Putting in long days? Working over the weekend? You probably feel pretty darn proud of yourself.
Well, you can stop. Stop feeling proud of yourself, that is. According to a recent Gallup poll, “half of all full-time workers indicate they typically work more than 40 hours, and nearly four in 10 say they work at least 50 hours.”
Putting aside the hardly possible idea that the respondents were lying through their crooked, yellow, dishonest teeth, may I say how nice it is to hear from the nosy parkers at Gallup. I thought Gallup polls were a thing of the past, like fountain Coke, lifelong pensions and annual raises. Why, the last Gallup poll I read testified to the box-office popularity of screen-star Veronica Lake.
But that’s hardly the point. The point is that the 40-hour workweek is about as relevant as, well, Veronica Lake. Instead, Americans now have the 47-hour workweek, or maybe, the 50-hour workweek, or, possibly, the 60-hour workweek!
This may be very good news for the American economy, but it is very bad news for someone whose workweek rarely lasts longer than 15 hours.
That’s right, friend; I’m talking about y-o-u.
Let’s forget what you tell Gallup, or what you tell your boss, either one of whom is likely to ring you up at dinner with questions that make your blood, and your soup, run cold. We both know your usual workday schedule. It starts with an hour of chat, followed by an hour of “Angry Birds,” and winds up with an hour of semi-productive work. After which comes two hours of lunch, one hour of nap, and one more hour of absolutely fierce work time, during which you make up excuses for all the work you didn’t do that day, after which you are so exhausted that you leave an hour early.
Do the math and see what you get. The way I count it, you’re putting in a blazing 15 hours. [Of course, that doesn’t include vacations, off-site meetings and all the faux sick days you can pack into a year.]In a 40-hour world, it has been possible to maintain your slacker life style, but now that Gallup has spilled the beans, it may be more difficult for you to keep your job. And, let’s face it — when no one is paying you to do something, what’s the fun of goofing off?
The polling people didn’t cover this critical issue, so I guess it’s up to me.
One idea is to ask your boss to start paying you on an hourly basis. As the survey shows, salaried workers put in more hours than hourly workers. Why? Because “hourly workers can be restricted in the amount they work by employers who don’t need or can’t afford to pay overtime.”
I realize this strategy has risks. Your company would have to put in a time clock, and you would have to punch in and out. Eventually, even a dim-bulb manager like yours would realize that you are working two hours a day. Even worse, you would be paid only for two hours a day. But this might not be so bad. All you have to do is get your company to set your hourly rate at, say, $2,000 an hour. That adds up to $30,000 a week, or $1.56 million a year. Definitely, a nice bump for you, but for a bank executive, chump change. And even at 15 hours a week, you do a lot more work, and a lot less damage, than a bank executive.
If management will not agree to a $2,000-an-hour wage, there is another course of action. Simply have the HR department redefine your job duties, so you get credit for all the time you spend helping the company succeed.
Of course, you will need to explain that even though you are not being productive in the typical, narrow-minded, profit-and-loss way of calculating employee productivity, the fact you dress so well and look so good significantly improves the company’s image, even when you are crumpled in your chair, snoring, while taking your après-lunch nap. You also boost worker morale. That’s right! By your refusal to do anything at the office but nap, chat and play games, you make your co-workers feel good about their productivity, which encourages them to work those 47-hour weeks.
The bottom line — don’t sit there doing nothing. Go see your supervisor and demand a shorter workweek and a big fat raise.
Tell them Gallup sent you.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at firstname.lastname@example.org.