Friday, February 3, 2012

The Death of the 9 to 5

The 9am to 5pm work day is dead. 

I don't know a single person that has those hours anymore (who is not working part-time).

Everyone I know works to at least 6:30pm to 7:00pm (which is now considered coming home on the early side), and many have to be at the office well before 9:00am.

And that is sad.

Why is it sad? Well, it's not really, unless you have young children. Then it's really sad.

Why? Because the desecration of the 8 hour work day means that it is now ridiculously hard for us to see our young children -- and I mean see them AT ALL -- when they are awake.

Most babies and toddlers go to bed between 6:30pm and 8:00pm and get up between 6:00am and 7:30am. So if you are working 8:00am to 7:00pm you have a maximum of 2.5 hours a day with your child. And those are the lucky parents. And if you factor in a commute, which most people have to do, many parents don't get to see their kids for more than an hour each day, if at all.

And that really saddens me.

It seems clear as a society, we've chosen to value productivity and ambition over the strength of our families.

And it's not the fault of parents. We need to provide for our families. And no one wants to be the one person at work who leaves at 5:00pm or even 6:00pm. Or if you do, than you have to be prepared to sacrifice an upward career trajectory.

We are the first generation where the choice between career and family has been so stark.

It's not fair to this generation of kids, who will grow up only seeing their parents on weekends. And it's not fair to us as parents, who will miss the joy of watching our kids grow up, and the valuable role of being our children's primary caregiver.


Anonymous said...

Amen sister. [Angela Bartolone]

Cassie said...

Angie, your post is very timely for me, as I am preparing to head back to the working world after spending the first 12 weeks of my daughter's life at home. I too have been struggling with the thought of being gone for such a long day, and the idea of coming home just in time to put her to bed. Something is very wrong with our society indeed.

For the first time, I am considering taking a backward step in my career, or abandoning the trajectory altogether. It's a sad choice to make, but I don't feel I can do justice in my job and still have enough time in my day for my child. I have to make a choice, as millions of working parents must do. In a way I guess I am lucky to even have a choice, as too many Americans must now depend on two incomes just to get by.

Thanks for your post, it's good to hear I am not the only one who laments the long stressful work days.

Moriarty said...

This is also sounding a little French to me.