posted on Dec, 28 2008 @ 12:31 AM
I suggest that anyone interested in working less should look into a concept known as the "Five Day Weekend."
The idea originated as sort of a PR campaign in North Carolina, and was proposed as a tongue-in-cheek idea. However, it gained popularity and is now
considered feasible by some people.
There are several smaller ideas that make up the concept:
1. Work "expands" to fill the time allotted to get it done. In other words, if you have a task that takes an hour but you're given two hours to get
it done, you'll take two hours. This makes it seem like we need all five workdays to get our jobs done - the simple fact that we're used to having
five days. If we only gave ourselves two days, we'd get it done in that much time.
2. People should be paid based on performance, and not time worked. In other words, if it takes you two hours to get your one hour of work done,
you'd still get paid for an hours' worth of work. After all, that's all you were assigned. Under the "Five day weekend" model, you'd get paid
significantly more to maximize your efficiency... and therefor, you would.
Since there's no real way to regulate such a pay system, a more realistic system might be to use profit sharing and commission to compensate
employees for their work. Frequent job evaluations could determine monthly bonuses as well, to ensure that nobody is coasting on other peoples'
3. With 3 extra days of leisure time each week, people would have more time to unwind from their work and then pursue the enjoyable side of life. Job
satisfaction, and therefor job performance, would be increased exponentially. Imagine the worst job you ever had - now imagine you got a 5 day
vacation at that job every week. A person who likes their job will usually do it much better than a person who does not.
4. The additional free time will give people the opportunity to engage in personal investments more often - boosting the overall productivity of
society. Most people spend their weekends catching up on home chores and then unwinding from their busy schedules. Before their mind can get a chance
to focus on other pursuits, it's time to begin the work week again.
5. An 8 hour workday is actually a short work day. A 12 hour workday sounds like a nightmare, but if you only had 2 per week it wouldn't be nearly as
difficult as doing it five days a week.
Of course, there are many problems to be addressed. The biggest problem is that business owners are not likely to be pressured into paying people the
same weekly incomes for 24 hours as they are for 40. This amounts to their own greed and short-sightedness, as many of them fail to see beyond the
payout-to-hour ratio that most of the populace is programmed to recognize.
Also, the service and entertainment sectors believe that they would have trouble in such an economy. They only understand that they would have to hire
more people to fill the many separate shifts that would be created. It somehow eludes these businesses that if everyone were on a 5 day weekend,
service and entertainment would be the first companies to see a massive upswing due to the increase in leisure time.
I believe the real opposition to the Five Day Weekend model comes from the ultra wealthy, who would much rather see the working class remain shackled
and obedient. Indeed, the growing economic gap between the social classes is a major contributor to the increasing worktime of the average laborer,
while the fat cats build bigger yachts, larger golf courses, and faster exotic cars every year.
But, that's not what you asked about. You asked if we were a sleeping giant. The answer is yes, of course, in many ways more than you've theorized.
The problem is that we will likely not be waking up in time to make our own lives any better.