The aha comment that made me realise why this probably won't take off by @claudeganon [^1]:
> "The whole arrangement is about control, preventing workers from having the time or energy to build competing enterprises, develop skills beyond a certain level, or organize against their employers. It’s the same reason why most big corps oppose a national healthcare system in the US: it keeps people locked in to their current positions and has the knock-on effect of putting downward pressure on wages and turnover expenses."
Is this... true?
Why there is no national healthcare - money, someone makes a ton of it by preventing nationalization of healthcare system.
Everything that doesn't make sense, has better alternatives (somehow not adopted) always boils down to money :(
so it's money, and stupidity :)
Everybody for themselves ain't a good model for a healthy society in long run. Way too many predators out there.
The fear is there, but to me it looks like white people afraid that some black people or brown people might earn the same money for the same work, or get equal representation in government. And it's all apparently justified in the politically segregated religious congregations.
There's that "if you didn't work for it, you don't deserve it" attitude, but it also combines with "whatever you have, you got because you deserved it" attitude. It's very fatalistic, and completely discounts the possibility that injustice exists in society, and that some humans actively create it for their own personal benefit.
It also seems like more of the social bonding activities are inherently organized around pre-existing in-groups and clique-sorting than I remember from more northerly cities. I had been accustomed to events organized around public schools, their intramural organizations, public libraries, chambers of commerce events, and city sports leagues in public recreation facilities--one thing, open to all residents--but in the South, they have entirely different networks organized through churches and private clubs, which are heavily segregated by political views, if not by race.
This leads to a lot of information asymmetry, and irrational beliefs or disinformation propagated through channels that are difficult for outsiders to monitor. So white blue-collar workers get propagandized against unions and democratic socialism. They are constantly being lied to, and subjected to rhetorical distractions. Black people go to different churches, so they aren't as politically self-defeating, but they get institutionally disenfranchised instead. Having lived in Chicago, Illinois, I recognize political corruption, and they definitely have it here.
There is also simply anxiety over giving one of the most if not the most powerful government in the world power over its citizens in such an intimate fashion.
Proponents of national healthcare always say that it will lower costs, but unless the government seizes control of everything, doctor salaries, hospital employee pay, etc. cost will never go down.
I am not arguing that the government should do all that, in fact it would terrify me. But it should work to increase the supply of healthcare and to create efficiencies and price transparency to drive costs down. Once costs are manageable it will be easier to find a way to guarantee healthcare affordably without crippling the economy or having the government run everything.
Of course when a pragmatic approach like the above is offered you always run into the "my mom has cancer now" argument that we just need to do it as soon as possible. It is a hard argument to refute.
It is a complex issue.
Another thought I've been having is that since medicine is the epitome of a good with inelastic demand, then the government could/should impose rather strict laws about profiteering. For example, maybe a drug could only cost double what a university can synthesize it for, or a minimum of 3 manufacturers would make any drug sold in the US (to ensure healthy competition), or the government could provide generic options for all drugs (as a price stabilizer), something like that. So insulin would essentially be free, and the hepatitis C cure might be substantially cheaper, for example.
I realize that this might lead to problems with drug research costs. But, that's really what we should really be talking about here. Separating research cost to some degree from profit in their distribution. And spreading those costs globally somehow so that they don't fall mostly on the US.
Maybe incremental measures like these could be adopted over a 5 or 10 year period until private insurance costs are more in line with the public option cost in other countries, and then states could offer insurance plans. Once about 50% have done that, the programs could be made federal. We could still keep private insurance for those who want it, like in many European countries.
To be honest, I am personally against these incremental approaches because I have doubts that they'll be adopted, but, you're right that it's a complex issue so I'm open to ideas and hope we can get past the political disfunction and get back to helping people.
You could equivalently say "why is there national healthcare almost everywhere in Europe" and answer "money", reversing your point.
I suppose in a way that is "money", but not in the sense that he meant (ie money directly exerting political power)
It could also be that things cost money, and taxpayers don't want to pay for some things.
The Democrats have decided that the rich must pay for it. Republicans have decided that it's too costly. By splitting the crowd, we have reached an impasse.
We could do what every other country has done, and have everyone pay more in taxes to get it, but both sets of votes have blocked it. Dems want European benefits without European taxes levied on the middle class. Reps realize how much these plans will cost and scare people with taxes in general. The end result is people want others to solve their problems instead of accepting the pain and paying for it.
It's not companies - it's voters. And it would cost a lot more in the US than anywhere else, and it's no single point of cost added - every part here cost more, from doctor and nurse salaries, to drugs (which are a small part of overall cost), to people wanting more end of life care, and on and on.
And here lies the problem- you're using made up numbers.
Obviously if we can cut healthcare spending while expanding access while maintaining our contribution to medica innovation, that would be a great thing. People just don't think that it's remotely realistic.
Obamacare wasn't cheap
Medicare and medicaid are very expensive and don't achieve the same results that the private industry does.
Are VA hospitals as good as private ones? Absolutely not- and these are when the government has the opportunity to provide for a demographic that is a small minority of the population and is likely to have bipartisan support.
IMO- the only argument for socialized healthcare is healthcare as a human right. The idea that the government will magically become superior to private industry at spending money is completely unrealistic.
My intent in making this post was really to call out the fact that, even for those of us lucky enough to have coverage through our employers, we're still paying quite a bit in premiums. So the net effect of public healthcare may be positive, flat or something else, but it isn't just a new tax and reduction in your paycheck. You stop paying a premium and start paying a tax.
As someone living in a country with this what this means in the end is that I have never in my life considered health care as an issue. I.e. having a job living at my parents house, moving away and studying and so on.
When you look back at the last few decades you will see that republicans have decided that rich people should pay an ever decreasing share. the Democrat proposals i have seen don’t even try to roll back to tax rates during or before the Reagan years.
The tax rates people quote are not usually effective rates; they're marginal rates, and no one really paid them.
The Reagan tax cuts were revenue neutral - they cut the top marginal rates and removed loopholes. During one of them the effective rate on the rich increased slightly.
>When you look back at the last few decades you will see that republicans have decided that rich people should pay an ever decreasing share.
The middle class and poor have seen very big tax cuts. For example, here  are effective tax rates from the CBO for years 1979-2005.
The lower quintile went from 8% to 4.3%, effectively halving their tax rate. 2nd quintile 14.3 to 9.9%, 3rd 18.6 to 14.2, third 21.2 to 17.4, highest quintile 27.5 to 25.5.
The top 1% went from 37% to 31.2%.
So, you claim rich do not pay their share? What is their "share"? The lowest 20% pays 4.4%, the top 1% pays 31.2%.
If someone pays 30% of income to tax, raising their income only means they're paying more dollars in tax. 30% is a ratio.
The rich also lost bigger chunks during the downturn.
The middle class is shrinking due to more moving up than down. That doesn't fit your narrative so well, but as far as I can tell, it's true, and has been true for some time. So of course their "share" is shrinking and the "rich" share is increasing - but then you might want to see what happened to the underlying people. After all, the set of rich people (and middle class, and poor) is always in flux.
If you really care to look at the numbers, the top 1% earns around 20% of all income, and pays around 37% of all taxes. The bottom 50% made 12% of all income, and paid 3% of all taxes.
So the top is paying almost 2x the share of taxes compared to their income than the average person, and the bottom half pays around 1/4x.
No matter how you slice it, the top do pay a lot in taxes. It's why the US is rated one of the most progressive tax structures in the OECD.
So there is rather large body of evidence suggesting that most likely adopting national health system will result in lower tax contributions and access to 'free' healthcare.
Could you give a clearer example? Meaning, say somebody makes $40k/yr, $60k/yr, $80k/yr, $100k/yr in America right now, what would their taxes look like if they were at "European" levels?
Example from Prague, Czech Republic = an average IT position has it's total cost of employment (part is payed pre-brutto salary from the employer side) at 55k USD, take home pay is at 30k USD a year.
- this includes a social insurance (if you are let go, you'll get 750 USD up till 5 months of unemployment, if you go by yourself it'll be around 600 USD, and a promise of 1200 usd a month when you retire)
- health insurance on everything but non-diagnosed plastic surgery (like fake boobs and butcheek implants), dental and optician care
- salary insurance during sickness (has to be certified by a doctor, 1-14 day you get 60% of your take-home hourly salary for every workhour you miss, after 2 weeks this changes to 60% of you gross salary counted for every day of sickness (including weekends), after 30 days of sickness it increases to 66%, after 60 days to 72%)
- and of course tax (around 13% of total cost of employment) that pays for public schools, roads, etc
For comparison, $55k gross is roughly $43.6k net in Florida for a single tax payer before insurance. Figure $200/mo for insurance (with employer paying the rest), that leaves you at $41.2k net
That's $11.2k/yr more than Prague taxes. What would I be gaining by paying $11.2k/yr more?
you lose some (of your income), you win some (safety net, no medical expenses, free schools, higher social mobility). I don't mind to pay a higher share of my income to live in a functional society.
My only question to that is: what level of rich ($200k/yr? $400k/yr?), and how much must they pay percentage wise, etc.
When will poorer people ever be ok with how much / how little billionaires give? I feel like the mindset is "it'll never be enough".
Have this, and you have a satisfied population that won't revolt against rich no matter how little rich pay in their taxes. But from what I read here over and over, US currently has none of this for below-medium/median income.
I think the thing keeping poorer US population from revolt is this common mentality that success comes only from hard work, and if you're not successful, well you just didn't work hard enough. Rags to riches ideal, which as we know is rather a myth due to real social (im)mobility. But repeat a myth a thousand times and it will become a rule.
Peter Attia put a healthcare twist on this idea. Paraphrasing, it becomes "Access, Quality, or Cost. You only get to choose two."
There's natural competing ideas in most any resource constrained environment.
Might add a dash of the "prisoner's dilemma."
But then I would get carried away with this stone soup and throw in love, honor, culture...
...and then end up back at "I don't know why."
Your most powerful tool in negotiating with your employer is to threaten to resign. Even with COBRA, paying for your own health insurance can be a substantial burden for many people in the US. If resigning from your job poses substantial risks to your health and life, your employer holds all the cards.
A workforce that does not have mobility and security in the essentials of life creates negative externalities for society as a whole. If workers are unable to leave or report workplaces containing unethical or illegal behavior out of concern for their lives, that unethical or illegal behavior is tacitly rewarded with competitive advantage for the business.
Why are COBRA prices as crazy as they are? I pay $200/mo for medical insurance, yet COBRA quoted me $800/mo+ I believe.
There is a movement to count medical benefits as income, which would shed light on this (in fact that was part of Obamacare/ACA, but politicians keep putting it off because they know no wants to pay taxes on their healthcare...)
I work at a small company and around the ACA times they told us they were weighing their options: removing healthcare benefits with a corresponding bump in pay (including tax ramifications), or keeping healthcare. At the time they let us know what they were paying, and it was a shitload - something like $18k/year for my family of 3.
They ended up keeping healthcare. And now I have a family of 5. No clue what they pay, but I'm sure it's a ton.
I know lots of other people who are petrified of losing their job because they aren't as healthy as I am.
You mean in general or only in the context of this article? because the BBC is certainly not a channel devoid of bias (just check this: https://www.quora.com/Why-is-BBC-called-British-Bullshit-Cor...)
Maybe a slight left bias although personally I think it's more a bias to the current sitting government.
However there is plenty of UK media that sees the BBC as unfair competition and would love to see it disappear.
Or, more realistically...entrenched systems evolve slowly.
Yikes, that sounds depressing.
> A report commissioned by the Labour Party in the UK suggested a four-day working week would be "unrealistic".
The report seems to be missing the point of most 4 day work week initiatives which is that we spend a ton of time not actually working because people feel like they are expected to always be in the office between arbitrary hours. Just because people "work" less doesn't mean their output is changing. Unless your definition of work is warming a chair.
Meanwhile, if you’re building on shoes in a shoe factory, there should be a very predictable output for people working on 4 days vs 5 days.
I don’t condone people to be overworking but that’s just my take.
Long days of dull and repetitive work, day after day, week after week, month after month, can be super exhausting mentally as well as physically. And it does show in terms of productivity. You're right, the output might be very predictable but it doesn't mean people aren't more productive and motivated when they feel more rested and less exhausted/tired/bored.
I'm a skilled machinist. And I couldn't even pretend that a full day of work didn't make me feel exhausted or that I didn't get tired and feel productivity & attentiveness taper off with time. Observing the coffee breaks when managers aren't around is enough evidence that most employees seem prone to feel the burden of long days at work. People find ways to avoid working too much -- coffee breaks, bathroom breaks, etc. I don't think it's just laziness. I would prefer to spend less time doing more focused work, stretching out a long day is always painful.
Now I work an IT job and am generally more energetic, but I would still prefer to have more time & energy left for my own life and ambitions (which work probably won't ever satisfy).
"The name 996.ICU refers to "Work by '996', sick in ICU", an ironic saying among Chinese developers, which means that by following the "996" work schedule, you are risking yourself getting into the ICU (Intensive Care Unit)."
The difference is that those jobs require workers to be present throughout the day in order to get work done. As a software developer I could probably cut my hours per day and produce the same amount of output. As a waiter my productivity (and earnings) was dependent on customers showing up to the restaurant. If I only worked 6 hours instead of 8, or 4 days instead of 5, then I served fewer customers and earned fewer tips.
And, of course, we're paid the same or more, as we're making the company the same amount of money, if not more.
There is certainly room for innovation that makes sense for productivity AND for worker morale. But the people making the decisions are risk-averse and don't have to deal with the downsides of their heel-dragging.
Also, as a waiter, your wages should not be paid by the customers. Tips are bullshit, and the rest of the world knows this. You should be paid a fair hourly wage.
And now you've increased overhead and labor costs for these companies significantly while reducing the pay of the average worker (are cashiers going salary now?) I don't see how that works for anyone.
There are too many places that function like a firehouse and hours in seat matter at those places.
The sort of people who want you in your seat 50 hours a week are often compensating for the other ways they're mismanaging resources.
Actually talking and helping customers isn't "warming a chair" any more than loading lumber or unloading appliances or working up quotes for custom orders.
I know a nurse that needs to do a minimum of 35 hours a week so that they can get full-time experience so that they can meet requirements for the next job.
Breaking news: Electrically heated seats puts millions out of work.
Perhaps - but more depressing is losing a high paying job and earning a minimum wage with no hope of living a comfortably life, in that local context. Taken it out of context makes it further apart from the true meaning.
Success has no shortcuts - it requires 100k+ hours of hard working and perseverance. Working leisurely is for the folks that are already prosper (read: take a look at Microsoft employees' avg. salaries.)
Working less and living a good life? No, you can't have it both ways, unless you're already rich.
Working leisurely is for companies that have a culture that encourages it and nothing more.
I don't consider myself rich (although this is kind of a relative measurement), but I definitely work leisurely and make enough money to buy a house, car, etc.
I also took a lot of shortcuts, like dropping out of college. People CAN and DO have it both ways without already being rich and that should be the standard for society going forward. We should always strive to improve the experience of workers.
As someone else said... why not? This isn't some immutable law of the universe.
You can absolutely have it both ways
It's just that they don't come into the office on the 5th day.
This is actually probably the key result from this experiment. Working at home that 5th day, allows workers, especially in Japan, where people feel a huge obligation to just hold down a chair even if there isn't work to be done, to work flexibly in a manner that works for them.
Even if they are still working the 5th day from home, it’s still a better trade off than having to be in the office 5 days per week.
That being said, 4 day work weeks would be great and I’m sure people would be just as productive, if not more so, as they are now.
At one company, I noticed Fridays were probably the least productive day as people would take breakfast breaks immediately upon showing up, extra long lunch breaks etc. Everybody was itching for the weekend. When they moved to 4 day work weeks, that same mentality just shifted to Thursday. Leadership wasn't good about holding people accountable and then suffered enormous backlash at the mere idea of moving back to a 5 day workweek to help meet the mission goals.
I guess the moral is to ensure there are at least good management practices in place. Shorter workweeks aren't necessarily a productivity panacea.
I was part of a similar test at a previous employer. We switched to a 4-day workweek for a few months. We were warned that management would be watching our productivity closely during the trial period.
You bet we worked incredibly hard during that trial period. Everyone was working long hours to get everything done early. Ironically, some people even worked Saturdays during the trial period. No one wanted to be the person who fell behind and ruined the four day workweek trial period for everyone else.
Employees are smart. If their management says they can have an extra 52 days off each year if they nail productivity during a 4-week trial period, of course they're going to be ultra productive for those 4 weeks.
And if it's going to tend to happen informally anyway, it's probably fairer to make it an official policy for everyone.
That said, I personally mostly lean towards more vacation days I can take together rather than every week being shorter.
As I understand it the only reason we have a 5-day, 8-hour work week is because North American rail workers' labor unions struck for it. Because workers, over tired, were losing limbs and dying on the job. It's not because it's the optimal work week for managing teams of knowledge workers.
What I am surprised by is how long it has taken the MBAs and suits to realize this.
I think this is because the impact of an error of commission is low. The worst that happens is people work a bit later, and since they're always working later... well, it's fine to build things that don't need building and have meetings about things that aren't happening. Nobody worries about wasting time because it's just pushing work into a buffer that is treated as infinite. But with limited incentive to select high-value work, it's easy to fall into a trap of working 12+ hour days entirely on low-value stuff.
"Go home on time" cultures are forced to prioritise to be effective. If you know you're going to shut down the laptop with tasks unfinished, you have to make a choice on which tasks you're willing to accept not getting done today. In this situation there is a significant impact of an error of commission, because it means something more important not getting done. IME this results in higher-value work overall, because the organisational instinct tends toward scrutinising everything to see if it's worth doing, not just the things which will take you past 5pm.
I've not been fortunate enough to work somewhere with a 4 day week, only places with generous working hours, but my feeling is it would be a further improvement on this. (Especially since with more free time, people are not going to assign such a high importance to doing their finances, keeping track of Reddit, daydreaming about DIY or any of the other thousands of things people in long-hours cultures do on company time).
There's no reason to rely on imperfectly controlled-for studies when we can generally predict a compounding chain of essentially true things.
Furthermore, less work is more freedom and is preferable, whatever the rationalization of the era is.
We'll probably all be better off when we see tenacious belief in "work ethic" as Stockholm Syndrome's cousin, and realize we're still getting things done because we want to be creative and useful.
I'm pretty sure I'm making more right now compared to how much I was when working full time.
I explain this by having had more time to become a better engineer, as I've been able to spend time on side projects (learning new things), distancing myself from my professional duties (thus avoiding unnecessary/inefficient work), and recovering better during the weekends. Exercising more probably helped a lot too.
Overall, I deeply think that more small tech companies should start offering 4d/week positions, as it will make them able to compete against bigger companies that can offer bigger compensations. Most of the best programmers I know would happily trade a 15% net income reduction for an additional day off. This is also reflected by how popular such articles get on Hacker News or Reddit.
As a side note, part time work for white-collar positions is already very common in the Netherlands, and the country if one of the richest in the world.
I sorta "steal" (do without asking permission) 10% of time to work on what I want (stuff not PM sanctioned bugs/features), and not only is it GREAT for mental health, it often turns out to be greatly appreciated by others at work. There's always stuff that many people wish for but never gets prioritized. Or just me cross-training myself in other languages and frameworks so I can support a larger set of code-bases also provides a lot of value.
But not everyone works like this. Many people just take any extra slack they can get and use it to chill. :shrug:
I hear Japan has cultural practices where workers are supposed to remain in the office until the boss goes home. Was it like this at MSFT before they tried the 4-day a week experiment? Or were they doing a Westernized 9-5 gig? Which in that case, would probably already be viewed as a 'dream' lifestyle to normal overworked Japanese citizens.
IE: Did you sprain your ankle/fall off your bike during work hours or private time? If it was during work time then it's a working accident and you get all necessary treatment and long term recovery paid by the insurance. If it's during private time then it's on you and your insurance covers standard treatment but some lengthy recovery and physiotherapy costs may come out of your pocket.
Yes, this is how it works. When I moved from California to the Midwest while working at Microsoft, I had to be paid out accrued vacation because California requires employers to keep accruing vacation time, while other states allow companies to put a cap on it.
Given the benefits to the organization, wonder why the repeat experiment will not have the "special leave" benefit.
For those of you who own businesses with employees -- how do you feel about 4-day work weeks?
Would it be practical for your own companies?
By 2030 all "baby boomers" will be older than 65. These people will need to be cared for on a scale that we have never encountered before.
Companies will need to find a way to continue to conduct business while the workforce contends with caring for the aging population. Work-at-Home, Flex Schedule, and 4 Day Weeks and other things that are currently seen as perks can all become part of a core solution to that problem. Companies can essentially beta the potential solutions as a perk today.
I wouldn't be surprised to see elder care benefits start to appear in company benefit packages as well. Currently parental/birth benefits are a distinguishing factor in HR circles and gaining traction. I expect elder care benefits to take a similar course as caring for the aging population increases in burden.
For me often my day is just busy. Update that library, write test, ask for review, start updating deps for if/when review passes. review passed. put in CI queue. Made through que. Submit deps version bump for review. Review approved, add to CI. Oh oh something broke. repeat. Entire days are just busy work. Working less hours would not remove the busy work or make it more productive. Maybe it's a bad workflow.
In any case yes , would love to work less hours but still questioning where the optimum is. Why 4 days? Why 8hrs? Why not 2 days for 2hrs etc... Is 4 only special in relation to 5? Is it 4 on 3 off or would 2 on 1 of 2 on 2 off be better? Or On Off On Off On Off Off. Is 6hrs better? 4? 10?
And how do they differ per industry? I can tell you right now, the vast majority of jobs do require the current hourly investment (and then some). Are there industries that would see productivity gains from a 6-day or 7-day workweek (not that we want to change to that schedule - but it's worth a contrast)? Many businesses will pay out over time even though it means paying out 1.5x or 2x or even 2.5x base pay - they aren't stupid. Clearly, there is SOME benefit.
The situation is still a win/win for the employer, since my increased productivity makes more profits and therefore salaries can be kept equal (or increased, if sales go up)
It would also boost internal tourism so would have that advantage as well
Oh I think MS didn't say that. 
Paper and electricity was compared to August 2016, as far as I can see from the image.
Actually they look like on the trend line.
I'm helping out aging parents. I can do that, and keep my skills up, and have a life, if I work 4 days a week or less. That's what I negotiated at my last gig — but it was with a great small company and not one of the typical major employers where 40 hour workweeks are a baseline requirement.
Selling products by low price is meaningless. Productivity should be measured by profit per employee, not sales per employee.
I vaguely remember seeing articles, that I now cannot find, that claimed that the forty percent reduction in days worked resulted in much less than a forty percent reduction in production.
Here's a government pdf on productivity. The three day week doesn't stand out on any of the graphs, it's just lost in the regular variation.
Why aren't smaller startups already using this tactic to lure away "talent"?
Fuck everything about 5 day work weeks.
I'll gladly switch to any job that offers a 4 day work week. It's one of the best perks.
As someone with ADHD, work days are entirely spent getting work done. There isn't any extra slack or allotment for personal tasks. They're 100% owned by the employer.
Weekends offer barely enough time to catch up with chores. There isn't enough time both to catch up and still have fun. I use vacation time to catch up on chores, so that's spent too.
I don't want to spend most of my life working. I feel like a slave, and now my youth is almost gone.
I don't care if it's a 10hr/4day schedule or a 9hr/4day 8hr/4day with less pay, I want an extra day for myself. I'm an excellent engineer aside from my ADHD quirks, and I'll go anywhere that offers this where I live.
My own startup (I almost have the capital for a long runway) will be 9hr/4day.
Although, sometimes we wish we could.
Similar to Microsoft, we only have one 45-min meeting each week and then everything else is heads down work.
To maintain efficiency, we also have strict Slack protocols in place to keep everyone in deep work throughout the day. (No @ or DMs, everyone checks Slack at 11am and 4pm).
The major downside so far has been customer support, which the founders still manage to maintain our response rate.
Oh and we're hiring! If you're frontend engineer and like 4-day weeks + side projects, reach out directly firstname.lastname@example.org
A 6 hour x 4 day work week is 75% the regular work day and 80% of the regular work week, but I bet it gets a lot more than 60% of the regular work done. That is largely cutting out the unproductive "slack time", and giving it back to the employees so they don't have to look busy when they are already spent for the day/week.
If you need to squeeze more out of the workforce, please hire more employees, and worry less about their specific "qualifications". Instead, spend more on management recruiting. Get managers who can coordinate the efforts of people working together asynchronously. Just like asynchronous programming, it takes a little bit more skill than just managing everyone together in the same office location, at the same time, doing the "manager walk" and demanding status reports and status meetings. And employees are universally happier with managers that are more skilled at management.
People who want to work more should be able to, but we generally need a massive reevaluation of what work in America is worth, in favor of labor. We're giving up way too much because we're afraid.
We also need a reevaluation of what work is worth, in terms of self-worth and position in society. We're too far on the side of "you are your job" (and its less-savory friend "your net worth is your worth").
I think we (as a society/industry) need to start publicly having this discussion.
I am not ADHD/ADD, but have interacted with a few in this situation..
Regardless of how it's classified, I tend to think of it more as just a different way the mind works, and not necessarily an inferior one (even if our society seems to make it harder to thrive at a young age when that's how your mind works). Given the number of people I've seen that seem to leverage this aspect of how they function to good success as adults, I definitely wouldn't consider it a disability.
1: My daughter has ADHD and takes medication because the structure of school and the constraints it puts on the people in it doesn't really allow for other options that don't result in her failing or one of her parents devoting ourselves to her education. I have complex feelings about this, but believe it's beneficial at least for now.
In my 10+ years of office experience I never even come close to 20 hours of actual work in a week, even if I was there for 40-60 hours. Usually, half the time or more was dedicated to office politics and making people who need to constantly socialize feel good about themselves with various meetings and team-building exercises and chit-chat. During one particularly bad period of time, work often only happened the little gap between morning meetings and noon because certain people would come back from lunch pissed out of their minds and make it impossible for anyone to do anything. I never had a problem with the actual work, but the non-work I was putting most of my time and effort into was exhausting and lead to long bouts of depressions.
Now that I'm freelancing from home, with no commute and no babysitting egos, not only am I spending most of my work time on work, but the time I do spend is about 10x more productive, due to lack of office (and commute) stress.
It could be 9hr/4day, and you will do that until you run out of capital after 1800 work hours.
From a business strategy standpoint, my experience has been that sometimes companies try to compensate for poor strategy by piling on the hours. To me, it's like trying to do push ups to solve math problems faster.
Similarly, I have noticed that strategic structural soundness is vastly more important than hours worked. When the structure is there, all your efforts are leveraged many times over such that, effectively, 30 hours a week becomes more like 300.
Hard work is important and satisfying but duration is not the real measure we should look at, imo.
Startups, by definition, try to scale up quickly..which means lots of money (investors) and lots of time (overtime and long hours).
 - https://www.investopedia.com/terms/s/startup.asp
Developers generally agree that it's better to spend some time writing tests, as even if it increases our latency in the small term, it will improve output it in the long term.
Yet, we also seem to think that it's totally fine to sacrifice mental and physical being for the sake of short term gains instead of long term ones?
I am not saying one should not do the occasional push, but surely as a founder it's better to work 40 hours a week and keep yourself sane, than push yourself into burn out after 1 year of 70h/week and no holidays?
Only because you've surrounded yourself with people that don't know any other way to do it. Find more creative people to hang out with.
I've never understood this line of thinking. Providing for yourself is being a contributing member of the species, work is a means of providing for yourself. For all of human history you've either had to get up every day and go be productive bringing resources in or you had to depend upon someone else to do it for you.
I see this "working is slavery" attitude constantly in /r/leanfire and other personal finance subs and I just don't get it. Every single thing you use required labor to come into existence. Your phone, your computer, where you live, the clothes you are wearing, the food you eat, all of that required human labor to produce.
Worse, I often seen the 'work is slavery' form 6-figure salary types (at least in /r/leanfire) that have great benefits and are griping they won't be able to retire by 35 or from people that are on their first job (usually retail) and think it is unfair they can't sit at home playing video games and having all their needs met.
This sort of mentality can't be good for the future of mankind. Sitting in an air conditioned building, listening to spotify, while you decide if you want to go get the catered lunch or sit in your cubicle while you screw around on HN/reddit and pretend to work is NOT slavery.
If you genuinely feel this way, go get a job throwing trucks/planes in the dead of summer or go get a landscaping job for a few weeks. Seriously, go get a manual labor job part time on the weekends and realize there are people doing that 40, 50, 60 hours a week all year long.
Go tell someone from the 1950s, 1850s, 1750s, 1650s how hard you have it and how bad it is having to sit at a computer all day in a climate controlled building. They'd look at you in utter disbelief and beg you to tell them how to have such a wonderful life.
I've had a job since I was 12 and working full time since the day I turned 18. I'm grateful that I get to work, grateful that I am able to provide for myself, grateful that I do get to sit a desk and am no longer humping a backpack full of diesel weed eating and digging graves. I'll take sitting at a monitor over getting sunburn to the point of blistered skin from being outside working all day with no cover any day.
However, I can't truly pick when I want to work. There are no jobs in my area that pay 80% of my current rate for the same task done 4 days a week.
If a job was truly an even exchange of value between employer and employee, I would expect to see some people working 7 days a week and making 40% more than me, and some people working 3 day weeks and making 40% less. But aside from service workers with work on nights, weekends, and holidays, everyone in my city went to work in the dark this morning and will go home in the dark tonight.
I am not against trading labor for money - that's the point of a job. I am against trading freedom plus labor for money.
You can totally get this kind of flexibility as a self-employed contractor. The fact that you aren't just as easily allowed it as an employee is ultimately due to excess red tape in the paid-employment sector, nothing else. Every bit of red tape in the employment arrangement is an extra fixed cost that has to be paid-for somehow, meaning that the employee has to work that much more just to break even.
Why? There are plenty of concentration effects that go against this; e.g. it's better for everyone to work the same hours for communication reasons.
I've got some news for you, many manual labor jobs aren't just picking up a shovel and digging a hole or picking up a box and setting it back down.
Your first sentence, to me, reads "I'm more valuable than you because I know thing, so I want more resources for less effort".
One can state a fact without making it into a brag. Saying, "I get paid more than you" is not the same as saying, "I am a better person than you", despite the culture that the rich prefer to cultivate that equates the two. A person that gets paid $15/hour is the same amount of person as someone paid $100k/year. The latter is "more valuable" only in the economic, marketplace sense, and gets roughly 3x the resources for the same amount of labor, which likely does not involve work that requires separating ass from chair.
If you don't pay people more to acquire the difficult skills, they won't bother, except in rare cases.
I was only saying the engineer version of myself adds greater resources to an economy than a hypothetical hunter-gatherer version of myself - who, being myself, obviously has equal moral worth.
Congratulations you just described capitalism.
That's how it is for most people anyway. Sure there's other options like starting a business or whatever, but those are restrictive in their own ways and aren't possible for most people.
There's no reason work needs to be structured in the tyrannical matter it is. Work could be democratic, but it's not.
Obviously work is necessary, but not _all_ work is, especially in today's world. Society as a whole is taking the path of working more in order to consume more, instead of working less and having more free time. It's hard to escape this. Most part-time jobs are minimum wage type jobs.
You'll have to choose that though, it means you adjust the location where you live so that rent is reasonable, and it means not constantly buying new shit. Of course if you're working for an employer you more or less have to do what they tell you but I don't think there has been any time in history that it was this easy to earn your freedom.
I make a typical SF software engineer salary and I live in a low cost of living area. The reality is that I still need about $3M to permanently stop working. Healthcare is expensive and the dollars that I'm making now will be worth much less later in life, even when prudently invested.
I'll probably be able to achieve independence by 40 or 45 instead of 55 or 65 because I have a low CoL and won't have kids. I'm very much looking forward to the freedom I'll have purchased for myself, but it's still an absurdly long time to wait to start living.
Until then, it's more pills and more work.
I have no idea how people manage to live fulfilling lives while still working 40+ hours a week, but I sure can't do it.
$3M is a lot, typically the rule of thumb is that you need 25 years worth of living expenses to be financially independent. That means you expect to spend $120k yearly? That's up to you of course but that fits exactly in what I said about choosing how much you spend. My monthly expenses are currently < $1500 per month (for 2 people, in Sweden), and I think it's more likely that I will taper off working (work fewer hours, more fun but lower paying jobs) than that I will stop working altogether. That means $300-400k would probably be enough to provide a significant level of freedom especially once my girlfriend graduates and has an income as well.
My salary is far from an SF salary and I do work full-time but I find my work quite fulfilling. If it weren't I wouldn't have much difficulty finding work with more freedom for e.g. part-time employment.
I checked my math again with https://www.firecalc.com/
I would need about $50k/yr in expenses at present (adjusted for inflation in the future). If I'm planning for 50 years out, that means I need a portfolio of about $1.6M to have a high probability of being able to make it 50 years.
So not quite $3M, and maybe I could cut more expenses, but I think at least $1.5M in liquid assets is what I need. If by some miracle I can get a $1M payday when my current employer sells, then maybe I've got a chance at being done in the next few years.
If I could get my spending down to $30k/yr, which might be possible, then I could get away with $1M, but I'll still have to put in another 5 years or so to hit that $1M number.
Keep in my mind for US people, we have to buy our own health insurance, and if something medical goes wrong and you can't work, you can easily go bankrupt that way. There's such little safety net that I'd like to have more than I think I'll need.
I don't know if you've met tribes people or those living in agrarian societies, but while they do tend to have excellent work ethics and do a lot, they also tend to have _more_ down time and family time than someone working a 40 hour week, tilling fields is hard fucking work, maintaining all your own equipment and making things by hand is slow and laborious, but you do get to finish. Sometimes there's weeks that you're working every single day, but there's also seasons where you aren't.
I've literally dug graves for a living.
I've thrown trucks for a living in 90F heat in 80%+ humidity.
I've worked 40 hours for a company and 40-50 hours a week for myself trying to get ahead some.
I've been working since I was 12 years old just to help make ends meet. Sitting at a desk doing 'unfulfilling, repetitive' work is the easiest thing I've ever done and I'd take it over every single other job I've ever had without hesitation. I get to sit in a temperature controlled office all day, I can go to the bathroom when I need to, I'm not in the heat/cold all day getting sun poisoning anymore, I have set hours with a reliable schedule and steady pay. It's amazing.
Probably not. You wouldn't want to waste time on back-breaking labor that has no productive purpose, would you?
But the white-collar desk job does that every time it says "work 8 hours every day" while the worker consensus is that the 7th and 8th hour is mostly useless, and subsequent hours in the same day are often counterproductive.
If you spend 8 hours digging a grave by hand with a shovel, your muscles get tired. But if you do it long enough, the muscles get stronger, and you can dig graves for longer before getting fatigued. If you spend 8 hours a day thinking about difficult problems, your brain gets tired. If you do it long enough, you get smarter, but also burn yourself out, go slightly insane, and lose the ability do the job at all any more.
They're different kinds of cells. They have different physiological processes for maintenance and repair. Muscles don't sleep and flush with CSF; brains don't bulk up and add additional nuclei.
its the same argument of saying "yeah well someone in a insert 3rd world country has it way worse than you so your problems dont matter."
you need to step back and understand that people in white collar jobs are allowed to be miserable regardless of whether theyre breaking their back or not, and if that misery can be subsided by having an alternate schedule to work to produce efficiency, then why is that such a crazy ask? because that's just "the way things have always been done"? when was the last time that argument has ever worked out well?
This doesn't apply to MANY jobs, unless you're talking about replacing humans with robots with superior strength and agility that do not need to rest.
The majority of HN, and silicon valley types in general, are incredibly myopic. The vast majority of people here automatically assume everyone else in a thread works in CS, they assume everyone has a degree, they assume everyone hammers away at code in a comfy office all day.
The vast majority of the world is not sitting at a computer coding for 6 figure salaries with great benefits and profit sharing.
Why does that mean other people should feel the same way you do?
In the United States the benefits of full time employment are mandatory if you want to live a much less stressful life. Tying benefits to employment has given employers far too much control over their employees lives, without a huge savings or secondary income source anyone without insurance is one bad day away from bankruptcy (and too many people /with/ benefits are as well).
If a 4 day work week lowers stress and increases productivity that much, I don't see why many industries shouldn't adopt it. And don't tell people that "You have a choice, just get a part time job instead". Thats not a choice, thats a financial death sentence.
If you want to change that start with changing how you vote, the two party system is broken beyond repair, the US would fare much better under a coalition government.
One potential issue is that I think there are fewer legal requirements, but competitive employers already provide benefits that exceed the legal minima.
This would also allow industry to focus on what industry does which is make money. They no longer would have to spend on expensive Cadillac health care plans in order to compete for employees. Governments job is to keep its populace safe and healthy, that is not the job of private industry.
The only reason we don't have this is due to lobbyists.
Retirement makes sense as this is your source of income. I feel that company resources would be better spent elsewhere than on healthcare.
This would, of course, require universal healthcare or direct market healthcare. This would help new businesses thrive, especially the "mom and pop" types.
I guess I am jaded on this as my parents lost their business when I was growing up due mainly to the cost of healthcare. Not all companies have monolithic budgets.
I doubt most Fortune 500 employees would support turning their company plans into some medicare-for-all. Next step would be turning Social Security over to Goldman Sachs.
Getting health insurance, whether public or private, out of the hands of employers is probably the single best thing that could be done for working conditions in America.
If I've contributed my maximum amount in 4 days rather than 5, it should not be called part time. Part time should be reserved for instances where you are indeed contributing less than a full amount per week, such that you could hold two part time jobs.
So the question is really why some employers insist on the full 40 rather than being open to a range from 30 to 40.
It makes no sense that everyone gets the same two days off. It is such a hassle scheduling doctors appointments, receiving repairmen, going to the DMV, etc. on a weekday.
The only reason we have the same two days off is for historical religious reasons. And a rolling schedule could still accommodate that for those who care.
For everyone else, just put them on a rolling schedule of five (or four) days of work per week, any days, with some predictability.
From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_calendar#Five-day_weeks :
"Eighty per cent of each factory's workforce was at work every day (except holidays) in an attempt to increase production while 20% were resting. But if a husband and wife, and their relatives and friends, were assigned different colors or numbers, they would not have a common rest day for their family and social life. Furthermore, machines broke down more frequently both because they were used by workers not familiar with them, and because no maintenance could be performed on machines that were never idle in factories with continuous schedules (24 hours/day every day). Five-day weeks (and later six-day weeks) "made it impossible to observe Sunday as a day of rest. This measure was deliberately introduced 'to facilitate the struggle to eliminate religion'"."
See also https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/11/why-don...
A 2-day weekend, with one day/half day off during the week for appointments, would be a much better system. The employee could select the day themselves to suit their preferences.