Overtime (was Re: happy autoworkers)

C. Petersen ottilie at u.washington.edu
Sat Jul 11 10:36:42 PDT 1998

On Sat, 11 Jul 1998 MScoleman at aol.com wrote:

> In a message dated 98-07-11 00:46:40 EDT, carrol writes:
> << "[N]o, people who work 80 hours a week have no life," but they can sure
> become resentful (whether their 80 hours earns them $100,000 or nearer
> $10,000 a year) of anyone who is paraded before them as not being
> "responsible." This pervasive overwork (at varying rates of compensation)
> must be one of the material bases of succumbing to contempt/hatred/etc of
> unruly teenagers, teenage mothers, convicts living in luxury (!),
> pedophiles, arrogant women, blacks, drug dealers, immigrants, everyone who
> can be prsented as not responsible as they are. >>
> absolutely. There are a whole laundry list of issues which arise out of this
> very gender biased overtime/work/worth trap -- just a few:

Yeah. My dad worked most of his life at Boeing as a designer/engineer. They were and are always getting their people working up to 70 hours a week, often w/o overtime. At first, he would respond emotionally like you would with a friend who needs help, or at a small business, where he would expect to put some extra work in now and then be rewarded down the line. But Boeing has a really horrible management practice of only maintaining the absolute minimum number of employees at a time, with no foresight to try to even out the boom and bust periods in terms of numbers of airplane orders. So they are always quickly hiring 10,000 new mechanics and moving everyone up to 60+ hours per week, and then suddenly laying off 10,000 people a few months later. So my father has been laid off at least 4 times, and often they get rid of everyone over age 45 first in order to dodge paying pensions. I can't understand why this doesn't just cripple them because the most talented workers will eventually go somewhere else.

At Microsoft, they get people working insane hours. They usually hire people straight out of college when they're still used to studying and working over 60 hours per week, and then they simulate the college type of experience at the Microsoft 'campus' where they can dress how they want and there is all the free pop and juice that they want. But you'll hardly ever see anyone over age 50 there, and most of the younger employees don't have families. When people first come in, they work hard to prove themselves, and then the management takes that level of productivity as the employee's baseline, and constantly tries to get them to reach higher goals in succeeding months. They set deadlines and when they approach, they get their workers to bring in cots to sleep on so they never go home, and they work about 15 hours a day. Several of my friends work or used to work there, and they bring home $100,000 per year, but tend to burn out. cp

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