| AHHHH, SWEET WORK|
Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of
"The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work"
July 31, 1997
June 27, 1997
David Gergen discusses The Time Bind with Arlie Russell Hochschild.
February 21, 1996
When family falls apart. A Phyllis Theroux essay.
February 12, 1996:
Essayist Roger Rosenblatt wrestles with the concept of the American family.
June 24, 1996:
President Clinton speaks at the Family Reunion Conference. The topic: families and parenting in today's economy.
Families and Work Institute
These days, Americans sigh with relief as they leave behind their hectic, demanding schedules and return to their sanctuaries. But more and more, it isn't home that's the sanctuary. It's work.
This queer scene is what Arlie Russell Hochschild reveals in her book "The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work."
Through a detailed study of a Fortune 500 company, Hochchild sheds light on a surprising trend: despite family-friendly policies in the work-place, employees are opting to spend more, not less time in the office.
Are these isolated cases of workaholic workplaces? The statistics Hochschild gathered for "The Time Bind" suggest not: over the past two decades, the average worker has lengthened their work schedules by 164 hours every month, and shortened vacation time by 14 percent.
It likely comes as no surprise that work is reducing leisure time. But Hochschild asserts that Americans are not working overtime because of money or a fear of layoffs. The University of California at Berkeley professor has found that the average worker doesn't mind that work is eroding time at home. In fact, they like it that way.
Apparently, somewhere in between "Have a good day, dear" and "Honey, I'm home" there has been a role reversal between home and work. Thanks to 20th century concepts such as company spirit and loyalty, the workplace is becoming increasingly cozy and comfortable, while home with its diapers, dirty dishes and divorce is becoming increasingly harried and hectic.
In both her book and New York Times Magazine article, Hochschild presents a disturbing scenario where parents are using a factory-like efficiency in their approach to homelife, scheduling "quality time" for personal relationships, racking up "time-debts" to children they leave at the daycare for nine or ten hours a day.
How did work become home and home become work? Are company policies, which are engineering an employee-friendly workplace, to blame? Who is going to reorganize the home? Are people losing their priorities?