Wednesday, March 18, 2009



By : Mr. Hezekiah H. Mecklenburg, Managing Director and Policy Theorist, The Labor Institute for Real Service

America faces economic crisis because Americans do not work like they used to. In the past, Americans got up, had breakfast, went to work, had lunch, punched out and went home without complaint or longing. They took their wages home on Friday, saved some money and perhaps drank a milkshake on the weekend. Americans never stopped working. They went to work on Saturday and Sunday if they had too. They understood that their job was their life; and it was important to show they cared about their jobs.

Today, even employed Americans cannot stand their jobs. They grudgingly haul themselves out of bed, sleep during their commutes and spend their office time surfing the internet or reading the newspaper. They only do as much work as necessary to avoid censure or discipline; they no longer care about the employer’s mission. Worse, they feel entitled to time off. Every Friday, employees show up to work and ceaselessly talk about “weekend plans.” They lose all focus. They spend all day looking forward to the two days that they can “take for themselves.” They do not think about sales calls, making copies or delivering boxes to the 34th Floor. They think about what bar they are going to later that night or the girl they want to bring home. These are not work-related thoughts. They are inappropriate. In short, American workers just don’t care—and it shows. And that is why our economy fails.

American workers need to get back to basics. To do this, we must completely rethink employment relationships and workplace conditions in this country. This requires that we instill pride in work, not private life. Work pays the bills, not drinking or bowling. Work sustains a household, not playing video games or watching reality television. Although American employees know that work pays their way in life, they all would much rather drink, play video games or watch reality television than work. You would think that they would rather do something that is necessary for life. But no: They would rather have “time for themselves.” The problem, then, is essentially a mental one. Americans need to reorder their minds to love work, not leisure activities. With motivated workers who love their jobs, our economy will rebound.

Here at the Labor Institute for Real Service, we have a plan to make Americans love their jobs. First, we must make workers want to work. At present, American employees would rather “do what they want,” not work. They work because they have to, not because they want to. This naturally causes mental resistance, because obligations make people feel resentful. How did this happen? Simple: Americans enjoy their weekends too much. For decades, American employees have comfortably assumed that they will not have to work on Saturday and Sunday. This “treat at the end” better enables them to endure hardships during the week. It represents a “light at the end of the tunnel” that provides employees an incentive to carry on with the employer’s mission. Yet in recent years, American employees have begun enjoying their weekends too much. They have so much “fun” during the weekend that it dominates their minds at work. Every Monday, they spend their whole morning chatting about what they did the previous weekend, detracting from employer business. On Tuesdays, they start thinking about what they want to do the following weekend, and on Wednesday, they actually start making plans. By Thursday and Friday, they reach “weekend mode,” and they become so excited about the coming days off that work fades into an afterthought. Put simply, American workers have lost their work ethic because they have guaranteed weekends. We can only restore their desire to work if we remove this fatal distraction from their minds.

Days off are economically dangerous. Not only does the economy lose productivity when people take days off, but days off also give American employees time to cultivate their own interests. They enjoy themselves on the weekend; and that personal joy dominates their minds during the following week. This is unacceptable. American workers must be forced to relish their work, not left alone with their joy. To achieve this, we must abolish weekends. No longer will employees feel entitled to take two days off per week. No longer will they have a temptation to dream about Saturday on Tuesday, or Sunday on Wednesday. Rather, they will keep their minds on customer phone calls, pie charts, graphs, spreadsheets, sales meetings and client videos all week long. It is time to stop the entitlements. Great workers work all the time; they do not wish for Friday. And we need great workers to rescue this economy from the lollygagging clockwatchers who poisoned it in the first place.

Weekends are for communists are cowards. No one ever advanced in this country just working Monday through Friday. Did Henry Ford stop working on his Model T because it was 5:01 on Friday afternoon? No. He kept working no matter what the clock said. He did not look forward to Saturday night beer pong at Billy McGillicuddy’s Pub or hooking up with Susan Collins, the cute girl from the accounting department. He slept two hours, then got back up and went back to work on Saturday morning. His work propelled this country to greatness and it made him rich. We need ethic like that to save this economy, not lazy weekenders. We aim to stop the entitlements. From now on, employees will work ten days straight, then take a half-day off to accomplish personal business and see physicians. There will be no more “Friday fever.” Every employee will have a different day off, averting the danger that arises when the entire office anticipates the coming weekend. Now, employees will look forward to their work, not their weekends. This will prevent employees from feeling joy, and when employees are miserable, they stay at their desks and work.

We work in a new economy. It is no longer 1848. Employees no longer shovel coal into blast furnaces or pick textile fragments from yarn balls on dangerous factory floors. Weekends gave workers in early industry a necessary break from hazardous, labor-intensive tasks. But how can workers complain about their jobs today? Can an insurance adjuster complain about maintaining paper files and a computer graph program? Can a receptionist complain about greeting walk-ins with a smile or serving coffee? Can a waiter complain about jotting down orders on a pad? Can a trader complain about running all over the exchange floor soliciting orders on beef futures? And can a lawyer complain about billing two clients at once while talking to a third on the phone? These are not labor-intensive tasks. Rather, they are straightforward administrative activities that place the employee in no danger at all. To that extent, they can keep working without pause. They do not need time off. It makes no sense to continue entitlements from the Industrial Revolution in an Internet Age economy. Only whiners and do-nothings claim that they need “time off” from a desk job. The time for whining and fantasizing is over. It is time to start working again.

We will overcome today’s economic malaise when we all get back to work. By restoring faith in work, we will make America strong again. To restore faith in work, we will set employees’ minds straight. Although weekends may have been important in workers’ lives, they did more harm than good. They allowed employees to have too much fun. That, in turn, corrupted their minds. Good employees do not experience joy; they loyally advance their employers’ interests. Joy is a personal emotion that derives from personal preference and activity. Yet employment requires that a person put his own preferences aside to serve the employer. In that light, joy and employment are not consistent. While we do not deny that superb employees may feel joy when they win success for their employers, we recognize that this does not often happen. Instead, employees feel joy for personal reasons, unrelated to the employer’s mission. In the new economy, we cannot tolerate workers who dream about the weekend. We need employees who gladly show up every day to work. By eliminating weekends, we can better reach that goal, because weekends distract. This is a mental war for employees’ focus. And we are going to win it.

Our detractors say that weekends give employees time to refresh themselves. According to this logic, a refreshed worker is a more productive worker, and because employers like productivity, they should also like weekends. Our detractors also say that rested workers are more productive workers, so weekends actually boost productivity and aid the economy. We strongly disagree. Experience convinces us that workers do not rest during the weekend. They go out, drink, attend sporting events, sprawl out on beaches to bake in the sun, take their children to Chuck E. Cheese® Restaurants, attend doctors’ appointments, shop, surf online, play video games, go swimming, work out, go to the dentist, attempt to fornicate, visit their parents, argue with loved ones, clean out garages, mow lawns, paint fences, plant vegetable gardens, eat fine meals and sleep until 10 AM every morning. Put simply, employees are very busy on the weekends—doing things they enjoy. This is precisely the problem: By restricting their joy to two days during the week, employees naturally will look forward to those two days during the other five. They do not come to work on Monday “rested;” they come to work on Monday exhausted from having fun. Because they spend all their time thinking about the next weekend, their days off actually hamper productivity. Employees associate their two days off with “good feelings” and their five days working with “bad feelings.” Workers cannot work when they are thinking about what a good time they had last Saturday night at the dance hall. In sum, weekends are bad for productivity. And reduced productivity hurts us all.

Let us take action against lazy weekend cowards. We need more work in this economy, not less. Let us emulate those great Americans who worked their whole lives for a better world. Let us put our money where our mouth is. Americans all say they want jobs. But once they get jobs, all they talk about is the weekend. It is time to stop that trend once and for all. When Americans get jobs, let them take pride in the spirit of employment. Let employees say: “Yes! I am happy to be here. I love this job. How may I best serve you, sir?” not: “I fucking hate you and this job; and it’s only Tuesday morning. I would rather be at home eating waffles than in here collating these friggin’ case studies for $9.75 an hour.” Let them feel joy in service, not in their own pursuits. Work means service. Service means loyalty. Loyalty means thinking about your employer, not yourself. Weekends harm service and loyalty. That is why we must stop them. No longer will employees daydream about bars, concerts and women on Friday night. Now, they will have only their desks and their jobs to look forward to.

Together, let us be a Nation of workers, not leisure-seekers. We’ll see you in the office on Sunday.

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