AHHHH, SWEET WORK|
Arlie Russell Hochschild, author of
"The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work"
July 31, 1997
Other questions asked in this forum:
Are other post-industrial countries working overtime as well? Haven't men been doing this for a long time? Were people relutcant toadmit the truth to you? Why won't Americans embrace the 35-hour work week? Don't managers love that employees prefer work to home? Question: You based your research on a Fortune 500 company located in the Mid-West. Is this time bind thing at all regional? Do west-coast families relax more than other American families, for example?
Arlie Russell Hochschild responds:
I haven't seen a study on this, but yes, long work hours pobably does vary from one region to another. (A recent book by Robert Levine documents regional variations in the "speed of life." I haven't read it, I saw a review in the Times; you might have too.) Though I've long resisted it, there is probably something to the claim that the West Coast is "more laid back."
Still, my colleagues at U.C.Berkeley seem to get just as much done as colleagues in the Midwest and East. Are they working the same long hours, or just working more effectively? I don't know.
A more important source of variation in time use, I believe, is economic. Close to the pulse of capitalism -- the big Fortune 500 companies probably tend toward the model of workaholic cults. And within these companies, managers and professionals probably work the longest hours. In smaller companies on the "periphery" and in many government jobs, and the military, hours are more reasonable, except when you get to start-up companies, where long hours are again typical.