Working While At WDW Parks

Thursday, March 20, 2014 3:24 PM

Jeff said:

On the more hours != more results front, there are plenty of anecdotes as well as bona fide psychology and industrial research about why this is true.

And not one of those say productivity drops to 0 after some magical number.

The efficiency (see there's that word again) may be reduced, but productivity (with lesser returns) is still achieved.

Diminishing returns? Sure. Lack of returns. Not a chance.

So someone working 10 hours at their best absolutely creates more output than if they stopped at 8 or 6 or 5 or any number less than 10.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 3:31 PM

Of course it doesn't drop to zero. I wasn't arguing that. This has always been about the quality of life, as well as the cost incurred in both dollars and actual productivity (which the articles do address). It's not sustainable, for anyone, save for some exceptionally rare people.

My point stands, that working above and beyond in white collar work doesn't make anyone win beyond a small set of exceptions. If this were not true, then Europe would cease to exist and we wouldn't be outsourcing white collar work to developing economies.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 3:57 PM

Once, in a rare fit of flexibility, they gave us the opportunity to choose whether to work five 8 hour days or four 10 hour days. The total hours per week and the pay were the same. Would anyone like to guess which tour most of us chose? And, would anyone like to guess which tour the phone company deemed most productive in the end?

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 3:58 PM

Jeff said:

It's not sustainable, for anyone, save for some exceptionally rare people.

I don't think it's that easy to generalize. Too many variables in people, work and expectations.

My point stands, that working above and beyond in white collar work doesn't make anyone win beyond a small set of exceptions.

See, I think my point stands. We agree that someone working more hours creates more overall output than someone working less.

Quality of life is subjective. Cost of production may go up (although it's not hard to factor for the return and pay accordingly) and actual productivity per unit may decrease but forward progress is still happening.

Working more gets more done than working less. That is irrefutable.

Plus, the most complete study there was on blue collar work.

If this were not true, then Europe would cease to exist and we wouldn't be outsourcing white collar work to developing economies.

That escalated quickly.

I see it this way. There's a reason much of Europe still looks like it did 4oo year ago and why the US was a bastion of progress and productivity in the 20th century.

I don't think it's any coincedence that we're slowing while SE Asian countries like Korea and China that habor a more rigid, demanding and harder work life look like cities from the future compared to the rest of the world.

Working hard isn't inherently bad. It gets **** done.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:12 PM
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Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:24 PM

Some people working more hours create more overall value. Some people working more hours are not, but can point to all the hours they put in as proof of their worth to the company.

Last edited by slithernoggin, Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:26 PM
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Thursday, March 20, 2014 4:41 PM

Perhaps more related to the topic at hand, in my experience, most of the time, the idea that one's contribution is absolutely, unavoidably necessary while on vacation is bogus. Most people choose to believe they are that important for ego reasons or choose not to say no because they're afraid to draw boundaries and stick up for themselves, but I propose most of the "absolutely necessary" work isn't really. People can surely choose to do work on vacation, but for the most part, I don't buy the line, "I to do work on vacation."

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 5:15 PM

ApolloAndy said:

for the most part, I don't buy the line, "I to do work on vacation."

In fairness, I would argue that anyone who says that probably needs sleep.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 5:19 PM

I agree with Andy and slithernoggin, and would add that it's the whole thing about "visibility" at some companies, which also adds no value. Microsoft was rampant in that in certain orgs, fueled by the silly stack ranking they used to do. Not coincidentally, those were also the people who made PowerPoints and status reports all day.

Lord Gonchar said:
I don't think it's that easy to generalize. Too many variables in people, work and expectations.

Actually, it is easy to generalize, based on history and the psychology. Read the articles, especially the one from Salon. It's all there.

I see it this way. There's a reason much of Europe still looks like it did 4oo year ago and why the US was a bastion of progress and productivity in the 20th century.

The US has no history beyond two and a half centuries, so I'm not sure what "look" you're talking about. Again, read the Salon article. Even in war time, at the height of our industrial prowess, we knew that 40 hour work weeks were optimal.

I don't think it's any coincedence that we're slowing while SE Asian countries like Korea and China that habor a more rigid, demanding and harder work life look like cities from the future compared to the rest of the world.

Apparently you haven't read about companies like Foxconn, because that just ain't true. Besides, you're talking about work no one here wants to do because they think they deserve $15/hour to do it. That's a different problem. Cities like Seattle, Austin and Cambridge are full of awesome and growth, and it has nothing to do with the number of hours people are putting in.

Another angle is that there's a generational problem where our culture believes having an expensive car and a McMansion are ultimately the symbols of success. We saw where that got us in the housing bust. Fortunately, the younger generations are seeing through that now, preferring a sane balance between hard work and life, stronger urbanization, etc. Those kids are going to be our bosses before you know it.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 5:20 PM

Go Bucks, "Doctors make their own schedule?" Actually that was done only by creating call and relying on partners, because people get sick 24-7 and someone has to be available to take care of them. Doctors are as much "reactors" as lawyers.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 5:23 PM

Not really. An ER doctor has a schedule, and calls in consulting doctors as necessary, who are also on a schedule. Unless you're a transplant doctor and really specialized, you can switch off and disconnect.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 5:32 PM

When Moody's affirmed its negative outlook on France's government debt it noted this in support of its decision: "continued reduction in the competitiveness of the French economy, which risks lowering its long term growth prospects."

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 5:57 PM

I've never had a job important enough to even remotely be needed outside of regular expectations.

My better half is responsible for a business that is open 24/7 365 days a year. Her job duty is to make sure the hotel operates.

Flat out, that involves being accessible to some degree 24 hours a day, every day of the year for the past 15 years.

Are there other people that can handle things in her abscence? Yes. Usually. Are there always going to be exceptions when something absolutely needs her immediate attention? Yes. Usually.

Those of you afraid of the perceived horror of 8+ hour workday would be absolutely appalled by the stories I could tell. But I can't think of very many times in the past 15 years where that kind of connection hasn't resulted in forward progress or somehow made things less productive.

Is taking an hour in the evening (or on vacation) to work on a schedule or take care of emails somehow less productive than shutting off, forgetting work exists and getting back to it the next day? Of course not. But it sure feels like some of you are arguing that it is.

I wonder how many truly great things happened as a result of a 40 hour workweek. Did Steve Jobs work 40 hours a week creating Apple? Did Einstein quietly turn off his brain at 5pm every day? Did the Wright Brothers close up shop at the end of the day and head off to maintain work/life balance leaving thoughts of the flying machine for another time at the risk of lowered productivity?

And no, I'm not arguing that trudging along in middle management is the same as the work of Einstein.

There's no doubt that many of the examples here of feeling necessary when not, or putting in facetime or reduced productivity are absolutely true and just.

But it's just not always the case. Plenty of people are able to do plenty and do it for as long as they feel they need to. Maybe someone doesn't need to work on vacation, but maybe doing it gives them a sense of value and worth and without that, they'd actually be less productive during a shorter work day because they didn't feel that same sense of importance? You know, morale. Imagine that - building morale and self worth through more and/or harder work. What a concept!

It's just not as cut and dry as some of you want to believe.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, March 20, 2014 6:15 PM
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Thursday, March 20, 2014 7:31 PM

I don't know if I'm included in the "some of you" but I'm certainly not arguing that productivity doesn't go up as hours go up (maybe with diminishing returns). What I do find disconcerting is that more and more companies demand 24/7/365 availability when there's no reason for it and workers accept it as necessary when it really isn't. Does it positively affect the bottom line for the shareholders? Yes. Does it negatively affect the worker and his/her quality of life? Also yes.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 7:50 PM

^Exactly. So many companies demand 24/7/365 availability when it's not necessary.

The last time I worked in a cube farm -- I don't want to name the company, but it rhymes with "lickit faster" and they sell tickets -- they wanted hourly employees to be available on that 24/7/365 schedule, but they would only pay a 40 hour work week.

I left -- I value my time and talents. The company ended up with so many employees who were not as productive.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 7:58 PM

Especially in technology, we have all kinds of assholes who think they're Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, and I'm certain most will die lonely and penniless. You can quote all kinds of anecdotes and exceptions, probably all day long, but the history and research I quoted is pretty conclusive to me, and aligns well with the broad spectrum of places I've worked, from local small business to giant public companies.

And seeing as how many workers accept the insane hours in the current #1 growth profession (software developers), despite the fact that it is most certainly a seller's market where even moderately adequate people hold all of the cards, I'd say it's definitely a cultural problem, because it ain't the economics of the situation.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014 8:51 PM

Another thing about being in technology, and part of why I don't mind working a little when I'm supposed to be on vacation, is that there are some days that things are completely dead and there are no projects and everything is seemingly working. Those days, work is slow, and I have time for CoasterBuzz. So, I'm salaried for 40 hours of work, and I'm at the office for 40+ hours, but not all of those hours at the office are spent working 100% of the time.

I guess it all evens out, in my mind.

Last edited by Raven-Phile, Thursday, March 20, 2014 8:52 PM
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Friday, March 21, 2014 6:23 AM

I've been thinking about using the following as my "away message" when I go on vacation next month:

I'm out of the office. I'm not going to read this email or respond to it. If it is still relevant after <X> when I get back, send it to me then. If it is an emergency call <my assistant> at <her number>, and she will know how to get in touch with me if necessary.

I'm not sure I want to be that aggressive, and the rest of the leadership team has my cell if they need it so it's not like I'd be cut off. But...it's tempting.

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Friday, March 21, 2014 7:53 AM

Seems to me that's a message that plays better/worse depending on the job, company/institution and industry. Though if you read between the lines with what a lot of out of office notices say, they are saying essentially the same thing only not as directly. And often times there is no difference in what actually happens when people are out on vacation and your proposed notice. So if there an advantage to the softer sell (limited ability to check messages -- which I always read as no ability to check messages) that gets you to the same place as the more aggressive approach which negates the advantage of the aggressive approach.

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Friday, March 21, 2014 9:48 AM

For my next cruise: "I'm on a boat."

/me drops mouse and walks away

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Friday, March 21, 2014 9:52 AM

People will thus assume you are too sick to do any work. :)

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