Friday, August 14, 2009


The term "work" as used herein refers to any task that's not included in the phrase "I wouldn't do that if you paid me," the unspoken corollary being "I wouldn't do that unless you paid me," which we know as a "job." (I.e., "Actually, I'd rather do something else.")

What brought this to my wandering mind was news that the US - well, Utah at least - has apparently drawn a bit closer to the human work ideal, having introduced a 4-day work week (shrinking workweek-related headlines always catch my eye), and is thereby saving 13% in energy bills, plus I suppose there is the welcome bliss of recurring 3-day weekends, but don't be fooled. If you read the fine print (the text below the headlines), those Utahans do work 4 days a week, but they work 10 hours a day, so what's new under the desert sun. Even if it were a REAL 4-day week, how many workers would that affect over there in Utah, which has a population of what, 2,736,424?

And Utah would still have a long way to go till it achieved the unpatented and untrademarked Brady 3-day work week, established nearly 10 years ago by yours truly after terminating my minimal stint at full-time employment following my extended period of 0-day work weeks. Personally, I prefer the 0-day work week, an ideal arrangement in which one can do whatever work one wants whenever one wants to (or sometimes has to), though it's not for everyone; not all are born with the requisite sandbag index.

The 0-day work week was first enjoyed in the Garden of Eden, until the overcurious couple were driven out into what is now called the job market, a market that I too joined after my post-college decade of 0-day work weeks. Eden is good at that age, when wonderment, wanderment, action and curiosity can best be satisfied.

As for Japan, I suspect it would take some sort of neoBlack Ship-type event before the Land of Wa would even begin to consider a 4-day week, if ever; the nation's housewives would rise in revolt at the increasing presence of husbands. The J-workforce was loping along at a 6-day week until not long ago, then came a 6-day week twice a month, then a 5.5 day week, then a 5.5 day week twice a month, then a national gasp and the actual 5 day week, when the concept of the "weekend" began to rise from the depths of the national consciousness. I suspect that will be enough psychic trauma for a generation or more. Certain things move slowly here, like political change and additional flavors of ice cream.


Tabor said...

I worked for the 'government' and we were allowed to work either 10 hour days or 9 hour days resulting in either one three-day weekend during a pay period or two. I liked the extra Friday off as I could run all those errands one can't run after work when one has small children.

R. Brady said...

The 5-day workweek is so Industrial Age... I think an 8-hour, 4-day workweek, for starters, would be good for the economic turnaround, spread the work out, bite the collective bullet, with all the derivative sellers on permanent 0-day workweeks.