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Happy Fourth of July! Are you technically on a day off but checking your work email nonetheless? If so, you are one of the 80 percent of American working adults who a recent survey says continue working outside of the office. The survey, done for Good Technology, found that 80 percent of people work an average of seven extra hours a week. That's nearly a full day extra a week—or anyway, it would be if they weren't working extra time every day.

According to the survey, people are checking their email and phones through more and more of the day, starting just after 7:00 in the morning and stretching past 10:00 at night. Another survey, by the American Psychological Association, found that 62 percent of Americans say work has "a significant impact on stress levels."

The reach of work into our lives hits people across income levels, though in different ways. "Just-in-time" scheduling means that many low-wage workers have to be available to be called in to work on short notice (and can be sent home on equally short notice), while for professional-managerial class workers, constant availability is often framed as a marker of responsibility and status even though it has become a widespread expectation over which workers in fact have little to no control. Many people make themselves constantly available not because they love their jobs or feel personally motivated to monitor everything that happens, but because with high unemployment and job insecurity increasingly a way of life for many, they fear losing their jobs. And job insecurity has become a major cause of depression, anxiety disorders, and other forms of poor health.

The flip response is to say "it's Independence Day! Take the day off!" But of course lots of people can't, and even suggesting that the pressure to check work email or phone messages during "off" time frames that as an individual issue rather than one imposed by employers.

Still, relax if you can. But if you can't, don't blame yourself. Blame an economy in which anyone not in the top 1 percent is there to be used up and thrown away.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 08:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Progressive Hippie, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I work from home (13+ / 0-)

    I got a contract job last summer that is still ongoing (and should finally be a permanent position this month) and work exclusively from home.  There's a lot of benefits to this.  No commute, I get to listen to my own music all day long and obviously work my jammies.

    Plus, it's for an internet start up so there's some excitement being part of the company.

    The drawback is that my desk and computer are now feeling like my office and when I want to get away from "work", I am leaving my own apartment to do so.  I have some hobbies that are based on the computer (ie: some writing, some music making with various software) but lately I've done neither because once the work day is done, I escape.

    That said, I'm finding it really easy to tune out from work the second my day is over.  I do read the work emails that come in on my phone, but it's definitely not often nor terribly intrusive.  

    But as people, we gotta start stepping back from being overworked, for sure.  I sometimes look at housecats and realize they probably have figured out how to work this "being alive" thing better than most of us.

    •  I often say to my cats as I'm leaving for work.. (10+ / 0-)

      ..." Ok guys, make sure to take a lot of naps today while I'm out sweating.  That way you'll be fresh and alert when you start making a racket at 3AM."

      I can see Canada from my house. No, really, I can.

      by DuzT on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 08:58:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sadly, this: (3+ / 0-)
      But as people, we gotta start stepping back from being overworked, for sure.
      is not a matter of choice for too many people. Widespread job insecurity, people who do have jobs doing the work of 2 or more people due to the corporate greed of downsizing,  people running around from 2 -3 jobs just to get by because most jobs for working class people don't pay a living wage anymore.

      There's a lot a things that have contributed to all of this, but the 40 year war on unions (helped along by complacent union leadership) and making it virtually impossible for workers to form unions today is a huge part of it.

      If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On".

      by Oaktown Girl on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 10:57:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Im working (0+ / 0-)

        A double shift waiting tables, because I am the only one dumb enough to show up.  Since most of our nighttime employees are kids, they are not coming in, and they don't care if they lose their jobs.  And they will keep them anyway, because even though unemployment is high, very few 'acceptable' candidates are applying.  

        I have had several family friends who were unemployed.  They all swear up and down they will stay unemployed, even when the money runs out, then work in restaurants.

        So I will make a lot of money today by my puny standards.  Probably still isn't enough for Mittens to even blow his nose with.

        The Tea Party: Because why should facts get in the way of some good paranoia!

        by magicman3315 on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 12:47:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Few unions because no worse alternative. (0+ / 0-)

        Unions don't seem to be providing much in the way of carrots for companies, such as better trained employees in a lot of jobs unlike ye olde trade-guilds. And there are no sticks, since the employees, union or otherwise, tend to just grumble and bear it instead of resorting to direct actions with significant negative corporate outcomes.

        -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

        by JPax on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 01:19:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  But another contribution (0+ / 0-)

        has been the willingness by some of these same people to listen without question to the demonization of unions. Reagan's breakup of the air traffic controllers' union was widely applauded.  It mattered not what Reagan did; he was a 'regular guy' and could tell a good joke and that's all that mattered.

        Politicians and predatory employers got a very clear message and their response was and is:

        "we can do anything we want to you and you'll buy our spin unquestioningly. You'll kiss the hand that beats you and sooner or later you'll wonder why your children will have a lower standard of living than you but not to worry -- we'll just blame the 'socialists' and 'liberals' for it, and you'll buy that one too."

    •  ssmt, you have that "ideal" work from home (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ssmt

      situation-especially so with regards a start up- with the (wonderful) ability to:

      That said, I'm finding it really easy to tune out from work the second my day is over.  I do read the work emails that come in on my phone, but it's definitely not often nor terribly intrusive
      My spouse has worked from home for over a decade helping create & launch several start ups & then as a contractual employee for a specific time after they were sold.  

      During the start up phase-no matter how lengthy-my spouse had much more flexibility in the amount of time chained to desk/computer/phone/conference calls.

      Seems that once a corporate entity takes over, the whole dynamic changes.  At least thus far with my spouse's experiences-working from home does not equal  "my day is over".  More like 24/7 on call due to accomondating international phone conference times or the off time business hours of customers or hair on fire scenerios.

      For quality of life, I wish my spouse had your ability to "tune it out" or "escape" ....

      Always on or working is a pitfall that many who work exclusively from home struggle to manage, I would imagine.  Sounds like you have found a balance.

      Congrats & all the best on your permanent position-it is exciting isn't it?!

      •  I worry about that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        worldlotus

        Eventually if the start up takes off, it'll be interesting to see what happens when it grows and the culture inevitably changes.  My main goal is to a) pay down some bills b) enjoy the far superior health insurance they offer and c) gain some good experience.  If a job ultimately eats up all my free time, I'm not scared to look elsewhere...and partly because I'm generally can live on a smaller income (no kids, no spouse, frugal lifestyle)

        Best of luck to your spouse.  It's a tough balancing act because at the same time, you also want to do a good job and show a work ethic.

  •  "You shouldn't complain." (17+ / 0-)

    "You're lucky to HAVE a job."

    I have a hard time not spinning around and walking out when I hear that. There was a time just a few years ago, when that would have been possible.

    Here is the truth: The Earth is round; Saddam Hussein did not attack us on 9/11; Elvis is dead; Obama was born in the United States; and the climate crisis is real. It is time to act. - Al Gore

    by Burned on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 08:09:36 AM PDT

    •  I know, whining about being employed----- (11+ / 0-)

      My husband's hours were cut back dramatically. We lost 250$ a month, and yet he was bringing his work home with him to do on our computer, sometimes well into the wee hours.

      Yep, we knew were A-hem lucky by the standards of no job at all.

      But I don't feel bad in saying that it made problems for our marriage, it stressed him out a lot, and our kids missed seeing their father in some situation that didn't involve him cursing at the computer at midnight.

      •  What I hate most about that is that (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rbird, Oaktown Girl, worldlotus, Arakiba

        Most people, at least most people I know, don't care if they have a job, they care if they have enough money to live, and preferably to live with some modicum of comfort.  I've hated every job I've had and I expect to continue hating the jobs that I get.  I could care less about the useless work all of these jobs want from me.  I just want a place to live, some food and drink, a bike and some art supplies.  If I could figure out how to do those things without a job, although I'm fine with doing hard work for them, then I would be perfectly happy.

        I think this is one of those things that politicians miss often, people really don't care about jobs except in that if they don't have one then they don't have money.

        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 10:44:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I like having a job. I have one right now (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wordene, AoT, Oaktown Girl

          I am the Stay At Home Mom and the Teacher.

          I liked having jobs outside the home before. I like feeling a part of the community, and earning my own cash.

          That being said, a living wage, affordable comprehensive healthcare and affordable housing would go a long way in this country, to helping people achieve the good life. Which I believe is more important that just being wealthy.

        •  I understand what you are saying (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Arakiba, AoT

          It's the ego of the 1% that says we are "jealous" of them, and that the Occupy movement is about "the politics of envy". That's total bullshit.

          All we want from them (the 1%) is to get their damn boots off our necks so we can have a decent quality of life. You know, radical things like a living wage, sick leave, 2 measly weeks vacation a year, and access to decent affordable health care.

          If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On".

          by Oaktown Girl on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 11:02:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I love my job. I always have, I would do it for (0+ / 0-)

          free.  Of course, I am lucky enough to have gone to college and found a career in exactly the field I dreamed of working in. Some are not as fortunate.  Those who do get the chance and waste it, make me angry....because there are so many who would give their right arm to be in their place.  I know...I see it every day.  

          That being said, I think sometimes it is really about "hope".  Even when I waited tables in college or worked for 4 dollars an hour cleaning barn stalls in the 100 degree Texas sun in high school.....I still loved my jobs, because I always knew or had "hope" that I would not have to do it forever.  At the time, it was a means to an end....my education being the end and I was happy to do it.  

          As I've aged and become more and more progressive in how I think, I see how lucky I was to have been able to enjoy my job regardless of the unfairness of having to do it for so little pay and other benefit.  Laws should change to make workers have that "hope".   It is not the work you hate but the fact that it benefits you not in the least or you wouldn't hate it. My crappy jobs helped pay for my education, something I coveted more than my own breath....so I was there early and stayed late and worked weekends….and did anything and everything my bosses asked of me.   It was a means to an end.

      •  When I started on the laptop pilot team (0+ / 0-)

        at a new job in '94, we all kept thinking that when we got used to the program, the hours after work would cut down.  18 months or so later, my daughter could completely mimic the sequence of key strokes I had to go through when one of the built in problems would be triggered - including a compilation of comments I would make while doing it. I took that laptop to band concerts, sports meets, and any other school event I could type and pay some attention to, in addition to evenings. at home. Since it wasn't that common then, the kids had issues...

        4 years later, different agency, new pilot team. I developed a tracking form for the different problems we were finding to get an idea how frequently, why and time wasted. 6 months later the agency signed a merger deal with the other agency I had left. I went to a supervisory position and kept the laptop to take that work home for 6 months, when the merger was completed and I transfered back to hospital care.

        3 other office jobs involved up to 60 hours most weeks. By that time, the hospitals were limiting overtime but looking the other way when employees clocked out and went back to finish documentation.

        The stress wiped out my health, employment and financial security followed quickly.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 08:55:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm retired... (16+ / 0-)

    ...but since I was a traffic engineer, ever traffic signal in Chicago I pass reminds me of my work.

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 08:35:28 AM PDT

  •  Hell. I'm posting from the office. n/t (5+ / 0-)
  •  I am on my way to work right now. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DuzT, worldlotus, Tonga 23

    I did recently sit down and figure out all my hours and I work 10 hours a day 7 days a week. Now, some of that is from home and most of it I really enjoy but it is in no way time off.

    I'm self employed.

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

    by ZenTrainer on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 08:42:06 AM PDT

  •  I had no idea that percentage would be (15+ / 0-)

    that high.

    Very well-done diary about work or lack thereof and stress levels.

    I'm pretty sure I'm not imagining this but back in the sixties and seventies there were many studies about the relationship between health and stress and particularly work and stress.  That's changed a lot from the eighties onward with the overwork and the causes of much stress being shifted to toughness and over-achievement becoming a virtue.

    I'm glad to see you giving this attention because the current climate is going to accelerate the number and degree of health and mental problems and more people are going to have a really rough time as they age keeping up, if they aren't fired after fifty because they've slowed down or their physical and mental health has been impaired.

    But this is the time our leaders are talking about further raising retirement ages, reducing benefits for both social security and medicare, cutting public and private pensions where they still exist.

    We are not a healthy nation culturally or physically now and apparently becoming less so.  We're in for a world of hurt, quite literally, if the austerity measures continue unabated.

    99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

    by blueoasis on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 08:45:18 AM PDT

  •  It started with pagers. (9+ / 0-)

    Then cell phones and now smart phones.  We are too connected to be able to break free and have a break from work.  I prefer e-mail because it gives an opportunity to consider the reply and edit it before hitting send.

    •  We need a class action to nail employers for (10+ / 0-)

      unpaid overtime, coercion, and unpaid taxes.

    •  i am almost (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JPax, Tonga 23, denise b

      universally mocked by my friends for not having a "smartphone" or even any cell phone...but what you say above is one of the reasons why i don't.

      for years i worked for a progressive political group and it was badge of honor to work until your eyeballs fell out. depending on where we were in the political cycle i'd work anywhere from 40-70 hours a week, and i was on the low end of the spectrum in my office. i did love my job and the co-workers, but the "we must work all the time or we suck" attitude drove me a little nuts some times.  

      when my first wife died i took more than two and a half years off (had three very young kids at home and knew that periods of my working until past their bedtimes prolly wasn't what they needed). i wound up finding a job with that's 7:30-4:30 mon-fri. with an hour for lunch. or, what we used to call a half day at my old job. (rimshot!) the culture is so different. if i stick around until 4:45 to finish some work up, i'm very often the last person left in the office. yes, the money's not great (though the benefits are pretty gold-plated). i know i could find work that pays more. but the job is secure. i get home by 5:00 most days, in time to take my baby for a walk, make dinner. some people i work with do check email and voice mail from home, but i'm not one of them. i'm on vacation this week and i haven't even thought about checking voice or email. i'm lucky.

      the overworking of our people is just sickening, both in the literal and metaphorical senses...

    •  We're all now slaves to the market and our (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BabeInTotalControlofHerself

      smartphones are our tethers.

  •  This makes the stagnant wage picture even worse (14+ / 0-)

    Think about it -- that 7 hours per week figure translates into 350 hours per year of work that the tech-tethered employee is not paid for. Say the employee makes $50,000 a year, which is about $25 bucks an hour. 350 hours x $25 an hour = $8,750 worth of work that is getting done and not going to the employee. So not only are people not getting raises, they are effectively being cheated out of the extra hours they are putting in. So who benefits from all this increased productivity? Hmmmm...

    •  It's a great point (4+ / 0-)

      Increased productivity is what's happening in the U.S.  And, you can bet this quasi-O.T. people are working is a big contributor to that.  

      This is also stealing jobs away from us as well, if you think about it.

      The truth is sometimes very inconvenient.

      by commonsensically on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 10:39:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hadn't even thought that far but you're right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JPax

        Pool together 6 people who work a combined 2100 extra hours a year and that equals a full-time job for a 7th person. But, since that 7th person stays on the sidelines, that's another person who is possibly drawing unemployment and/or not paying as much in taxes, social security, medicare, etc. The ripple effect is disastrous.

      •  The Great Speedup - Mother Jones (0+ / 0-)

        http://www.motherjones.com/...

        There are arguments against it, of course. Depending on the job, you may be speeding up or slowing down, because some job activities are more fungible than others. Either way it's not good for America.

        -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

        by JPax on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 01:34:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Damn, I'd do almost anything to make $25 an hour (0+ / 0-)

      And yes, I have a college degree. But this is what we get for shipping so many white collar jobs our of the country and cutting taxes on the wealthy so state governments are brook and have to slash services (and therefore jobs).

      It works well for the 1%, at least in the short term. People like me are "lucky" for our low wage job with no benefits and don't make a fuss because there's no union to protect us and we'll get fired if we try to form one.

      Eventually the unbridled greed of the 1% will catch up with them, but they'll no doubt just double down on the police state (which will mostly be privatized by then).  Because actually being less selfish, mean-spirited, greedy, and ignorant couldn't possibly be an option.

      If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On".

      by Oaktown Girl on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 11:16:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It even hits blue-collar workers (9+ / 0-)

    For several years, my spouse could leave work totally behind at the end of the day -- he never had to bring work home. (I would occasionally bring home some paperwork, but would mostly just go into the office on a Saturday to do it, especially if he took a Saturday run so he could have Sundays/Mondays off during a quarter.) But in the latter part of his career, the DMV added additional reporting requirements, and he had to keep a log book which of course had to be done at home. I think that more than anything contributed to his joy at retirement last October.

    Mitt Romney: the Etch-A-Sketch candidate in the era of YouTube

    by Cali Scribe on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 08:54:31 AM PDT

  •  I found out yesterday that I have to work today (8+ / 0-)

    "Oh you had plans?"  Too bad.  Change 'em."
    I work outside.  Heat index today expected to reach 108F.

    I can see Canada from my house. No, really, I can.

    by DuzT on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 08:55:12 AM PDT

  •  When I started in the "work force" people worked (5+ / 0-)

    9 - 5 almost to the minute. And I worked for a company contracted to IBM in White Plains, NY. These were people working for one of the most successful companies in the world at the time.

    What ever happened to that concept and where are we going with this?

    Thing is, ironically I blame a lot of it on the home computer IBM helped invent. But fact is, the 'wired evolution' was inevitable just the same and I think this new 'wired-ness' some how tapped into the human subconscious survival instinct -- work constantly to survive or die.

    Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

    by Pescadero Bill on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 09:47:02 AM PDT

    •  I recall seeing a news report (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AnnCetera, worldlotus

      in the 1980s about how the Japanese were working themselves to death. It showed a lot of businessmen nodding off on trains.

      According to this chart, we were equal in 2003:

      http://www.nationmaster.com/...

      BTW, I work almost 60 hours per week, 52 weeks per year. I would be bored silly with that workload!

      "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

      by CFAmick on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 10:03:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The boogeyman works harder for less pay (7+ / 0-)

    Heaven forbid that actual productivity matters.  Workers overall are more productive than they've ever been.  The reward for all this productivity?  More work.

  •  I started a new policy (6+ / 0-)

    When I am on vacation I leave my work phone at home. (i keep work and personal separate.) This spring when i was on vacation I called to check in at work at 4:45pm the Friday before I was due back just to see if there were any fires.

    I put in 56 hours last week and routinely work 48 hours a week. I eat lunch at my desk 90% of the time. So when I have time off I make sure it is MY TIME.

    I've recently come to the conclusion that my job needs me far more than I need them.

    The Spice must Flow!

    by Texdude50 on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 09:50:26 AM PDT

  •  Welcome to Globalization. nt (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oaktown Girl, worldlotus

    Not blaming Bush for the mess we're in, is like not blaming a train engineer for a fatal train wreck because he's no longer driving the train.

    by JML9999 on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 10:33:47 AM PDT

  •  I check my work email at 6 am (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus

    and my last check of the day is usually around 1 am.  (It's actually amazing how much comes in between 1 and 6).  I work from home, and work basically takes up the whole day...but so do all my other computer-based activities.  I'm on the computer either in my office or living room (my office is a separate building 20 feet from home) from the time I get home from the gym at 10 or 11 am until I got to bed at 12 or 1, with a break from 6-9 to see my family, make dinner, etc.  But throughout that time I'm checking home email, reading blogs, researching good restaurants, etc.

    One key thing though is that I love my job, every single second that I'm here.  For 5 years now.

    But I am trying hard to be better about separating work and life.  I'd love to be more efficient at work, and only can be when I shut down the internet to focus on work.  I'd love to focus better in general on what I'm doing at the moment.  I'm pretty good when I'm with the kids about not getting distracted, but can always be better.

    "What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them"

    by ItsJessMe on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 10:38:56 AM PDT

  •  I had a conversation with (5+ / 0-)

    an old friend a couple of weeks back. His company had offered everyone in the department a free iphone ... he was the only person to say "no thanks" ... at the time everyone was laughing at him.
    His boss had a word and my friend replied that if they wanted him back on 24 hour callout then he'd take a raise and the iphone ... word got around he'd said this and several weeks later he's the hero since all the dumbasses who were bought off with a shiny new iphone are being texted, reading emails during family times and wholly owned by the company 24/7 for free.

    Avoiding Theocracy at Home and Neo Cons Abroad

    by UniC on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 10:43:57 AM PDT

    •  "He who sacrifices freedom for an iPhone deserves (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UniC

      neither" --Benjamin Franklin

      Well, he should have said it. Wait, he kinda did.

      Which reminds me, Conervatives often misquote or misparaphrase it too, as "he who sacrifices freedom for safety deserve neither". Ben originally wrote "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power." which is very relatable to employment.

      This later became, "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." which the neocons like to say, ignoring the part where Ben refers to "essential" liberty and "temporary" safety, Perhaps allowing us to conclude that permanent safety and/or non-essential liberty may be exchangeable. But I digress.

      -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

      by JPax on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 01:53:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  In fairness, though, I do a lot of personal stuff (0+ / 0-)

    at work. It's an office job, though. The lines have blurred both ways, I think.

    •  I'm afraid yours is the exception (0+ / 0-)

      Most people now have very little down time because employers have cut back staff so much to pad their profits, they are doing the work that used to be done by 2 or more people.

      You are definitely in a better situation than most.

      If "elitist" just means "not the dumbest motherfucker in the room", I'll be an elitist! - David Rees from "Get Your War On".

      by Oaktown Girl on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 11:21:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I recall being told that salary means more hours (0+ / 0-)

      since you're paid to get the job done and need to work as long as it takes to get it done, without overtime pay, as opposed to people who get paid hourly and only work for that timeframe.

      I sure was surprised one I got a salaried job and my boss told me to calculate my overtime. I was dumbfounded. Wish I had that job now.

      -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

      by JPax on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 01:56:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My father always made it a point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, Tonga 23

    to leave work behind when he came home.  I have tried to do the same, but it's not always possible anymore.

    For years I was happy to work extra time because the place I worked was run by people who were kind and humane, and it worked both ways - when my mother way dying they sent me off and never mentioned sick days or docked my pay - they just said, 'Of couse you have to go."

    About 5 years ago things began to change, new bosses played favorites, drove out the business manager so they could cancel the pension plan (leading to some serious protests that got everyone a slightly better deal) and began to nickel and dime us on everything.  Then they fired a woman who was on sick leave for over a year (she's got them in court).  Now I come and go right on time.  Except in the rarest of circumstances I say. 'sorry, I have an appointment, or have to baby sit' or some other excuse.  The nature of my contract is such that if I work more than 40 hours a week, I have to be paid overtime, so they've pretty much stopped asking.

    Of course, I have one year to retirement, which helps too.  When I retire I want to work to unionize the place (and some other similar places) to help the folks left behind.

  •  I often work 10 hour days as norm (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laura Wnderer, Tonga 23

    plus I'm oncall 24/7/365.
    If I come in early to leave early, I often stay just as late as when I don't come in early.
    I've had stress for years. I can't remember the last stretch where I didn't.
    I average one trip a year to the doctor, to get a weeks worth of medicine to help me sleep, once the stress builds up so much I cant turn off the thinker.
    mostly economic related, be it job security, health or housing.
    land of the free, home of the brave, or something.

    "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein

    by pickandshovel on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 11:06:26 AM PDT

  •  This is the probably-inevitable result of (0+ / 0-)

    cell phone culture (and add on top of that BlackBerries, i-Everything, etc.).

  •  Same here (0+ / 0-)

    After being unemployed for about 17 months - a job found me.
    It pays $2,060 less per month than the last job and I am eternally grateful to have it. The 'culture' in the office is supportive and it is amazing to work for a company with about 1,000 employees and 3/4 of them are women.

    The other company where I made a ton of money was led by men with cut-throat habits. Reminder - don't ask where the million $ went. They won't care.

    I am thinking about picking up 1 day a week working at a friends consignment shop - that will pick up the weekly petrol cost.

  •  Working on software. (0+ / 0-)

    "Days off" are sometimes the only time I can get things done without interruption (except for reading DailyKos!).

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 11:08:16 AM PDT

  •  Once Again (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PapaChach, Late Again, denise b

    as in so many other ways - compared to people with dignity in other western democracies - Americans are exploited, used, abused, held hostage and are forced to bow to their corporate overlords in so many ways - that it is sickening, pathetic and cruel.  Cell phone companies.  Cable Companies.  Utility Companies.  Health Insurance Companies.  Other insurers - cars, homeowners.  Employers -"at will" with no protections for gays - no unions, etc.  

    It is an astonishing development to this American - the son of a Steelworker, who grew up in the '50's & '60's - who was a member of AFSCME as a state employee, who fought for protections against working off-the-clock (pretty much common practice at many state agencies in the '80's) and who took advantage of Family Sick Leave when my mother was dying, etc.

    I am astonished at what is going on in the American workplace.  The dignity of workers and the integrity of the workplace are being violated all the time.  

    •  I am off to the VA (0+ / 0-)

      for a Cardiac Rehab Program appointment.  I just re-read my post.  It hits me and I cry.  It always hits me that hard.  And I am personally ok - small retirement, disability (total under 2M monthly - but I can pay my bills, including a nice little Hyunda Elantra payment ea month.  I cry for so many good people.  The long-term unemployed are especially hurt/harmed.  It is so deeply sad,.

  •  Working on computer today... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster

    "Days off" sometimes are the only time I can get things done without interruption. Gotta quit surfing the internet...

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 11:09:53 AM PDT

  •  Consumerism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JPax

    is based on saving money and reducing expenditures.. Coupons. discounts. Wally World. A "deal". Cutting taxes. Etc. And the media blitzes America with this 24/ 7...

    Meanwhile, most Americans don't stop to ask why they are not making more money? After all, if people were making more money, they would not be looking for cheap stuff or worrying about taxes, because they would have enough money to not be as affected by cost of living.

    And practically no Americans stop to wonder why, back in the Eisenhower era, families could do well on a single income. What happened? Reagan, and the advent of GOP (failed) fiscal policies, like trickle down (or pee on my leg, as I like to call it). Few Americans have actually looked at the GOP fiscal track record since Reagan. If they did they would see a pattern - when the GOP is in office, the debt goes up, income stays flat, and the American economy sinks into a malaise. But when a Democrat is President, the reverse happens. And no Republican is going to want to answer to eisenhower, who led this country out of war into a booming economy, with taxes of up to 90% on the super rich. But America thrived under Ike, but has failed under every Repub. president since then.

    America should be asking itself that question - why am I not not enough money to comfortably support my family? Why is my income staying flat? What happened to my pay raises and benefits? Where did the good jobs go to? And, frankly, these questions should be asked of every Republican candidate. Don't look at why you have to search for lower prices. Look for why you aren't making enough money.

    "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

    by azureblue on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 11:18:37 AM PDT

    •  to be fair, they had coupons back then too. (0+ / 0-)

      The savings doesn't necessarily have to come out of the pay of the employes who work for the place offering the coupon. It could come out of the profit after overhead is subtracted.

      The problem is that now profit is the most important thing. They support this position by claiming it helps the stock market and that the stock market is all-important because everyone's got their retirement stuck in it. If deferring savings in that manner worked well, then perhaps it wouldn't be a bad thing, but they manipulate the market both legitimately and criminally and steal that deferred savings and investments leaving the American worker with nothing.

      -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

      by JPax on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 02:12:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm spending most of the day... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    calwatch

    in my office at work.  As a public servant who has seen our department decimated by budget cuts, I have no other option.  Of course our management is off having a grand old time with their families.  I'm a county attorney who is faced with statutory deadlines.  Budget cuts are not taken into account in the furtherance of justice.
    However, I hope you all have a wonderful birthday.  :-)  

  •  Guilty as charged! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonga 23

    How ironic was it that this was posted to the front page just after I had fired up the company-owned laptop to check how systems and processes are flowing in my physical absence from work.  I have to honestly admit that thoughts of unemployment not only keep me in the position I currently have, but also in having barely a second-thought about checking in on things back at work on this "off" day.
    Another motivating factor is to not have to "resort" to the menial/manual labor effort which comprised most of my father's work life.  I promised myself from a very early age that I would try to work with the grey matter between my ears than the muscles between my arms.  That is not to say that there is anything wrong with physical labor in general, just that I don't want to waste the education I've had and the sacrifices made by my parents to have this kind of life.

    -8.88, -7.77 Social Security as is will be solvent until 2037, and the measures required to extend solvency beyond that are minor. -- Joe Conanson

    by wordene on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 11:25:41 AM PDT

  •  when i sold cars - something i did because i (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    potatohead, JPax

    thought it would be fun - it was, dealing with finding the right match for the client - BUT... i was appalled to see the employer abuse in the car industry by owners/managers who simply DECIDED that all salepersons (leaving out a few "favorites" at some dealerships) would have to work every major holiday.

    why?  because OTHER people had the day off and surely they would want to spend that day looking at new cars instead of with their families!

    one year, the owner of one dealership decided that easter would be a great day to be open, bullied the employees into coming in (under not so subtle threat of firing) - promised to "buy us lunch".  well, he didn't and not a single food establishment was open in the area AND not a single customer walked into the dealership.  we were fully staffed all day with no food and no "extra overtime" pay because many dealerships claim auto salespersons are "independent contractors".

    look at the businesses that are open:  supermarkets, auto dealers, select stores (walmarts, etc.) and know that the salespersons working these holidays are NOT there by their "choice".

    we really have an abusive environment for employees who are on the lower wage scale.

    •  State law here: Dealership must be closed Sunday. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      edrie

      Some think it's a religious thing, and that may be the reason they selected Sunday, but it was small dealerships claiming that large dealerships could find enough people to work that day and small/independent dealers would never get a day off.

      -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

      by JPax on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 02:16:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ah, blue laws. don't like those either! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JPax

        i never wanted someone else's "religious beliefs" telling me what to do and when.

        my beef with the dealership is the greed of the owners and managers who, themselves, take those holidays off (after a brief face showing" while leaving the employees sitting there with no customers!

        i don't EVER remember selling a car on such major holidays and the few folks who did wander in did so out of curiosity because we were actually open!

        now, the christmas eve and new year's eve shoppers who kept my manager and i at the dealership negotiating the "giveaway" they wanted only to have them walk out and not come back for a few days to see if they could get us further down - those folks i hold great disdain toward.  one jackass who had once before cost me a sale because of a microscopic scratch we offered to fix (after days and hours of "negotiating" did exactly that on christmas eve - held us there until 11:30pm and at the last second, walked.  he came back three days after christmas - and i gave a coworker half the sale to complete it because i might have just done something ugly if i had to face him again!  my manager had a family - he stayed along with me for that creep.

        the next time he showed up at the dealership, i walked off on him and told someone else to deal with him as i wouldn't.

        respect - it is sorely lacking in some people!

        •  oh, to qualify here - it isn't the "manager" that (0+ / 0-)

          stayed christmas eve about whom i was railing - it was the "general manager" of another dealership that i refer to... the one who would take the newest model car coming in - when we only were allotted one - and drive it around showing off for the first weeks of the model release - leaving us with no demo model or actual car.

          ugh.

          ego - that sums up abusive employers.

        •  I'm okay with blue laws to an extent, if it's good (0+ / 0-)

          for everyone in general, like having time off, as long as others who have different religious obligations are allowed to take time off too and they aren't required to do anything against their conscience other than not-work. Otherwise, we run the risk of people being overworked. Choosing a mandatory day off for non-essential services is one of the times when the majority should have its say under the concept of "the most good for the most people".

          -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

          by JPax on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 08:36:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  one way to enforce the mandatory day off is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JPax

            to enforce the triple overtime rule - after x amount of hours worked, people get overtime - and double time and more.  california redid the overtime laws to make it weekly instead of daily - and people are forced to work longer hours at a time without fair compensation.

            unions.  that is what they are good for!

            fair labor practices - unions!

  •  This diary describes me. (0+ / 0-)

    And I've got a big old, "whatever," for it.  My life is pretty good, even if I do work outside the office, answer emails at odd hours, and may do a little work today.

  •  Built-in Overtime (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    karmsy, JPax, Free Jazz at High Noon

    I'm an English teacher, which, by definition, means that there is no way that I can get both my classroom work and my grading done during my work hours. During the school year, in general, at least one complete weekend day is spent grading papers, if not both of them. And now that we have to collect data to prove that we're teaching effectively, there's even less time to plan effective lessons. Not to mention the amount of time that needs to be spent talking to parents and carefully crafting emails to parents. Oh, and did I say staying after school to help students?  

  •  I refuse to go along with it (0+ / 0-)

    I will not give my employer a cell number and the only e-mail address they have for me is the work one they gave me.

    I work from home three days a week and I have reached an understanding with them that I will work odd hours if it is needed, but never as overtime. I always take the time out of another day.

    I have a good job and my work is specialized enough they they couldn't just slot some random person into my job, so I'm not in a precarious position and I understand not everyone is so lucky.  However, I think there are more people who could, like me, just say no and survive it.  I wish more people would do so.

  •  Truer words than your last sentence (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonga 23, Free Jazz at High Noon

    were never spoken.

    Just this morning, I was stewing about a recent situation in which I was basically fired from a part-time job. The experience, while not completely unexpected, shook me up a bit. It keyed into old baggage  I carry around, about feeling like "a failure" and "dead weight." I lost a job I hated and felt thoroughly demoralized by, and was hanging on to strictly because I needed to pay rent. In many ways, I was relieved to have been separated from this employer, for good, even if I'm also a bit scared. I am continuing to ask the question: "Should I have worked harder than I did, to have saved this working relationship?"

    The answer I've come to, honestly, is no. Very much, I was being payed shit wages to do shit, dead-end work. That's about all you can say about it. Want to talk about my accountability to an employer? Want to talk about my responsibility to engage in the kind of personal follow-up and attention to detail I need to engage in, to make myself really valuable to an organization? Pay me decently. Either that, or give me basically decent and interesting work. There are jobs, including and especially part-time ones, that afford one or the other of these benefits. I'm going to pound the pavement to find one. Or give me work with some other redeeming quality, such as a real, manifest route to career advancement. Then we'll talk about what I need to do to to be a "good employee." Not before.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 12:21:38 PM PDT

  •  Commuting Is Work (0+ / 0-)

    Not only do I spend 8.5h (including lunchtime) a day at my NYC office, I spend 2-2.5h a day commuting back and forth (plus bonus hours when traffic multiplies the commute time). I am not paid for those commuting hours.

    Yet I spend them only because I'm working in that office. They are part of the job, not my personal life. They are among the worst parts of the job: dangerously navigating NYC bad drivers, working on something totally unrelated to what we do for our customers, and other than the danger a monotonous ritual repeated every day.

    I understand that from my employer's point of view, I spend those hours because I choose to live an hour away from the office. But of course that's mutual. So we should share the cost of the commute. I should be paid half of the commuting time, half the average legal drive time.

    Everyone should. This is a cost of the job that's externalized to the workers. That's one reason cities like NYC subsidize programmes like TransitCheck that pay public transit fees for commuters. The extra 25-30% of time I spend working (while driving) is also something like 25-30% of my personal time after sleeping that I lose to work.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Wed Jul 04, 2012 at 12:27:54 PM PDT

  •  I'm lucky (0+ / 0-)

    in that I have an employer who asks for volunteers to work on holidays -- I have to work most Monday holidays but get paid well for it; and I could get a Monday holiday off if I wanted to and planned ahead.  There's rarely if ever any shortage of volunteers for the extra pay; and we get two major  holidays off; no exceptions.

    However, I made the decision awhile back to not even apply for any position where I can't altogether forget about work after I go home.  But a lot of people, especially people with kids, can't afford to do that.  Unfortunately, they often give approval to this situation via voting for the very politicians who support the "right" of an employer to treat employees like property.  Every action has consequences.

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