stop' before the job is done, you've got a problem.

> Finally, you might be exhausted physically at the end of the day, but your mind is definitely not exhausted, which allows you to actually do something with it afterwards.

Flip it around: does this claim still work? Are office workers so physically fresh from sitting around all day carb-loading that they all leave at 5:00 and hit the gym or the track? Some do, most don't.

When I get home from a long day of physical work, even if I didn't have any mental issues to deal with that day, I don't exactly look forward to cracking open a technical manual.

> Another thing I'd say is that with farming (and other manual labor activities) there is very little that is not known beforehand.

Not true at all, for any of the work I've done. Just last week I had a day scheduled for 10 hours that ran 6 hours over, and that wasn't even the worst I've experienced. Why would unanticipated roadblocks appear for mental problems but not physical ones? That makes no sense to me.

Just look around at physical projects and you'll see they're just as bad as digital ones. The SR-99 tunnel was 3.5 years late after they started digging.


"I've never had the opportunity to work with physical labor"

Yes you have. You could go out today and find a job doing physical labor unless you are significantly physically disabled. It's not like there is an educational barrier to all of those jobs. (Yes, I know there is to SOME of them because they require skills and performing physical labor)

As someone that has done plenty of both, you aren't contributing anything to this discussion unless you try it.


Seriously?

I don't know how it works on your country but unless I was at a starter level salary fresh out of college or I worked minimum wage, I couldn't work on any physical job without starving my family.

This comment actually diminishes physical labor implying "anyone can do it", which I don't believe it's true.


All due respect, but you are deeply deluded.


I would add that cows (or whatever other animals in the farm) don't have any idea about saturdays, sundays or hoilidays, they want to be fed (and in the case of cows need to be milked) every day, sun, rain or snow.

And it is not so ancient (medieval) as it may seem, it depends a lot on the country and the actual area.

I am told that the family (a very large one, composed of some thirty-forty people) of my great-grandfather (born in 1860 or 1861) lived in a farm (near but not so near to a village) in a remote area of the Apennines and they made one trip each year (with a horse carriage) to a village some 60 km away, on the seaside, to buy salt.

Besides that, all they actually bought "outside" were matches and some kerosene (or lamp oil), some steel/iron tools and glass and clay tableware, all the rest, including furniture, soap and candles was created/manufactured in the farm, including shoes[1] and clothes (they had wool, linen/canvas, leather) .

An older brother of my great-grandfather was semingly the first one to buy (circa 1865 or so) a rifle to go hunting, so you can add to the list gun powder.

[1] what was used largely at the time in farms were wooden clogs (or barefoot) , shoes were reserved for special occasions only


Sure we might not work as 'hard' but at what cost? Mentally people are suffering about as much if not more. It's not unfounded nor is it even surprising that people are complaining and comparing their lives to the past.


> Mentally people are suffering about as much if not more.

Physically too. Watch people when they get their first office job, a lot will start packing on the weight because they are sitting and grazing on junk food all day, walk considerably less, more stress "just got an email, argh my phone is ringing, ugh what does my team lead one that is instant messaging me, ugh I'm not meeting production, do I have time to go pee before the half hour meeting?" etc.


That's OK and expected, but it's hard to compare two very different situations and life styles by looking just at time spent on the activity. Also 10 hours in office is not the same as 10 hours of working, no one works all the time. So I'm just saying that we need to compare things properly, taking all the angles into the account, rather than just cherry-picking some metrics and use it to attack "modern day capitalism"


Exactly. Hard physical work is real work - sitting at a desk tapping on a keyboard is a dream.


This seems like gatekeeping work.


it's a different job.

it's equally hard, one could argue it's not equally heavy, but many athletes today exercise way more than what the typical medieval "drunk till the early morning ready to beat his wife and kids" farmer did.


While many athletes do work hard, it is one thing to work hard when you are well fed and another when you are starving.

I have done both hard physical and keyboard tapping jobs in my life and I have no wish to go back to doing hard labor.


My family comes from poverty and hard work, my grandmother died last November at the age of 96, she worked, mainly as a farmer, her entire life up until 3/4 years ago.

I've never seen her tired, she never looked like she was not gonna finish what she started because it was too much.

Truth is physical work is hard only if you're not used to it.

Your body adapts to the amount of energy you give to it.

The harder the job, the more it takes to adapt, but it happens.

Well, unless we're talking about extreme malnutrition, but I've honestly never seen it in the west, not even in the deep country of central Italy, where my family comes from.

After a while working the fields is a lot less hard than climbing a dozen steps twice a day after you sat all day eating snacks, drinking sodas and basically not exercising at all.

Hard work today, IMHO, is working at Amazon's storage facilities, where stress adds up to what's basically legalized slavery and the workers cannot even work at their own pace because they have to work at the machines speed.


I enjoy hard labour, just not for 40 hours or more a week, every week. People doing traditional agriculture have to bust their ass during planting and harvest, but the rest of the time they aren't working that hard.

Same with sitting at a computer, doing it all the time drives me insane. I've got various hobbies and interests I'm passionate about, just not so passionate that I want to do them full time for the rest of my life.


Almost certainly in the sense of physical hardship -- but perhaps not in terms of total working hours. Here's another more sprightly essay on the topic:

https://allthatsinteresting.com/medieval-peasants-vacation-m...

"Consider a typical working day in the medieval period,” said Schor. “It stretched from dawn to dusk (sixteen hours in summer and eight in winter), but, as Bishop Pilkington has noted, work was intermittent — called to halt for breakfast, lunch, the customary afternoon nap, and dinner. Depending on time and place, there were also mid-morning and mid-afternoon refreshment breaks."

Additionally, the medieval calendar was also one of many official Church-going holidays which were always considered mandatory. In total, leisure time in medieval England took up probably about one-third of the year.


This contradicts my understanding of meal times. "Three meals a day" didn't really start until the industrial revolution [0]. In medieval times you ate when you got food.

[0] https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-20243692


I think there is absolutely no need every adult person needs to work 8 hours a day for 5 days a week. We might just as well work 4 hours a day or 3 days a week. It seems to me, this is just a matter of how the market pressures people to spend as much time as possible at work vs how much work most people can tolerate.

How do I know? There are countries where it is normal that both parents work to provide for their household and there are countries when it is mostly male parent that does the same with same effect. Yet, there is not much difference in their capability to provide, it seems in cases of both types of countries the system settled and regulated itself.


The commute may influence this. The average American commute is about 30 minutes each way. That's 1 hour round trip.

Commute as a portion of work time....

4 hrs work: 25%

5 hrs work: 20%

6 hrs work: 16.7%

7 hrs work: 14.3%

8 hrs work: 12.5%

Considering you don't get paid for your commute, there is a natural incentive to work more hours.


Remote work may influence this. Commuting to a workplace just to do the things you might as well do from home will be considered old-fashioned, inefficient and/or shameful in a few years, if my crystal ball is not lying.


Our team comes in the office once a week for some face time. But we have plenty of face time throughout the week on Webex Teams. We've eliminated the friction for remote face time.

If anything, it's an improvement over the in-office because instead of interrupting someone at work, we politely message someone (or the team) about doing a quick call once it's convenient for them.


The problem with that this is is co located teams are a massive multiplier - very few jobs are truly singleton roles.


There are ways to work around that problem remotely.

When working similar to the Basecamp guys it's even the other way around.

Write problems down and give people time to chew on them. Everyone adds his thoughts and refining the idea will lead to better results than a two hours meeting.


If you cycle to work you can change this equation, because, your commute becomes one of the best parts of your day.


That's optimistic. I have what I think has to be about as close to optimal a bike commute as it's possible to get in the US (nearly all separated bike paths, minimal risk of getting hit be a car). I wouldn't call it particularly enjoyable, much less one of the best parts of my day. It's just a thing I do a couple times a week because I hate going to the gym even more and it saves a bit of gas.


For 20 hours a week, you can just work 2.5 8h shifts, not necessary 5 4h shifts.


Not only have others suggested the reduction of the week to 4 days, but if you manage to de-align everyone's work week then commuting can become faster. And de-centralising work (not necessarily to the home!) can also improve the commuting situation.


10h 4 days a week to keep the 40h work week. But it also depends on the type of work. I think desk jobs would benefit more than manual labour form longer days(asuming same total). As the mind and body recovers differently.


I don't understand this presumably American fixation with the 40 hour week. It's almost 10% longer than the default UK week which is already too long. Having worked both and currently on 36.75 there's still a huge amount of slack and wasted time assuming software development or other office jobs.


> I don't understand this presumably American fixation with the 40 hour week.

Not just America. We have elections coming up in Saxony (a state in East Germany), so I watched a 2-hour interview with the current MP from the conservative party (the same party as Angela Merkel). When it came to the topic of UBI and automation, he adamantly refused to consider any policy that would move away from the 40-hour work week. He meant that there were so many challenges ahead of us, we couldn't afford to lose any of our precious working hours. His mantra seems to be "Work harder, not smarter".


> His mantra seems to be "Work harder, not smarter".

Bavarian here. Your MP is a nutjob, as is Söder and the rest of the conservatives. The point is that conservatives (as well as the FDP and the AfD) focus primarily on the needs of the businesses which means keeping to old Prussian traditions no matter what.


> Your MP

#NotMyMP. I just happen to live here.


>10h 4 days a week to keep the 40h work week

Why keep an arbitrary "40h" standard? Productivity has increased 100x from when it was established, what keeps it is busywork...


This just reads like incentive to work longer hours for fewer days.


> How do I know? There are countries where it is normal that both parents work to provide for their household and there are countries when it is mostly male parent that does the same with same effect.

I don't understand how this supposedly proves that e.g. male single providers could work only 4 hours a day instead of 8. Care to explain? As an argument against both parents working it would make more sense...


He is implying that in some countries only one spouse works 8 hours a day, and the couple/family have a fairly comfortable life. So presumably in these countries, both spouses could instead work 4 hours a day and they could still have the same comfortable life.


it is because most jobs are payed by the hour and that's how salary is calculated at the end of the month


agree, well said!


Countries where it's normal for both parents to work rely on a serf class, usually of immigrant women, to care for their children at terrible wages so both parents can work. I wonder how long this can be sustainable.


Plenty countries where both parents normally work and there are no servants.


Who is taking care of the children? Who works in the daycares?


I live in Germany, both my kids go to public kindergarten/daycare (there is no distinction between the 2 here, it starts when the child is 1 year old) & the kindergarten teachers are mostly German themselves.

They don't earn great wages but they are not indentured servants either.


I became a parent last year and all of my research indicates that 1 is way too young to send a kid away. The optimum age seems to be 3 years. It seems we have come to accept social norms that are not designed around the well-being of the child.


It's a tough question that we have struggled with with both our kids. At the end we've reached the conclusion that we need to balance between the needs of the child and the needs of the parent.

The first 2 months after the birth we were both home, then my wife stayed for another 9 months & finally I took 1 more month of parental leave (so in total it was 1 year before starting to acclimate him to daycare).

After almost a year at home my wife needed (mentally & socially) to return to work & if we could afford to live off of her salary alone I think I would have gladly stayed at home for another 6+ months (instead of just 1).

But I don't think our kids would have been better off overall if my wife stayed for another 2 years but would have done so only out of a feeling of obligation and suffering during that time (it is VERY isolating to be a stay at home parent, even when you have contact to other parents of young children & there is a real lack of intellectual stimulation despite there constantly being work to do).

I don't have all the answers but I think it's a tough question & the balance really depends on the kids and the parents - I believe there is no "1 size fits all" solution.


> there is a real lack of intellectual stimulation despite there constantly being work to do

My wife is taking more of a leading role with our 1 year old (maybe 70/30 between her and me ... also in Germany) and she gets her mental stimulation through voraciously reading about changing dietary requirements of children as they age along with general child developmental research. In fact it is leading us to a discussion about startup opportunities.


Im glad it works for you & it's great you were able to fit the situation to your advantage & interests. But different people have different wants and needs.


The norms are designed around parental leaves available.


Right. So there's a large group of mostly women who accept low wages to store children so more privileged people can go earn higher wages.


In Iceland at least being a leikskoli teacher requires a degree and they are far from child storage. They work and care for the childs development. This is at least a fairly common model in Nordic countries and presume its similar in a lot of Europe.

I've heard horror stories about featureless cinder block rooms as day care in the US though.


In UK (before state mandated ages, ie 4yo) the level of care can be pretty grim, and it's often low skilled young women ([1]) - particular if you're poor yourself.

[1] because for some reason minimum wage is reduced for younger people, like young people don't need housing or food, I don't know ...


One of the many reasons I'm glad I moved here from the UK before having kids.


Funny, I did the same thing. Describing the Icelandic preschool system is the best way I have to blow my UK friend's minds.

"No matter where you live, your child is in the catching area for a nearby preschool and is automatically enrolled there. And it's by no means a child storage facility; the primary focus is on teaching children through play and at least half the staff have a master's degree in preschool teaching. And they're fully fed. Also, it's practically free."


If anything, the wages are so low because people like you consider these thankless hard jobs "child storage".


> So there's a large group of mostly women who

enjoy what they do

> so

other people can do other jobs that the aforementioned women benefit from, such us public hospitals, roads, railroads, public transport etc. etc. etc.

FTFY, dear American friend


Why do you assume the kindergarten teachers earn less than they would have otherwise had in a different job or less than the average parent of the kids in their group? I mean yes, I support better wages for them (jobs in education generally don't pay that great) & I'm sure people working in the financial sector earn much more but I don't think that was the alternative the common teacher had to chose from.

As I said wages are not great but they are not that far from the median. My wife (teacher in a music school) doesn't earn more than a kindergarten teacher, the advantage is mostly in economies of scale (1 teacher per 6-7 pupils vs 1 mother per 1-3 offspring).


> Why do you assume the kindergarten teachers earn less than they would have otherwise had in a different job or less than the average parent of the kids in their group?

Cause when they leave, they get jobs that earn more money.


Who leaves what job? There are plenty of kindergarten teachers who stay at that job their entire careers. If you refer to the parents, in Berlin it costs no money for the parent to send their kids to kindergarten (same as public schools).


And plenty who leaves at least around here. Those I knew personally got more money after. I can also check unemployment rates (low) and compare kindergarten salary to other jobs that hire same qualification (most of administrative work, junior tester etc).

I assume they earn less money they would otherwise, because those who left found better paid jobs without much problems.


In Germany almost everybody sends their children to Kindergarten, so the parents on average earn an average wage.


In my son's daycare about a third of personnel were men.


Same for my son's group.


They who work in the daycares are not a "serf class", they are paid professionals, and they don't need to have "terrible wages" in a civilized country.


>They who work in the daycares are not a "serf class", they are paid professionals

I wouldn't say 'professionals', in the United States daycare workers can expect to make a little more than minimum wage to start and might get up to 10-11$ an hour for dealing with the maximum number of kids allowed by law all day.

And unless you're talking some elite, gotta get on a waiting list and pay 30 grand a year to send one kid, anyone that passes a background check can get a job in daycare.


Sure, they don't need to have terrible wages. Do they though? Are daycare workers a healthy mix of educated men and women with a lot of other economic opportunities but choose to be daycare workers because of the pay or emotional rewards?


>Are daycare workers a healthy mix of educated men and women with a lot of other economic opportunities but choose to be daycare workers because of the pay or emotional rewards?

That's shifting the goalposts a little. Why would they need to have "a lot of other economic opportunities" anymore than tons of jobs (restaurant staff, retail employees, factory workers, truckers, etc) have?


In Poland, you need to have a specialized degree to work with children in a daycare/kindergarden. The wages mostly suck though.


Here in Norway daycare is an OK respectable job. Not particularly high paying but not the lowest on the scale either. A full time daycare professional can pay their rent, living expenses and travel for vacation off that.


Where I’m from (slovenia) you need to major in kindergarten education to be a kindergarten teacher. So while the major is a little limited, it’s still a bachelors.


And starting wage is lowest as it can be - minimal wage.


Well, they're merely working with children at their most sensitive and formative years, why give any importance to their work /s


They are professional trained, it takes 4 years to get a "puériculteur/puéricultrice" diploma in a university or equivalent. You have also nursery assistant that works under the supervision but even that need formal training + hand-on experience.

It varies a lot from country to country, but to assume that nobody would like to work with small children or that, as a parent, you would let your children under the care of untrained people is strange for me.


The state!

Have you ever heard about public schools?

They are a thing in Europe.

have you ever heard of family?

Kids usually have four grand parents (sometimes less, sometimes more)


In my country (Poland) we "use" grandparents for that.


It's the same in Asia. It's a great way to ensure entrenched cultural norms are passed across generations. This can be positive but I'd wager it's more likely negative especially considering the lives current grandparents led.


Bit of a disadvantage for big families (lots of kids-per-grandparent) or this without grandparents around...


In my country (Norway) retired grandparents stay at the mediterranean sea during wintertime.


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