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Do Companies Punish Workers Who Take Vacations? 948

Hugh Pickens writes "Chad Brooks reports that a steady stream of research over the past year reveals that Americans aren't taking vacations and it's because they are afraid to take time off from work for fear of appearing less than dedicated to their employer with one survey showing that 70 percent of employees said they weren't using all their earned vacation days in 2011. 'You have this kind of fear of not wanting to be seen as a slacker,' says John de Graaf, executive director of Take Back Your Time, an organization focused on challenging the epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine facing society. De Graaf adds that while some companies are good about encouraging employees to use earned time off, there also are some that aren't worried about the potential repercussions that may come from that nose-to-the-grindstone approach. 'They think, "If I burn someone out, I can always find someone else,"' says de Graaf. 'They think [employees] are expendable.' Even when they do take vacation, research shows many employees aren't leaving their work behind. In one study, 66 percent of surveyed employees said they would check and respond to email during their time off, and 29 percent expect to attend meetings virtually while on vacation. De Graaf is not optimistic anything will ever get done to free employees of their fear of taking time off. 'This is the only wealthy country in the world that does not guarantee any paid vacation time,' says de Graaf. 'Every other country understands that this makes people healthier and creates a better workforce.'"
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Do Companies Punish Workers Who Take Vacations?

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  • by bonch ( 38532 ) * on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:05PM (#38679288)

    It's very important to me to be able to fuck off from my job. I skip out early, I take days off, I ignore phone calls after hours. As long as I get the job done during the day, I don't care what people think. I am a slacker, and I enjoy it. Life's too short to fret over the grindstone. Don't take life too seriously!

  • by religious freak ( 1005821 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:12PM (#38679358)
    Oh FFS - can we please stop diluting the important words in our language? It kind of skews people's perspective of actual famine. #getoffmylawn
  • by LifesABeach ( 234436 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:13PM (#38679364) Homepage
    My personal view is that when I'm on my death bed, I don't think I'll be wondering, "I wish I had more time, to work."
  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:13PM (#38679366)

    'Every other country understands that this makes people healthier and creates a better workforce.'"

    No, every other country isn't ruled by supersized multinational corporations who can co-opt every government process, override any legal review, and sidestep any political controversy, if they pay enough. America's government can be properly classified now as "Dollar." That, right there, is what is causing the problem -- it's not that the government doesn't understand, it's that the government doesn't care.

  • by Lashat ( 1041424 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:14PM (#38679372)

    If you are capable and organized then your vacation time will be taken and your area of ownership will not suffer.

    Understanding, capable, and organized bosses are also a huge help.

  • Not enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hawguy ( 1600213 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:16PM (#38679414)

    It's not that I feel like I can't take vacation, but with only 2 weeks/year, I feel like I need to save it for something special. If I had 4 weeks (or more), I'd be more likely to take more little trips here and there or even use vacation as a personal day to stay home, but as it is, I try to save up my vacation for a big trip.

    I'd rather that my company moved to a paid time off pool for both sick and vacation days since I so rarely use sick days.

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:17PM (#38679420) Journal

    You can hate Ron Paul all you want and think he is a far right wing radical (he is), but he is right!

    Seriously, the government, consumers, and banks have lived beyond their means. The only growth is consumption caused by yet more debt. Student loans are too high due to the government handing them out like candy enslaving the students in debt when they are done, which in return causes higher demand for employers to request degreed candidates and so on.

    The best solution is to go into a depression, raise taxes high, cut spending, sell off Alaska and most of the US assets, cut military pay, for a decade or so. No one but Paul would have the balls for such a radical solution but it is no different htan anyone one of use with a family with LOTS of debt, loss of income, and risk of beig foreclosed or repoed. If you do not lower your lifestyle, sell your shit, and work 2 jobs for several years the bank will do all that for you on their terms rather than yours.

    Ron Paul is honest and gives answers no one wants to hear.

  • by tbf ( 462972 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:18PM (#38679428) Homepage

    > Until the economy improves and there are more jobs than applicants this will continue

    Ever considered U.S. economy is in deep shit because of its workers being overworked, exhausted, because they learned to keep low profile.
    ever considered insufficient loyalty from employers results in insufficient loyalty from employees?

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:21PM (#38679464)

    We could just tax the rich and reduce our defense spending. Ron Paul would never do that, he would prove to be just as owned by the rich as the rest of them.

  • by alcourt ( 198386 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:21PM (#38679466)

    Similar situation here, though maybe not so obvious.

    Officially, we are ordered to take all scheduled vacation days, required to schedule them early in the year.

    In reality, we are expected to attend meetings, check email, and do work while on vacation, despite official policy prohibiting such. Anyone who doesn't work at least five to ten hours of overtime per week is "not being a team player" and "not understanding the significance of the priority of the project." Supervising managers are expected to frequently work twelve hour days or more, and a vacation day means that they might only work eight hours that day, attending meetings, responding to email, etc.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:22PM (#38679480)

    Find a new job. Conspire with your coworkers to make sure as many people as possible leave at once. If you make the lesson painful enough they will learn it.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:24PM (#38679500) Journal

    Understanding, capable, and organized bosses are also a huge help.

    I think I found your problem...

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:25PM (#38679508) Journal


    This has everything to do with the governments living beyond their means. Where did that money come from? From us and the banks. With high debt they stopped lending which caused businesses to stop or retract spending and investment. This in return laid off workers who then cut back and could not pay back their loans. Because they could not pay back their loans the banks responding by cutting again until a complete meltdown in 2008.

    As a result 20 million Americans who had these 40,000 a year jobs 10 years ago are working at Walmart going further and further down the hole each month in debt and would be happy to do your job for 30%, be abused with a smile, never take off, etc. They wont he lotto and do not care they are underpaid.

    Now you Mr. AC are at the mercy of the boss or you will be the one at Walmart next unless you are very highly skilled far beyond the general public. If the banks collapse in Europe people's retirements, 401ks, life savings, and employers line of credit to pay their wages all vanish out of thin air. Try 20 million more layoffs in 6 months! Very scary indeed

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:25PM (#38679520)

    Take a deep breath, walk up the stairs and out the door. Look at how bright and beautiful it is, it's called outside. You really should go there more often.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:26PM (#38679530)

    I worked for the Australian branch of a multinational, when we got put under the management of the US branches.
    Now this was done because we were putting our releases on time, on budget, while the US branches were constantly missing deadlines and getting hit by penalty payments. So we were basically moved to make their departments figures look better.
    The US managers kept coming out, looking at what we were doing and how hard we were working, and immediately deciding that if they could take our 4 weeks annual leave off us, we'd be even more productive! They could not get their heads around the idea that we were able to put in that much effort because we knew that when crunch finished we'd be able to take a couple of weeks to rest and recover before the next sprint. If you don't get time off, then you've got to pace yourself.
    We never got it through their heads, and eventually we were written off as culturally lazy, and sold off. Even though we were the ones hitting deadlines, and they were always running late.

  • by NeutronCowboy ( 896098 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:28PM (#38679566)

    What's more, even corporations who think that employee happiness doesn't matter because they can just hire someone else are just hurting themselves. Conservatively, it costs about 100k in upfront cost to hire someone. That can quickly balloon to one million if we're talking about skilled workers with specialized in-house knowledge. Heck, even a burger flipper or a maid costs money to hire - all that HR paperwork for terminating people and hiring people doesn't happen on its own.

    All I can see when people are arguing that it's ok for companies to do this is people who don't know how to run efficient operations. Quite frankly, if the company has that attitude, please do fire me, because the company is one disaster or efficient competitor away from oblivion..

  • by cdp0 ( 1979036 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:31PM (#38679596)

    If you don't enjoy your job, then that sucks.

    How many people do you think really enjoy their jobs ?! The only reason many people work is simply for the paycheck.

  • by nsxdavid ( 254126 ) * <dw@pl[ ]net ['ay.' in gap]> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:32PM (#38679598) Homepage

    At my company, we did away with vacations. You get no vacation time. At. All.

    But that was just for starters, we also did away with sick time. None.

    Personal days? Don't make me laugh.

    I am proud to say that was my initiative.

    One might think this could have some impact on moral. But when asked during on camera interviews, how much would people have to pay you to leave? Some said at least double, and most said they couldn't even think of a number.

    If you want to know how that's possible, then Google ROWE. Results Only Work Environment. And you'll understand why.

    I give talks about our transition to ROWE, and it's been nothing but phenomenal.


  • by flosofl ( 626809 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:34PM (#38679620) Homepage
    Exactly. Any company or department or group that actually needs any one person to actually get stuff done is one that will eventually crater and crater hard. It shows they lack focus and have no defined processes or perhaps even lack documentation and definitions of roles and responsibilities. Good companies have some level of redundancy built in so the absence of any one person does not bring things to a screeching halt.
  • by nigelo ( 30096 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:36PM (#38679636)


  • by syousef ( 465911 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:37PM (#38679646) Journal

    Hell no! If I were making 50k a year I would feel fucking rich and be greatful to work 12 hours a day. In that environment where these poor saps would do anything to take your job to feed your kids you have to suck it up. This isn't 1999 anymore.

    Congratulations, you're well on the way to becoming a citizen of the 3rd world. Someone else will be greatful to take 40k a year to work 14 hours a day. Someone else will beat them to the job as 30k to live on site and do 16hr shifts 7 days a week would be a huge step up for them. And someone else will be fine taking 20k to do that work.

    This is why guaranteed working conditions are necessary. Without minimums competition doesn't drive wealth, it drives a race to the bottom. Booms are the exception, not the rule.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:38PM (#38679658)

    I mean close all the loopholes. Including moving out of the country. If they ever want to come back to visit family they will owe that tax bill. The rich are rich because they bribe politicians to make loopholes for them.

    I doubt any sane person objects to cutting fruitless wars.

  • by haruchai ( 17472 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:40PM (#38679680)
    Which is borne out by the experiences of this palliative care nurse; I can't say for certain that "I should have spent more time at the office", "I wish I'd been a better employee" or "I wanted to be company president" didn't make the list but none are in the top 5.
  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:41PM (#38679688)
    The capable boss is the key factor. Because we don't see middle management as a real job, most middle managers are not skilled in the trade. One of the big problems I have seen is middle managers that cannot tell the difference between productivity and attendance. Thus, if you take time off, and the place doesn't fall apart, they think that your job is unnecessary.
  • by alcourt ( 198386 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:44PM (#38679712)

    I've seen cases where the employer thinks it is work ethic, employees are truly just terrified and afraid. No one wants to be the first one to look like they are slacking off.

    Upper management has to take the steps themselves, telling people "I only will respond to a fire or equivalent call after hours", leaving on time and not coming in extra early. That sends a message more thoroughly than anything you could say.

    Even if you decide to quietly check your email after hours, never send one after hours.

    Make your actions speak for you, it's the only way to truly convince others.

  • by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:49PM (#38679768) Homepage

    What a load of crap.

    The vast, vast majority of work isn't Important. The people who make large real world changes are very few. The vast majority has the function of a cog in a machine. Some are lucky to be a valuable and well taken care of cog, but it's still a cog.

    Even if you're really happy with your job, unless you're one of those incredibly rare people whose work saves many lives, or dramatically improves living conditions, or something of that sort, I doubt very much you'll wish you could have done more of it on your death bed.

    My satisfaction with my job is usually quite good. At some points it's been really outstanding. But even in the most satisfying times, I can assure you that if I found out I was going to die in 6 months, I'd be out of there in a week at most.

  • Re:I did that once (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:51PM (#38679778)

    You are a dummy.

    This is easy to solve, you tell them you would love to reschedule. They only need to pay for any lost deposits and for the whole new wedding. If you really are that important they would do that.

  • by ShavedOrangutan ( 1930630 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:51PM (#38679780)
    I'm probably not going to land a job as a porn star any time soon.
  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:52PM (#38679794) Homepage Journal

    How many people do you think really enjoy their jobs ?! The only reason many people work is simply for the paycheck.

    Hear Hear!!

    I mean, it isn't black or white...I enjoy my job enough...I'm not unhappy. I wouldn't do it if there wasn't some pleasure in it, HOWEVER, if I won the powerball tomorrow, I doubt I'd even go back in to collect the few personal things I keep at my desk.

    I, like I think most would do...would never work again a day in my life!!

    I'd be way too busy travelling, chasing women and generally having fun. Would part of my fun be playing with computers? Sure....but only for fun or interesting projects.

    I've heard that some people are almost 'defined' by their jobs. I personally can't understand that. I am SO much more than that...

    I ONLY work, in order to support the lifestyle I enjoy (which of course takes money) that I enjoy outside the office. And...I do need time out of the office to enjoy MY life and doing things I enjoy....and play with the toys I buy. If I didn't have to worry about a paycheck, you can bet your sweet ass I'd never work again at a 'job'. Why would anyone?

  • Re:Dear Hugh: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by canadian_right ( 410687 ) <> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:56PM (#38679842) Homepage

    A few people have stated that they work for free because if they don't they might lose their job. It is this sort of short sighted, cowardly thinking that got you into this mess. If everyone refused to work for free then this abuse would stop. I was in an hourly job that paid overtime. I was "promoted" to a salaried position. If I worked normal hours it was a raise in pay. As I was no longer being paid for overtime I stopped working overtime except for the occasional emergency. I was not fired. Management asked me once why I would not do overtime and I told them I don't work for free, but would be happy to discuss over time pay. They never brought it up again.

    In the USA there seems to be this myth that it is best for everyone to make their own way in the world without any help. The government should get out of the way and let people succeed. The reality is that USA citizens let big companies walk all over them and the reward this behaviour by voting in governments friendly to big business and the rich.

    You might want to consider unions, and voting for a government or party that is for regular citizens not the mega wealthy. A party in favour of civilized labour law that includes no firing without cause after a probation period, paid annual vacation, paid overtime, and other laws that are simply fair and levelling the playing field between employee and employer.

  • by White Flame ( 1074973 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @07:57PM (#38679856)

    There are far more rich people than there are people bribing politicians to change tax codes. Part of becoming rich is being very aware of what's happening to your money and what your options are. No matter what "loopholes" you think there are, people with a rich mindset will maximize what they get for their money, and find the most profitable places to hold & flow it.

    Already in the current situation, if you owe a tax bill and try to enter the USA, they can and do come down on you hard. It's not that the rich are not paying money owed to the IRS, they pay what they owe and keep what they owe (relatively) small. Remember that the top N% pay FAR more in absolute tax dollars, as well as more in percentage of their income, than the bottom 100-N%, for pretty much any value of N.

    (It did sound like you were saying Ron Paul would never reduce defense spending. If you only meant he wouldn't tax the rich, I believe that's correct, as he wants to eliminate most federal taxes.)

  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:01PM (#38679882)

    I LOVE my job. I'm passionate about it. I'm good at it. I'm proud of my work. And I do it 8 hours a day.

    Your implication that if a person loves doing something they should do it continuously, or the contrapositive, if they do not do it continuously they do not love doing it, is pure horseshit.

    If you really enjoy doing something so much that you'll work 18 hour days doing it, that's great -- work for yourself and become rich from your efforts. Go forth and live the dream many of us share. But doing that for somebody else who takes the lion's share of profit from your 18 hour commitment? That makes you a tool.

  • by Toonol ( 1057698 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:02PM (#38679894)
    What we need now is three $40k jobs, not two $60k jobs. Wages aren't a problem. Employment is.
  • by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:03PM (#38679904) Homepage Journal

    You clearly don't work at any company which is trying to get anywhere. Lucky you.

    I have worked for people who don't only expect the worker to work extra hours for no additional compensation, but expect it. It's how management can pat itself on the back for meeting goals (their goals, not yours.)

    While mental health is affected by having time off to rest and rejuvenate, it can also give you some break from the stresses of getting things done to consider better ways to do it. Not all employers value this, many who are frequently mentioned in /. articles are near slave drivers - which is OK with some young employees as this gets them their first experience and paycheck - while they don't recognize the value of their own time or are eager to sacrifice now. The problem is, where do you go when you leave, if you've only been one more ant?

    I have a few friends who have left high pressure work to spend more time with families - they are very happy and don't miss being threatened over their bread and butter with termination for not working 16 hour days.

  • by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:06PM (#38679950) Journal

    and every time I tried to take a day off I got the hairy eye-ball from the boss.

    Every year they raised my pay a few % and in the last maybe 6-8 years of work, when things were booming and companies couldn't hire engineers fast enough, and were paying ridiculous "signing bonuses", I suggested to HR that they offer a little more time off instead of jacking up pay every year. I always got a blank stare as if I was speaking some sort of alien language.

    While working for HP they used to march all of us into big presentations every year at annual raise time. They would proceed to tell us with pride how their HR people sat down with the HR people from every other large engineering employer in the bay area and came up with standardized job descriptions and salary/benefits. They never said it directly, but to anyone with a brain they were saying "don't bother to look for work somewhere else because you won't get a better deal".

    Of course you can't take your lousy week or two of vacation time. Start doing that and you mark yourself as ready to be kicked to the curb when the stock price drops $2/share and the $20M/year CEO's brilliant answer is to lay off a bunch of engineers. No wonder the economy sucks. Between the fuckwit politicians and the fuckwit CEOs it's a wonder we are ALL living in cardboard boxes under an overpass somewhere.

    I'm definitely NOT steering my son toward a career in engineering and would never recommend anyone else living in the US to do so.

  • by s73v3r ( 963317 ) <> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:06PM (#38679958)

    Even if he had the right job, I doubt he'd be thinking that.

    There's far, far, far more to life than work. Especially when you work for someone else.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:07PM (#38679966)

    Unless, of course, your dying of starvation in a rat infested hovel... which in the US is always a possibility.

  • by s73v3r ( 963317 ) <> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:08PM (#38679972)

    I do try to stay alert, because I don't want to come back to know that I forgot something important. So I'll check some e-mail just to keep me informed, and if I'm within reach and able to do so. I enjoy my vacations, but I'm not irresponsible you know?

    Why would not checking email on your vacation be seen as "irresponsible"?

  • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:10PM (#38680000)
    if I won the powerball tomorrow, I doubt I'd even go back in to collect the few personal things I keep at my desk.

    Maybe you need to look into getting a different job. I assure you that I won powerball I would find the use for the money but I would not leave my job. Don't you have colleagues you like? Friends of yours who would hang out with you on their free time but work during the day like you?
    If you had nothing to do all day, you'd get bored soon enough. Also, don't get me started on what kind of women you would find yourself chasing (as an non-working and bored millionaire). Could be fun, but not in the long run.

  • by s73v3r ( 963317 ) <> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:12PM (#38680022)

    it doesn't mean the laws of economics don't apply

    It does mean that those stupid "household" analogies don't apply, though. The laws of economics are vastly different for governments than they are for households.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:18PM (#38680108)
    what a pile of shit. It's easy enough to legislate against those things. Fuck this libertarian crap where we have to accommodate those with capital so they can continue to increase their capital at the expense of everyone else with less capital. It's a scam. Part of me wants it to continue to get worse because at some point (just think a decade more of stagnant middle class and regular (not accounting for recent dollar printing) inflation, we will swallow up another 20% of the middle class and over 60% of the population will essentially be in a state of indentured servitude. 40% are now. The next 20% won't take it so lightly. I'll join them as we dance in the entrails of the upper class. At that point we won't even care what happens next.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:20PM (#38680136)

    As my law teacher always said "I always read in the papers "looking for job". Ladies and gentlemen, that's a lie. Nobody's looking for a job. Everyone's just looking for money".

    It was funny when I was 18. It had become truer and truer with every day I live.

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:23PM (#38680166)

    They pay for more in absolute dollars but they pay a far lower tax rate.
    When you add in fixed taxes and license fees, the difference is even more dramatic.

    Top 400 familes pay about 17.5% total tax load.
    The top 2.67% pay about 23% total tax load
    The folks at 60% to 80% pay about 40% total tax load.
    The folks at 20% (poverty) pay about 25% total tax load.

    To the wealthy, $3.70 in gasoline taxes for a tank of gasoline is basically a 0% rate. To the poor, $3.70 in gasoline taxes is about 5% of their weekly income.

    Same for cigarette, phone taxes, booze, sales tax, etc.

    Property tax appears in your rent or in your mortgage. It runs from about 5% for the poor (but lower as they share housing) to about 3% for the middle class to about 2% for the wealthy.

    A $1000/year property tax bill embedded in their rent for a poor person is a huge chunk of their income.
    A $30,000 tax bill for the top 2.67% is about 2%.

    The poor spend most of their income on taxable purchases. The wealthy do not. So an 8% sales tax load hits the poor for 8% of their income while it hits the wealthy for under 1%.

    Google "who pays state taxes" and also look here []

    The media owned by the wealthy has really been pushing the propaganda that the lower 50% of income earners pay no taxes.

    But the more accurate statement is the bottom 50% pay low or no federal income taxes ( tho that changes big time this year now that hte earned income tax credit has been removed) while the wealthy pay a much lower percentage of their income as taxes.

    It is accurate to say they pay more taxes in absolute dollars. But did you realize if the tax bill for running the country was divided evenly, it works out to over $11,000 per citizen? More like $33,000 per working person. And that's ignoring social security taxes.

  • by gnasher719 ( 869701 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:24PM (#38680174)

    sure someone working 12hrs a day is producing two jobs' worth? i'd rather bet on 2/3 worth of a rested, relaxed worker. maybe even just 1/2 worth of a positively motivated worker.

    What has been found in actual studies was that a person working 60 hours per week for six weeks and a person working 40 hours per week for six weeks produce the same amount of work. No gain whatsoever from slaving extra 20 hours a week.

    However, after six weeks you have one person being totally tired and one person fit. From then on, the one doing 40 hour weeks will be more productive.

  • by DoomHamster ( 1918204 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:26PM (#38680200)

    I enjoy my job. I have excellent co-workers that I enjoy spending time with.

    I love spending time with my family and friends while camping, visiting museums, travelling, etc. more.

    To each his own, but I only work so I can support my enjoying life with friends and family habit.

  • by twotacocombo ( 1529393 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:30PM (#38680246)

    If you had nothing to do all day, you'd get bored soon enough.

    There are other things to do with your time than work. Why not go see the world? It's a huge fascinating place that few these days get to see. If you had the time and finances to do it.. GO. Or, if you still feel locked into a life of servitude, why not volunteer your time? Go help out at a homeless shelter, plant some trees, spend time with the lonely elderly. If you no longer have to worry about you, go help out somebody else who isn't as fortunate, and be a decent human being.

  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:36PM (#38680328) Homepage Journal

    There is always a natural floor for any sort of job, especially true if the money was real and not fake.

    Most people don't work for minimum wage, they earn more because the market values them more than that and they are able to find work that pays better.

    Government fixing prices (including price of labor) only creates classes of people who never work again, because they don't have the opportunity to enter the labor force because they are unqualified to be paid the minimum wage and they are not producing revenue for the company that would justify hiring them at the minimum wage.

    By outlawing pay below certain price and then by setting up these so called 'social nets' for people who are not disabled or are very young children, all that the government does it it creates permanent unemployment class of people, who are a good voting block of-course, only voting for the government largess just because government subsidizes their lifestyles.

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:36PM (#38680334)

    Oh, I enjoy my job. I'm one of the few happy people who actually do what they like to do. Yet even I would quit instantly if I didn't have to earn money. Here's why.

    I am in IT-Security. Not trying to go into detail, but my work is mostly to tell people why their ideas are insecure, how they could make them more secure while all the time not carrying any measurable risk myself. I get to float above the problems and sprinkle my wisdom down on the hapless managers who have to listen to me and carry the risk that I dump on their shoulders. Sounds lovely, eh? Hey, it's nice. But I'd rather go and actually do something meaningful. Like, give them a hand in their attempt to actually create something really secure. Which is something nobody actually wants, to be blunt. Security costs money but doesn't generate money. So everyone just wants the bare minimum necessary to make the risk acceptable. Nobody wants best practice, optimal performance, whatever other buzzword, if they want any crappy buzzword cocktail, they want cheapest possible. And this, folks, is decidedly NOT fun. It's the anathema of security. And I don't do it for the money. Don't think it's THAT well paid to tell managers why they're dorks. It's the job perk that keeps the salary down, it seems...

    The reason I went into this business, and here's the catch, IMO for most people, is a different one than why I'm in the industry now. How many people came into game development due to their love of games, only to do now what they don't REALLY love because they have to work on games they don't enjoy? How many people went into hardware design and MCs to craft some great robotic gadgets only to do boring car logics now? And I bet I'm not the only one in itsec who has the zeal to create secure systems only to find out that there's not really a "market" for that (and sadly, we neither have a space program nor a secret service worth the name) and that they spend their time now creating a few metric tons of paper (aka cover-your-ass-paper, and about as useful as TP) instead of actually increasing security a notch.

    People, at least if they have a job that doesn't include the phrase "want fries with that", usually work in a field they like or even love. It is, though, rarely exactly just what they love. In my spare time I aid friends in their attempts to create secure web pages. No paperwork, no "gotta cover your ass or get blamed", it's actually fun to do that. It just doesn't really have the volume that I could make a living off that. Companies that could pay my hourly rates are usually also the ones that are more interested in a few metric tons of paper to prove they follow some (useless, I might add) certification process than actually reaching a sensible level of security and safety.

  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:49PM (#38680508) Homepage Journal

    If you had nothing to do all day, you'd get bored soon enough. Also, don't get me started on what kind of women you would find yourself chasing (as an non-working and bored millionaire). Could be fun, but not in the long run.

    I don't understand you can say that...why would you guess I'd have 'nothing to do all day'?

    I was between gigs for 7 months a few years ago...I live in New Orleans. My typical day..get up, walk the dog around the breakfast, jump on my motorcycle, hit the gym for a couple some job searching, research, reading..etc...then when weather was nice, I'd hop on my bike and go all around the city. I saw things new every day...being a tourist in my city...all the art museums, hit some bars to listen to bands and run around the Quarter all day. When it got to about 3pm or so, I'd call and plan to meet some friends of mine getting off of work to have some beers....and ride a bit more around the city, and then home...cook dinner, then watch tv or play with my home toys (computers, tv, audio, etc).

    I frankly almost hated that I landed another gig (and unfortuantely this time had to go W2)...I have a good job. I make a ton of money....but I sure would rather be doing what I was doing.

    There is SO much to do in my city...and when I want a break, if I was powerball winner...I'd take vacations!! can you get tired of that? Meeting new people, seeing new places, trying new foods....getting plowed on a new beach..?

    I guess there are just a lot of people out of there that don't have enough imagination to figure out all the fun things to do in the world. I could easily spend the rest of my life doing just that if I didn't have to worry about money.

    Hell...likely as not, after I'd settled down from the initial fun with all that drop my dog off at my parents'....and jump on my motorcycle...and ride across and around the USA. So much of it I've not seen yet....

    Seriously...if you didn't have to don't think you could keep yourself occupied?

    I don't like to work. Period...there is NO job out there that I'd like to do if I didn't have to earn a living..nothing. I easily fill my limited time away from work having an adventure in life....if I had the money, I could easily fill each and every day doing something fun and really having an adventure.

    I honestly have no comprehension on how anyone else could think differently.....I guess it comes to that other concept I can't grasp...someone being defined by their work that I hear about. I guess that's why some peope really LOSE it...when they lose a job (not considering just loss of income)...but from what I understand...they actually get depressed because somehow...their job is THEM.

  • by mooingyak ( 720677 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @08:54PM (#38680566)

    Amen to that. My job has been good to me, so if I won the lottery I'd probably stay on for a few months and help them find my replacement, and maybe put in some time getting the guy trained, but beyond that I'm gone.

    I enjoy my job. There are things I enjoy more, but nobody is willing to pay me to do them. Take the money out of the equation and I'm going for what I like the most.

  • by Pooua ( 265915 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:13PM (#38680724) Homepage

    I do not expect to get laid off with zero notice. I do not expect my company to fuck me over.

    Don't go to work in the IT field, or you will be in for a nasty surprise!

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:15PM (#38680746) Homepage

    AMEN! I abandoned the corporations for small business. we are encouraged to take our vacation, and at the end of the year we are allowed to take sick days as vacation. I burned 4 sick days for the day before and after Thanksgiving and Christmas as did everyone else in the company.

    I also am allowed to shift my work day to 7:30-4:30 so that I have a zero traffic commute, etc...

    I strongly suggest to corperate slaves to start looking to the smaller companies where the owners are honest men and treat people with respect.

    Life is too short to waste it working for an asshole.

  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:17PM (#38680776)
    Wow. Your company sounds like a catastrophe and a joke. I'm not sure what sort of mental gymnastics you must go through to convince yourself you "enjoy" doing what you just described, but I'm impressed.
  • by Provocateur ( 133110 ) <> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:18PM (#38680782) Homepage

    Why not go see the world?

    Better yet, why not fake secret agent? Ladies and limos, sports cars and silencers for your paintball-but-looks-like-real gun.

  • by artor3 ( 1344997 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:36PM (#38680934)

    A lot of people like to talk about how you should find a way to get paid for doing what you love, but for the vast majority of people, that's impossible. The world needs ditch diggers and customer service agents and so forth, and always will. You're not gonna find someone who really enjoys cleaning bird shit off the sidewalk, who would do it even if they didn't need the money. The vast majority of people work for the paycheck, and that will always be the case. The fact that a fellow bird shit cleaner is a good guy doesn't matter, you could always hang out with him after work (although realistically, suddenly acquiring that sort of money will quickly ruin most casual friendships).

    Yeah, you'd get bored doing nothing, but there's a whole range of options between "doing nothing" and "working 40 hours a week". You could join clubs, do volunteer work, start your own little project that may or may not ever make money, etc.

  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:36PM (#38680938)

    Do you work in a heroin factory or something?

    I know people that get varying degrees of satisfaction from what they do, but I've never even heard of that sort of behaviour before.

  • by bzipitidoo ( 647217 ) <> on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:37PM (#38680948) Journal

    No other solutions? Guaranteed working conditions are NOT necessary. We can have decent working conditions with much softer approaches than naked and clumsy dictation to employers. Make the environment worker friendly, so that businesses have to compete for workers. How? Well, for one, health care that is not tied to employment. The US has tried for universal health care many times over the last 100 years, and each time it was scuttled because businesses saw that lack as leverage they could use against their employees, and wanted to preserve their power.

    Then all this crap about denying vacations, paying peanuts, and looking upon financial responsibility and independence as a threat and employees who practice that as "flight risks", would be, quite simply, bad business. Give employees some realistic options, make businesses actually have to compete for employees, and they will not be able to get away with the stunning amount of crap they can pull now. We fought the Civil War over the issue of slavery. One thing that conflict showed is that free people make better workers than slaves. So long as the Union had the will, the Confederacy despite having more land and an easier climate never had a real chance of winning that war. In large part that's because a significant part of their manpower came from slaves who could hardly be expected to be enthusiastic workers let alone fighters. Sure, they had a much lower population even when slaves are fully included, but why was their population so much lower? They had no chance of winning on the battlefields, and only poor chances of winning by other means such as obtaining foreign aid, or demoralizing or fatiguing the Union into giving up. Brilliant generalship could never be enough to make up for the fundamental imbalance. Their slave economy system simply was not as good at harnessing the potential of the land. That's a big reason why they were so badly outnumbered. Their whole war effort was doomed before they started, and they knew it.

    Yet here we are today, busting unions like crazy, doing all we can to beat workers down into indentured servitude, and vilifying the unemployed as lazy losers, because many of us have been sold on the idea that this will lead to greater productivity.

  • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @09:57PM (#38681174)

    if I won the powerball tomorrow, I doubt I'd even go back in to collect the few personal things I keep at my desk.

    Maybe you need to look into getting a different job. I assure you that I won powerball I would find the use for the money but I would not leave my job. Don't you have colleagues you like? Friends of yours who would hang out with you on their free time but work during the day like you?

    If you had nothing to do all day, you'd get bored soon enough. Also, don't get me started on what kind of women you would find yourself chasing (as an non-working and bored millionaire). Could be fun, but not in the long run.

    Sure, I like them fine, and I'd like seeing them more like 5 hours a week, instead of 40.

    I'd actually continue with the project I'm involved in at work, but it would shift down from taking 80% of my productive time to maybe 30%, I'd be involved with it on my terms, and I'd certainly find time to do other things that I want to to.

    The difference between "work" and "self-determined endeavor" goes something like this for me:

    "Work" - means that you diligently apply best effort 40 hours a week to most efficiently achieve the stated goals. I will code a module, make it good enough for the task at hand, integrate it, test it, document it so other people (and I) can work with it in the future, and then f'ing forget about it while I move on to the next task. Nothing is particularly artful, beautiful or polished because that's not what the company needs - even if I might enjoy doing fewer things to a higher level of completion.

    "Self-Determined Endeavor" goes something like this - over the holiday I opted to do some work on my car, instead of choosing the "efficient" route and having a professional do the work, I took the time to do it myself. I started by clearing some shelf space in the garage, then sweeping out the floor - there were a bunch of leaves in the driveway so I got out the leafblower and cleaned those up, and cleared off the sidewalk and some cobwebs on the front of the house while I was at it. Some things needed to shift into the shed, so it got a bit of cleaning and straightening too. Not exactly the way I'd go about "paid work," but still an efficient application of my time and effort. While I was working on the car, I discovered I needed additional parts that took a few days to arrive, since the garage was cleared out and clean, I used the space to build a couple of tables that I had been wanting to make. By the time the car was done, a whole lot more grease and dirt had been removed from the engine than if a professional had done the job, more loose nuts and bolts were found and fixed, and some rusty intake pipes were sanded and repainted.

    I know, tl/dr, if I were a professional writer, I'd come to the point in a more direct and engaging fashion, but, see, that's the difference, you're not paying me to write this post, I'm doing it because _I_ want to.

  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:09PM (#38681298)

    Americans are more attractive to employers...

    I'll just stop you there.

    No they aren't. Americans suffer from 'presenteeism', people coming to work for more hours than is necessary and achieving no more than folks working half the time in other countries. It's a sickness. It puts appearance over output and it does nobody any real good.

    As an example - I work for a huge multinational. A couple of years back several thousand Americans were laid off, while the workforce was held static in Europe and Australia, despite the generally higher costs in these places.

  • by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @10:56PM (#38681738) Journal
    But the sub $100,000 from a million would be insufficient. I'd need something supplementing it.

    Keep in mind that you'd pay long-term capital gains of only 15% rather than 28%, basically boosting your ($100k) income by $13k/year (and for $200k/year at 33%, add another $5k/$100k/year savings to that).

    And I don't know about you, but I could certainly get by on a take-home income of $85k/year - Hell, I make somewhat less than that gross, and live pretty damned well for my area.
  • Wow .... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @11:06PM (#38681806) Journal

    If what you're saying is true (and if it is, I'm not even quite sure how you found time to read this article on Slashdot and post a reply?) ... you *really* need to sit back, think about what you just wrote, and ask yourself if that's REALLY how you want your life to be from here forward!

    First of all, I would assume and hope you're getting paid pretty well for working all those 18 hour days and having so much responsibility. That means, you're simply not doing something right if you haven't been able to put aside some of that money in savings, in case you DO need to switch jobs and don't have a check for a while. (So that situation you're so afraid of, of being out of work for 3 years and not knowing how you were going to sleep or eat shouldn't have to happen again.)

    Second, yep, fewer and fewer businesses have any loyalty to employees, but that should be a 2-way street! If they view you as that "expendable", then why work so hard for them?! Do the basics outlined in your job description, and not anything more unless you actually WANT to do it. If, like you say, they "throw you to the curb" thinking they can get someone a lot cheaper to do the same or better, LET THEM. Either they're right and you were simply getting paid too much for the value you actually brought to their table, or (much more likely) they'll fail a few times in a row and start adjusting their expectations and/or pay scale as they learn how wrong they were.

    And third? Maybe you need to spend less time worrying about customers running into these mistakes you're concerned about, and more time documenting procedures so OTHERS can do some of these tasks properly? It sounds like right now, a lot of people are getting paid to screw things up that you're putting in all these insane hours correcting. You've got to break that cycle, even IF it means a temporary drop in customer satisfaction ....

  • by Clsid ( 564627 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @11:13PM (#38681860)

    Go to France. Labor laws in there are incredible. It actually makes you feel like you landed in a different planet.

  • by geek ( 5680 ) on Thursday January 12, 2012 @11:32PM (#38682040)

    Let's just say, it's a computer company with a very fruity name.

  • by garaged ( 579941 ) on Friday January 13, 2012 @12:00AM (#38682248) Homepage


    Someone told me that is unconfortable to work from home because kids keep talking to you, wife would fight for attention , etc.

    Bullshit, office people tend to try to attract attention too, and they are not my familiy, do i prefer not seeing a lot of people by staying with my family most of the time?

    Hell yeah, any day

  • Re:Not enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Friday January 13, 2012 @07:34AM (#38684212)
    That'll be because your time at work earns them more than the 3% they gave you - specifically, that losing 5 days of your time costs them much more than that 3%. You're making the classic mistake of seeing your time as being worth what you're paid for it, but it's worth much much more than that to your employer. For example, at my company I'm charged out at a daily rate anywhere between 3x and 5x what I'm paid (depending on the project). (That's just direct, chargeable rate of course, and ignores the occasional help given to other people that saves them time, and thus saves the company money.)
  • Move (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZigMonty ( 524212 ) <> on Friday January 13, 2012 @06:09PM (#38692110)

    Seriously, if the picture in the US is as bad as some of you are painting, move. Seriously. I mean to another country. The rest of the western world is just no where near as fucked up. At the very least, drop any delusions that this is something we are all suffering under. No, it's just you. We don't know why you put up with it, but you really don't have to.

    I'm an Australian engineer. My boss is always kind and courteous to me (and would be in trouble if he wasn't). He isn't out to screw me, he is part of the team. We are encouraged to take the 4 weeks of leave we accrue annually (it rolls over if you don't take it and there are thresholds where they start whinging at you to take it). We get paid overtime, and any doctoring of timesheets to work past the overtime caps is strictly discouraged. Actually, in truth, getting overtime as an engineer is fairly rare, but there is usually a TOIL system or equivalent such that you are only working the hours you are paid for on average. There are constant campaigns reminding people about work-life balance. There is even one day of the week where overtime is basically not approved and you get in trouble if you stay back to work on a project (meant so that even in busy times, you see your family occasionally). Work on weekends, while not totally prohibited, is extremely rare (i've never done it in 3 years). It requires special approval and they have to pay 1.5x your hourly rate.

    I'm not trying to boast here, just trying to counter the hopeless view some of you have that it is the same everywhere and you should just cop it.

Loose bits sink chips.