Adapted from Richard Schiffman, “Why We Should Work Less.” ©2012 by The
Washington Post Company. Originally published January 28, 2012.
1 Recently a friend confided over dinner that her job was “killing” her. I was surprised.
She is a director of a midsize nonprofit that is doing citizen diplomacy work in the
Middle East, and she has often remarked on how gratifying it is to be involved in
a program that brings historical enemies face to face to share their stories.
2 But 2011 was a tough year for fundraisers, and my friend has been doing double
duty as her understaffed organization struggles to make up the shortfall. Like many
nowadays, she takes her work home with her, which has taken a toll on her personal
life, health and sleep. She is thinking of leaving the nonprofit but is afraid to do so
before she finds another job.
3 Another friend, who is employed by a large insurance company, is routinely forced to
work late and at home on weekends—often without pay—on the projects she didn’t
have time to finish at the office. With the threat of layoffs ever-present, she dares not
4 Americans already work hundreds of hours a year more than their counterparts in
other developed countries, including workaholic Japan. They also have fewer days
off than Europeans, who typically take four to six weeks of paid vacation a year.
5 Companies argue that grueling work schedules are necessary to boost productivity.
But consider that, despite the recession, the productivity of U.S. workers has
increased more than fourfold since the 1950s. Meanwhile, the buying power of wages
has remained stagnant and in recent years has even begun to decline. Someone is
getting rich off the exponential rise in productivity, but it is not the American
6 In the past, unions struggled not only to raise pay but also to shorten the hours that
their members had to work. The trend toward shorter hours continued unabated
from the Civil War through the end of the Great Depression and the enactment, in
1938, of the Fair Labor Standard Act’s 40-hour-week provision. But during World
War II work hours increased sharply, and it has not been a significant public issue
7 Given the recent troubles in the U.S. economy, this may seem an odd moment to
reconsider the value of working less. But this crisis is not due to poor productivity;
U.S. workers’ productivity is at an all-time high. Neither is it a crisis in corporate
profitability, which continues to soar despite tough economic times for ordinary
Americans. It is arguably a crisis in corporate greed, one created by financial entities
pushing for ever higher growth rates and levels of profitability regardless of the cost
to the long-term health of the economy or for those whose hard work made that
economy flourish over the past century.
8 Americans know that we can no longer afford a corporate culture on steroids that
generates unsustainable profits by systematically cannibalizing our nation and the
people who make it work. So a good place to start applying the brakes on this
runaway train would be making sure that we don’t have to kill ourselves at work just
to make a living.
9 A widescale reduction in work hours would spread out the national workload and
help to make more jobs available for the unemployed. Historically, shorter
workweeks have been as large a creator of new jobs as market growth, sociology
professor Juliet Schor argued last year.
10 While shorter hours would mean less income for many, nearly half of Americans
surveyed in 2004 by the Center for a New American Dream said that they would
be willing to accept a smaller paycheck in return for more time with their families
and leisure. This would help explain the popularity of four-day workweeks; a pilot
program in Utah found 82 percent of state workers surveyed said that they liked the
change and wanted to stick with it.
11 The benefits of shortening the workweek would be incalculable for Americans’ health
and well being. And it would even be good for the planet. A 2006 study by the Center
for Economic and Policy Research estimated that, if the United States were to
emulate the shorter workweeks of Western Europe, energy consumption would
decline about 20 percent and our country could significantly diminish its carbon
footprint. Millions of Americans could live with less stress and more happiness and
12 With so much to gain, we need to cut work hours while there is still time.
In his article "Why we should work less" Richard Shiffman urges that companies move to a more europian idea of more vaction time and a shorter work week. In this process, Shiffman uses anecdotal evidence, appeas to ethos, and quantatative data to support his claims.
Firstly, Shiffman uses anecdotal evidence in the form of primary conversations with some of his friends who work "double duty", "work late" and "work overtime without pay" to the extent where they do not disire pleasure from the work they do. In doing so, Shiffman creates an effective conection with the reader as they may as well be in the hardships of the american laber force. Most americans worry about and face this challenge, as such the reader becomes more accepting of his argument and stance. Shiffman provides an effective basis upon which his main argument calling for shorter working hours becomes more persuasive.
Secondly, to create a more credible argument, Shiffman frequently appeals to the ethos of the reader throughout his article. In an effert to connect to the ethos, Shiffman refers to evidence from the "center for economic and policy research". The center says that if the US impliments a shorter work weeks carbon immisions will drop 20 points that would significantly diminish the carbon footprint the US has. With the center being an established instetution, Shiffman is able to pull data from the institution, that will strenthen his argument as this data is backed by hours of research and it is more belivable.
Thirdly, Shiffman uses quantatative data to support his claim. Shiffman pulls data from both the "center for economic and policy research" and the "center for a new american dream". Both these centers are credeble and grounded institutions with data that is backed by hours and days of research. In a survay conducted by the "center for a new american dream", Shiffman found that nearly half of americans would rather have a smaller pay check if it meant more time with their families. This shows there is demmand for a longer weekand and a shorter work week. This is also backed by the findings of a pilots program in Utah, where 82% of the state workers said they would like to see this longer weekend implimanted and would be fine with it even if it meant lower pay. Shiffman also pulls data from a 2006 study by the "center for economic and policy research". If the US were to emulate the shorter work week and longer week end, the energy consumption nationally would decline 20%. This would lower the national carbon footprint and allow green activists be on board with this idea as well.
Shiffman applies the use of anecdotal evidence, appealing to ethos, and quantatative data throughout his article to allow the audience and reader to be more welcoming to the ideas put forth. For Shiffman Americans working fewer hours will allow the earth to be greener and for the workers to have less stress with more happiness and fufillment in their lives.
|2021-03-06||shyamforever||88||Read full essay|
- The following memo was published by the Welzaton City Commission A recent nationwide study of the effectiveness of wearing a safety helmet while bicycling indicates that ten years ago approximately 35 percent of all bicyclists reported wearing helmets whe57
- You moved to a new country and you want to write a letter to your former colleague In your letter you should tell him her where did you go and what you are doing there job describe your feeling invite your friend to come78
- some people say that is important to keep your home and workplace tidy with everything organized and in the correct place89
- Write a letter to a friend who is visiting your country for the first time Tell him the best time of the year to come What places they could visit Invite them to come to your house73
- In some areas in the US a curfew is imposed in which teenagers are not allowed to be out of doors after a particular time at night unless they are accompanied by an adult What is your opinion about this89