Hardest working place on the planet

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Originally posted by Monique
An btw, it is very true that Americans work very hard:

Europe:
Get to work at 8.30
at 10.00 half hour coffee break
at 12.00 whole hour lunch break
at 14.30 half hour coffe break
at 17:00 time to go home!

While in the US people come to work as early as 5 am and go home as late as 1 am, lunch break: half an hour (not even paid!) and no coffee breaks.. it was a big shock to me.. the first thing I asked my first day at work: when are the coffee breaks? I received a weird look :)
Is this really true, maybe in NY but not as a whole, anybody got any goverment figures on this?

Maybe we can find the most lazy place on the planet, then im emigrating :)
 

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  • #2
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In many of the states there are limitations on the number of hours you can force someone to work without a break (there are no US federal laws to regulate this). Often the state laws are something like this: more than 4 you get 15 minute break (it must occur within that 4 hour shift), more than 6 or 7 you get a minimum of 1/2 hour meal break (and the 15 min break), after 8 hours you get a second 15 min break (one for each of the 4 hour intervals). The law is varied state-to-state and with the type of work being performed. The required breaks I described are for retail clerks in NJ (back in 1975). Most union workers have union negotiated break times.

Also, these are labor laws. They only apply to workers. Owners can work as many hours as they choose without a break.
 
  • #3
LURCH
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No government stats, but I can tell you that those numbers come pretty close for me. 'Course, I live in Michigan, where Monique is.

EDIT: Or should I say "was"? Did you go back to Holland, Owl?

I've only done factory work, but I can tell you that the last several shops in which I've worked, 10-12 hour days, 6-7 days a week was the norm. The shop where I currently work, I've been at for over ten years. Not that I like the place so much, it's just that every time I apply to anyplace else, one of the questions in the interview is allways, "Are you able to work weekends?". When I say that I'm available to work Saturdays, but not on Sundays, the interview ends pretty quickly, and I never hear back from them.

Now keep in mind that I'm just a grunt; working on an assembly line. Most "YUPpies" put in a lot more hours. And although it's true that many states have laws regarding how many hours an employer can force one to work, there is no limit to the number of hours a person may voluntarily work. Many workers labor under the constant fear that if they don't "volunteer", their value to the company will decrease, and they'll be fired. Legally, that's not "forcing" them to work, but in all practical terms, that's precisely what it is.
 
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Ivan Seeking
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Labor laws only apply to labor. Salaried employees, the norm for nearly all professionals, can be made to work ad infinitum. This may not be entirely legal in some states, but by default it happens. I know many managers, engineers, salesman, and other professionals who often work 90 or 100 hours a week; or more. This can happen purely as a function of competition. If your competition is working this hard and you don't, guess who usually wins.

Edit: the trick here is not that you tell your salaried employee he or she must work until midnight, instead you just require that the report, or the project, or the sales figures, or whatever, must be in by 8:00 AM.
 
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  • #5
Monique
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Originally posted by LURCH
EDIT: Or should I say "was"? Did you go back to Holland, Owl?
I am somewhere in no-man land right now :D All my stuff is packed up, I am cleaning my desk and stepping on the airplane coming monday!! I can't wait to get back :)

I've been working at an university and people generally go and get a cup of coffee when they feel down, right around 4ish and get right back to work again :)

I was warned before coming to the US that people would be very driven and hardworking, putting in as many hours as they could.

I am not sure if that is a university-thing or not.. a friend of mine is working for the car industry and has to work crazy hours, usually from 6am to 7pm.. but aliens generally will have to work harder I guess, especially in a stressfull field like that.
 
  • #6
Monique
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As I noted in another thread: American moms get only a very short time off from work right? One or two months compared to a year in Europe.

This appeared in my news paper today: the Netherlands and Great Britain have the least free days in a year of all Europe: 28 days only. While Finland has the most with 39 free days.
 
  • #7
LURCH
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Originally posted by Monique
As I noted in another thread: American moms get only a very short time off from work right? One or two months compared to a year in Europe.

Yes, or sometimes three. We have a "baby policy" at my shop. It's unnofficial. Well, OK; it's mine :wink: . Any woman who goes away on maternity leave must use at least one day of that leave to bring her newborn around to the shop at lunchtime so I can see them.

(I mean, uh, so WE ALL can see them. Yea, that's what I meant.)

I just heard today that our own Lisa, a truly enjoyable young lady, just had her twins yesterday. They are all doing well, and should have been released today. We're expecting to see them sometime early next month .
 
  • #8
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I'm in the white collar sector, and I can confirm that salary=work your butt off. The average american worker gets 1-2 weeks of vacation /sick time to start, and major US holidays (christmas, thanksgiving, easter, etc). I've been at my company for 3+ yaars and I get just over 3 weeks vacation time a year. at 10 years I get 4 weeks. In the IT industry it's especially rough right now, and 70 hour work weeks are not uncommon, due to the stiff competition.

There is a law for births, and it's called the family leave act. It entitles the mom to at least 2 months time off (unpaid of course). But of course the upside to all this is that the american salaries are higher, if only indirectly as a result.
 

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