Working for the Work-Obsessed

By Rebeldad Brian Reid

My old CEO, Mike Bloomberg, made the papers the other day. Actually, he makes the papers pretty much every day now, what with the whole presidential non-candidate thing and the trans fat thing and the global warming thing. But what caught my eye was that he made the Wall Street Journal for talking about his work-life balance. Or the lack thereof.

The key to success, Bloomberg told graduates of City University of New York's College of Staten Island, is something that sounds a lot like workaholism:

If you're the first one in in the morning and the last one to leave at night and you take fewer vacation days and never take a sick day, you will do better than the people who don't do that. It is very simple.

And he joshingly admitted that the parenting thing wasn't his bag.

I've managed to raise two daughters who have turned out very well, thanks to their mother, no thanks to me.
The values of Bloomberg, the man, percolated down to employees at Bloomberg, the company. The set hours there were longer than just about anywhere else in the industry. Flexible work arrangements were unheard of. So was part-time work. (These policies have apparently softened somewhat since I left.) In return, the company treated employees like family: excellent insurance, free food, comfortable and airy office space. That was more than enough when I was a married guy with no kids. It was not nearly sufficient once the first child arrived.

Penelope Trunk, author of the just-published Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success, passed along a warning about guys like Mayor Mike last week, noting that work-life attitudes start at the top and trickle down:

When you are looking for a company to work for, look at the CEO. If you find out he's having sex with four different women, you don't have to worry -- he's about to be fired. But if he works insane hours, you can bet that you will be expected to do the same, on some level. And my gosh, if he refers to you as his family, run!

Unfortunately, family-last bosses can't always be avoided -- there are plenty of would-be Mike Bloombergs out there, and some of their companies are exciting, dynamic and not entirely unattractive but nonetheless erected on extreme dedication to the grind. Do any of you have experience surviving (or thriving) in those kinds of environments without losing all sense of balance?

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  June 28, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Flexibility , Workplaces
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Comments

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erste....

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 7:22 AM

OMG! Second!

Posted by: circle pines | June 28, 2007 7:26 AM

On a small scale, things might be changing. Brief article about the CEO of Bethesda's Honest Tea, his committment to employees and priorities on things other than just the bottom line:
http://www.gazette.net/stories/062007/busimlo194322_32375.shtml

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 7:39 AM

Bloomberg's words stated something pretty simple. If you are more dedicated to something than other people, you will be better at it, and be rewarded for it. That "something" could be full time parenting or being the CEO of a company.

The point is- you can't have it all.

Posted by: Thursday | June 28, 2007 7:44 AM

Business enterprises exist to maximize shareholder value. All the feel-good hygiene factors exist as recruitment and retention tools. To behave otherwise is to short-change the owners. Gordon Gekko's speech on greed still makes me choke up when I hear it.

Posted by: bmcneill | June 28, 2007 7:45 AM

How many people lie on their death beds and say "Man, I wish I'd worked more hours". Most regret not spending more time with their loved ones and having more fun times to reflect back on. Life is about balance. Work to live; not live to work. Enjoy life! Hug the ones you love and tell them you love them. Every Day!

Posted by: C.W. | June 28, 2007 7:46 AM

Why would anyone live to work if they don't have to? Most people can work half as much and still live a decent life. People like Bloomberg just have work in their lives. When their in their 90s, will he still wished he worked more and had more money? Probably not.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 8:00 AM

"How many people lie on their death beds and say "Man, I wish I'd worked more hours".

I know more than a few seniors who wished they had worked more hours or had worked period. They are struggling to survive on tiny fixed incomes and the kindness of strangers. They wish they had planned their financial futures more wisely. They wish they hadn't limited their options in life.

Poverty sucks big time when you are old.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 8:03 AM

Very wise advice to look at the people at the top when considering to take (or leave) a job.

Also, it is amazing how a company's culture "changes" for you when you have children. What you needed pre-kids is totally different.

However I don't think there is a need to bash workaholics. Sometimes this is just the way they are -- their natural form of "balance." It seems totally unbalanced to a lot of us, but for them, it's the right choice. (Probably very hard on their families, however.)

Posted by: Leslie | June 28, 2007 8:04 AM

To Brian's point, I have worked for a small IT business whose owner was hyper-conservative. He made a big deal about it being a "family values" company and talked about how everyone was family.

Then, out of the other side of his mouth, he talked about how the path to executive management in the company was to spend a full billable 8 hour day at the client site (so he didn't have to pay for office space to house his employees) then go home and write winning proposals on your own time.

Needless to say, this company has to hire executives from the outside (or buy them as part of corporate acquisitions), because NO in-house employees can meet his standard for promotions from Director to VP. Least of all those with spouses or children....

Posted by: Proud Papa | June 28, 2007 8:13 AM

I enjoy my work, I love the sense of accomplishment, tangible results and lots of bright and equally enthusiastic people around. When I bring my kids to work, they love it too! I love flying first class, not thinking twice if we should take that helicopter tour during our cruise in Alaska, offering my kids the choice of schools based on their abilities and interests, not on cost.

For all you people here who "work to live" -- think if if you get any satisfaction. If you are bored at work, it shows. Ten years later you'll watch you peers getting promoted, and listen to your wife (and kids) complain about the state of your finances.

Posted by: Mike II | June 28, 2007 8:15 AM

Im with C.W. I made my choices a long time ago...I stayed home with my kids & paid the price (still am but thats a diffrent comment) Im not sorry. Im self employed and still tailor my schedule so my now grown kids know they are my priority. Our problem as americans is that we measure success in dollars and cents but how valuable is it to society that I have helped raise 3 decent human beings who make positive contributions to our community and world at large??? No matter how hard you work for a pay check when you retire they just find another warm body...in other words...you are replacable. My kids on the other hand only got 1 Mom.

Posted by: BrendaBlue | June 28, 2007 8:18 AM

I actually understand the ambition and drive of the people who live to work, because I used to be that way before I had children. It was easy -- I loved my job, I was good at it, was very well compensated and given all kinds of opportunities to expand my professional horizons. For me, it was a total rush to be in a meeting of the top decision makers giving them my opinion, being listened to, and so forth.

Things changed when I had a child -- heck, when I got pregnant. I started to realize just how much of my life was about work -- the 3 hour commute in addition to the 9-12 hour workday, and I knew there was no way I could ever keep it up after having a baby. I was so exhausted throughout most of my pregnancy that I just wanted to cry. I've never regretted my decision to stop working when my son was born, because I believe in going out on top of your game and I know I would have let myself -- and others -- down if I'd returned to work at that time.

I'm back at work now, and I was very choosy about which firm I should go with when it came time to make a decision. In the end, I went with the job that paid slightly less but allowed flexibility. I went with the boss who was a new mother and talked about the importance of being able to work from home if I needed to, leave early or come in late. She herself flexes her schedule more than anyone I've ever worked with, and that definitely has a trickle down affect.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 28, 2007 8:18 AM

"Ten years later you'll watch you peers getting promoted, and listen to your wife (and kids) complain about the state of your finances."

Well I'm the wife of a workaholic ten years later, and I would much rather have my husband have a life outside of work, which he sometimes struggles to do. It's his nature, not really about making money.

The truth is that while hard work often means more money, working ALL the time does not always mean that. In my husband's field (IT) the market forces have made people millionaires and then crashed overnight - hard work often had little to do with it.

And sorry Mike II, but your view is skewed, in my opinion. While I agree that poverty sucks, there is a LOT of room between poverty and a jet-set lifestyle. We have a modest home, second hand cars, good savings, and that is more than fine with me... and guess what? My work, in generally 40-50 hr weeks with some crunch periods, has paid for half of that!

Posted by: Shandra | June 28, 2007 8:21 AM

Anonymous for this post for obvious reasons: I have to respond to this point Brian made:

"When you are looking for a company to work for, look at the CEO. If you find out he's having sex with four different women, you don't have to worry -- he's about to be fired."

Umm - not necessarily. I've worked for companies like that, and the CEO wasn't about to be fired because he was judged on the bottom line - the money. As long as the company was super-profitable and the amount of "hush money" that had to be paid was reasonably small, there was no need to worry about personal behavior.

Does the name "Jack Welch" ring any bells around here?

How about the name "Bill Gates"?

And before anybody starts bashing one gender, it works both ways. I've also worked for places where the culture was for female executives to add the (male) eye candy to the staff and start having affairs. How better to show that she can compete and win in the true corporate culture?

(And I also suspect that this is the case where the executive - male or female - is not heterosexual, but I haven't personally seen it.)

Posted by: Spineless coward | June 28, 2007 8:25 AM

EXCELLENT AFTER-HOURS POST FROM YESTERDAY!

"I'm waaaay beyond breast-vs-bottle-feeding now, but if I was still dealing with little ones, and I was using formula (or even breast milk in a bottle) and someone came over to me and stuck her nose in my business, I think I have the perfect comeback, thanks to today's blog.

I would simply sweetly ask the noseyparker if she was interested in being a surrogate nurse for the baby; since she obviously is a strong, strong advocate of nursing, to the point of accosting a stranger, perhaps she would be interested in actually doing the hard work of nursing MY baby. I might even go so far as to keep copies of the study showing that adoptive mothers may be able to lactate, so that I could hand one to her.

It could work...!

Posted by: educmom | June 27, 2007 06:53 PM "

Right on!

Posted by: Elaine | June 28, 2007 8:26 AM

I live and breath in competitive environment. When i came on board the existing employees rebelled and screamed boody murder to the boss that I can't get the salary he promised me and have to start at their level. 3 years later I'm the deputy director, and boy, heads are flying...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 8:30 AM

I am so glad that you posted the comment from "after hours." Some of us do live on the west coast so we do see them during "normal hours."

Also, if we are that interested in a topic, most of us realize that posting to a topic can go on for several weeks. So we can look back the next morning for any "after hours" comments or we can look back a week later when we are off.

Posted by: to Elaine | June 28, 2007 8:35 AM

I was just talking to my husband's friend about this last night. Her fiance is living in NYC, doing the 9am to 2am (no kidding) grind. He "gets" 4 weeks vacation, but if he takes it, he won't get bonuses. Ditto for weekends. They are making veiled threats about him taking 2 weeks for his honeymoon. He's home this weekend because his dad has cancer, so he's interviewing the whole time so he can get out of there. It's horrible. I can't believe there is a whole population of people who are willing to live like this. All for the dollar, huh?

Posted by: atb | June 28, 2007 8:36 AM

I grew up in poverty. I know it sucks. As an adult, I worked hard to stay out of poverty. I was truly blessed with the opportunity for education and great job opportunities. Sometimes my job tore me away from my family; I had to make choices and unfortunately there were times I felt I had no choice but to take work over family (was oncall 24 / 7) - assuming my husband understood the financial benefit to the family and that he would understandably watch the kids. Fast forward he revealed that he resented the extra hours I worked and the stress it presented. Never mind he got to work a pretty non-stressful job with no overtime and enjoyed the financial benefits of my job. He enjoyed spending money which caused problems because I grew up in poverty and was determined not to be there as an adult. I believed in spend within your means; so that we wouldn't be in a financial sufferage situation down the road. Money and struggle over work finally escalated and the household broke down. Amazingly the husband found a woman who made even more money and was able to provide him all the material things that I would not support as there were purchases "outside our means". I don't know - sometimes your dam#d if you do; and Dam#d if you don't. I wished I'd spent more time with my family and just carried that credit card balance. I've got money in the bank now; but the broken family was not worth it. Also remember the song "The Cat in the Cradle".

Some things to think about.

Posted by: C.W. | June 28, 2007 8:40 AM

I'm continually amazed by how people discuss this topic in such a polar way. As if the only way to succeed is to work all the time. Even if you did, what good does that really do you if you don't have time to have a real life? If your family, children, spouse, friends barely see you? Or worse, you work so much you don't have time for any of the above? Sorry, work is not real life. It's just work. That doesn't mean people shouldn't enjoy their work and do it to the best of their ability. But work doesn't or shouldn't consume all one's waking hours. If that's what success it, I'd just as soon be a failure. But that's still a failure that's financially solvent.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | June 28, 2007 8:40 AM

No, guys!
It's not "all for the dollar". It's for the freedom, and the impact on society, and all the global issues. If we don't get new technologies to combat climate changes, your children will be dead despite all you loving parenting. Show some respect.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 8:45 AM

Here's another thought: I work in legal, and the associate salaries here recently got a nice $15K bump that came along with the expectation of an additional 200 billable hours/year. (The bump was higher in big cities, but generally, these raises happen in a sort of tidal wave that extends to any firm which wants to be able to compete for the best talent.) There's a group of attorneys here who don't want the raise because they don't want to have to work the additional hours, but they still want to be on the partnership track. My firm is not alone in dealing with this work-life balance issue.

I hear and to an extent understand what Mike is saying in his post, but I'll take traveling coach with my kids and doing back country camping instead of flying first class and helicopter rides any day, especially if it means I get 10+ more hours a week with my family -- and my weekends.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 28, 2007 8:46 AM

Mike II: I think there is a huge in between section between poverty and the ultra rich. My husband works about 50 hours a week and I work 36 hours a week. We own a comfortable home, no debt besides mortgage (which will be paid off in 14 years), lots of money in retirement and college savings. Our child will be able to go to a 4 year state school (away) fully paid for by us, we will comfortably retire at age 60, we vacation every year (abroad every other year). Why it is nice you can take a heliocopter ride in Alaska and it might be something we would try once, there are a lot of happy middle and upper middle class people who don't need to work 12 hour days to do that. Also I don't know too many upper middle class people who saved properly worrying that they missed out on flying a private jet.

Posted by: momof1 | June 28, 2007 8:49 AM

Mike II: Haven't you ever heard the cats in the cradle song?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 8:51 AM

One of my employees works his regular 40 hour a week job, and then spends three additional evenings at a second job, just so he can make enough money to provide for his two kids and SAH wife. The few times he's actually home, he's so wrapped up in working around the house he has little time for the children, but to him this is being a good father.

I've avoided telling him "maybe sending your kids to public school, and using wood chips instead of designer mulch in their play area would be worth being there more for them" so far, but he's one of those types who feels he has to portray himself as a martyr to anyone who wants to listen.

Posted by: John L | June 28, 2007 8:52 AM

Cw, don't regret about anything. If you carried a credit card balance you would have being plain broke by now. "Broken house" is in your imagination, creditors' calls are all too real. I had a husband like this, and he also happily remarried. Good for him. I did better anyway at the end, both personally and professionally. Kids also know who was pulling the weight for the family, and who was just buying furniture, cars or stereo equipment. (God is ironic: the guy was not very good at that either -- his stuff always broke, he did not do his research and maintenance)

Posted by: Leila | June 28, 2007 8:54 AM

I left the workacholic world of a big DC law firm to come to government before kids and a husband and am so glad I did. I was tired of never getting home before 8:00, never knowing if my weekend was going to be free and seeing no light at the end of the tunnel. The partners worked just as hard, and didn't have much more job security (equity partners were being asked to leave if they didn't generate enough business). The only up-side I saw was more money, which just wasn't enough to keep me there. I cut my salary almost in half but suddenly had the ability to meet a friend for dinner, plan a weekend away and actually go and just live a life outside the office.

The comment on maximizing shareholder value is the key. At a law firm, your employer makes money based on the hours you are there and billing. So there are huge financial incentives to make employees work long hours. At the government, I'm not judged on the hours I work but on the projects I complete. I have to get the work done in a reasonable time and do a good job but if it is takes me 8 hours and not 15, that's fine with them!

So, I'm with Shandra. You can live a very comfortable life not working 14 hour days with no vacations. And, to "atb," I know exactly what your friend is dealing with. My husband's old law firm called him on the carpet for not calling in everyday during our honeymoon!! I was so happy when he left that place!

Posted by: PT Fed Mof2 | June 28, 2007 8:54 AM

I think that when I was in my 20's and right out of college and hungry for a career, the words of Michael Bloomberg would not have phazed me at all. I had worked for a big NY bank and stayed until 11 pm if necessary. I figured that if not then, when I had no responsibilities other than taking care of myself, then when? I thought it was a "right of passage" for those of us on a fast track. I got pregnant in the year we declared the war on terror and I was pregnant while working a high threat environment. THIS has really changed my perspective on life. In the long run, I think that working "Michael Blumberg hours" in my 20's helped me in my 30's --I did not have to work so hard because I no longer did the grunt work. As a working parent, I see no problem with working late at night when the kids are asleep. I believe that I am very focused and I can accomplish a lot in 1 hour of non-interrupted time from 10 to 11 pm, then during 4 hours in the office. This is the kind of flexibility I would like to have in exchange for being out of a cubicle culture.

Posted by: fedmom | June 28, 2007 8:55 AM

DW asked me a few weeks ago what I wanted as my epitaph. (Gee, it wasn't *that* big an argument. :-) I told her

"the world is different because he was here."

But different can be due to a number of reasons, including BOTH the family you raised and the work you did in your career.

I agree with many of the other posters that there's a big middle ground between working 24/7 with no time for anything else, and putting in 40 hours a week at a job that pays the bills but lets you have lots of time for the family.

I worked the jobs that just paid the bills; that plus scholarships is how I put myself through six years of college (three degrees). Been there, done that, don't want to go back.

When I finally got out of college, I dedicated myself to my career. I worked 60 hours a week (as a Fed, no less :-) to learn as much as I could and get ahead - but it was a job that made a huge impact on how people live and the psychic feedback was worth a lot.

Now that I'm married with four kids, my interests lie more with the wife and kids and how they're doing - but I still want a meaningful job that has impact on the world, NOT a job that just pays the bills. I find I can have both - really! Oh, I don't have as much money as Mike Bloomberg, but that's not my goal.

WRT Mike II said up above: I've flown first class, lots (when you fly 200,000 miles a year, you're tops on the list for upgrades; plus I was the CTO so the company was buying business class tickets on those international flights anyway). It's not worth it. The service isn't that much better; the extra room is nice but it ain't worth the cost - particularly when the cost is "leave for Hong Kong on a 6-day business trip; come back 24 days later after side trips to Singapore, Bangalore, Sydney and Tokyo; miss the band concert, the chorus concert; the softball playoffs; and three weeks of being with the family." Been there, done that, don't want to go back.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 28, 2007 9:06 AM

I used to work for a major workaholic. She was in the office from 7:00am until god knows what time. She had a three year old at home whom she never saw! Her husband was threatening to leave her. She took off a few days in order to move, and during the move, she was busy on the computer emailing us. Then, she didn't follow through with the time she had taken off to get settled in her new home. Instead, she got a group of friends to help them unpack, all in one evening, so she could come right back to the office!!!!! She was majorly insecure! And had insane turnover in the department. I worked for her for 2 years, and nearly every position in her department turned over twice--people even quit without having another job to go to...it was that awful!!!!!!! She would call you up and say come into my office right now...and you'd be expected to RUN to her office. She bullied. She denied things she had previously said. In other words, she was a frickin nightmare to work for!

Posted by: kattoo | June 28, 2007 9:08 AM

I saw a personalized license plate yesterday. LVE4WKNG

It sure as hades was not on the creepy van!

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 9:08 AM

anon 8:45 said "No, guys!
It's not "all for the dollar". It's for the freedom, and the impact on society, and all the global issues. If we don't get new technologies to combat climate changes, your children will be dead despite all you loving parenting. Show some respect."

I'm so not buying this! I don't have any facts to back this, but I suspect law and business are the biggest work-insane-hours culprits, and they're hardly saving the world. Residents and fellows work long hours because there's no other way. Ditto for tenure-track professors. I suspect both groups would rather have a personal life.

Posted by: atb | June 28, 2007 9:10 AM

ATB says "Sorry, work is not real life."

The mortgage company is real life. The electric company is real life. The grocery store is real life. Car repairs are real life. Medical bills are real life. How else does one get through real life without working? With that "real life" lottery ticket?

You say you can't see how people work so much they don't have time for friends or family. Well, the people I don't have time for is the bill collectors and the bankruptcy lawyers.

Posted by: NAC | June 28, 2007 9:10 AM

>Mike II: Haven't you ever heard the cats >in the cradle song?

No I did not. That's a difference between us. Have you ever heard how entire derivatives portfolio can be used to hedge the downside risk exposure?

Kudos to momof1. However my point is that some people ENJOY their work, the rest is perks, like getting my youngest to a Caterpillar factory. That was a riot: Richard Scarry world come alive.

p.s. I'm Mike's PA. He caught me reading this blog when he came in this morning. Yes, I'm tacitly allowed to do whatever I want as long as the job is done, but he was curious. So now I'm stuck posting.

Posted by: Mike II | June 28, 2007 9:11 AM

Fred, let's be optimistic here. Maybe it meant:

Love for winking
Live for work no good
Love four wonderful kids 'n' grandkids

Posted by: WorkingMomX | June 28, 2007 9:12 AM

John L

"One of my employees works his regular 40 hour a week job, and then spends three additional evenings at a second job, just so he can make enough money to provide for his two kids and SAH wife"

Good point. I know more than a few men who do the same. I wonder if these men use the additonal jobs and "busy work" around the house to hide from their families. It is odd.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 9:14 AM

The mortgage company is real life. The electric company is real life. The grocery store is real life. Car repairs are real life. Medical bills are real life. How else does one get through real life without working? With that "real life" lottery ticket?

Are you a professional? Have you used your money wisely? Most professionals I know still work at least 35 hours a week but can still pay their bills. I don't think ATB was suggesting people just quit their job and visit friends all day. He/She was saying just work a normal 35-45 hour week and enjoy the other pleasures of life.

Posted by: to NAC | June 28, 2007 9:14 AM

I diagree with Bloomberg's outlook.

I also disagree with the people who say "work to live."

Work is a big part of my life. I love what I do (that's why I went to college to learn it), I love feeling involved in something bigger than me, and I love that I've met so many great people through work.

My work makes me feel good. My work makes me feel like I contribute to society. As I have mentioned before in other posts, I feel lucky to be able to work. I think it's all part of that immigrant mentality passed down in my family. I'm proud to work because I help support people who can't.

As it stands for me, my husband and I won't be having kids. We'll be at work earlier than most other employees and stay later. But we'll definitely use all our vacation and sick time because we've earned it.

I bet that most people fall in the middle like me. Work is not my life, but my life would not be complete without work.

Posted by: Meesh | June 28, 2007 9:15 AM

In reply to 9:14, no, I'm not a professional. At one point, I worked 3 jobs just to make the above expenses. It's painfully difficult in the D.C. area to make it on less than $50K per year among 3 jobs. You learn to do whatever it takes to get by, and if that means work, work, work - so be it.

Posted by: NAC | June 28, 2007 9:18 AM

Mike II: I am not trying to be mean. I understand you love your work. But don't you love your family too? Why don't you want to spend more time with them? Again, not trying to be rude or anything. Totally don't understand your derivatives thing. All I know is we have a nicely padded 401K and a few other investments. But I am sure it would be beneficial to know more about $$ but not a priority today.

Posted by: momof1 | June 28, 2007 9:18 AM

It was Rockville Mom, not me. But I agree with her sentiment. Work only as much as you have to. Obviously, everyone's "have-to" is different, but to me that means no consumer debt, retirement, a couple times a month out to eat, and a good vacation every year.

Posted by: atb | June 28, 2007 9:18 AM

Sorry about your situation. Your post makes total sense now. Hang in there. I hope it gets better for you.

Posted by: toNAC | June 28, 2007 9:21 AM

A child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play.
Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today,
I got a lot to do." He said, "That's ok."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed,
Said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Well, he came from college just the other day,
So much like a man I just had to say,
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile,
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired and my son's moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time.
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu,
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad.
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Posted by: to Mike II | June 28, 2007 9:22 AM

How many others on this blog have a boss that shoots you an email, and 3 minutes later shows up at your office and says, "Did you get my email?"

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 28, 2007 9:25 AM

Another job with insane work hours is in construction. If the sun is shining and it isn't raining, those guys (women too!) are out there, sometimes 6 days a week, in the summer for 14+ hours/day, until the job is done. The only time they get off is maybe on Sundays, or if it rains enough to stop work for the day. One project of mine had two shifts 11 hours long, six days a week, for five years straight. Even in winter they kept this schedule.

Posted by: John L | June 28, 2007 9:26 AM

To 9:21, thank you. I don't have 3 jobs any more, but I could sure use it! And as for the poster who quoted Ann Landers, please allow me to put in a quote here from NAC:

"I wish I could work more. I need it!"

Posted by: NAC | June 28, 2007 9:26 AM

Kattoo: did I work with you at my last job ;)

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 9:28 AM

Yesterday I left the house before 7am and didn't get home until after 7pm -- with no break for food.

Today I am sitting in shorts working out of my house.

Many jobs are not marathons -- they are a series of short sprints. If you follow Bloomberg's advice when needed and put the nose to the grindstone when it can make a difference, you will probably rise to the top faster than others. That doesn't mean you need to lose your sense of balance over the long haul.

[As my cross country coach used to say, sprint up the hills but coast coming down.]

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 9:29 AM

By the way, I echo whomever pointed out that there are shades of gray in the live-to-work vs. work-to-live debate.

I've known what career I wanted since I was in the 6th grade and went after it. It's a part of who I am and it translates into my home life to some degree.

What if you are a carpenter/construction worker and you also build your kids a tree house on the weekend. Does that qualify as thinking about work? What about having the 2 year old on my lap as we web surf for pictures of dragons (his new favorite "animal").

The little guy understands that Daddy understands the computer and can make it do fun things. And sometimes Daddy can use the computer and not be having any fun at all....

Posted by: Proud Papa | June 28, 2007 9:30 AM

to John L.: "One of my employees works his regular 40 hour a week job, and then spends three additional evenings at a second job, just so he can make enough money to provide for his two kids and SAH wife"

Been there, done that, too. I was working as a Fed. We had three kids; daycare was killing us. DW hated her Fed job, too. Making a couple of bucks an hour in take-home pay (after day care expenses, commuting expenses, etc.) at a job you hate isn't our idea of a good way to live. So she became a SAHM for a few years.

Since I had taught college in the past, I took a second job as an adjunct Professor, teaching college a couple of evenings a week. It paid a few kilobucks each semester; not a huge amount but it enabled us to supplement that "outstanding" Government paycheck and build savings even while DW was a SAHM.

For us, it was a worthwhile thing to do, and lasted until I finally decided that I hated my Fed job (things had changed) and went into private industry. I suddenly no longer needed the extra money and so freed up my evenings.

I gotta be honest, though - I really did love teaching; it must run in the family or something.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 28, 2007 9:31 AM

"Yet Bloomberg has always been a philanthropist, giving millions to educational institutions and medical research long before ascending to City Hall in 2001. His office said Tuesday that Bloomberg donated $139.3 million of his fortune to 843 organizations last year. Not only is this a few million dollars up on the previous year, but there are signs that the Mayor's social consciousness is broadening; he spread $135.6 million to 653 groups in 2003.

Amongst the 2004 recipients are the arts, museums, parks, ethnic minorities, children, medical research, schools, the homeless, abortion rights and gays."

Posted by: here's to Bloomberg | June 28, 2007 9:37 AM

Kilobucks??? Were you working in the future?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 9:38 AM

The purpose of work is to get something done. You were hired because management or HR thought you were the best person to do that job. Now if the work interferes with your life, maybe you shouldn't be in that job.

There is an old concept called 'management by objective' which means anything to get the job done or to meet the objective is fair game. This includes firing personnel to lower costs, cutting out benefits, or maybe lowering the standards of hiring. Whatever works.

So if all you yuppies and Gen Xers think it's too much of an interference in your daily life to show up for work and put in a full day, turn in your letter of resignation and join the thousands sleeping at the Grate Motel.

I personally enjoy knowing I'm going to get a fairly paycheck every two weeks, a paid vacation, health insurance, and a 401K contribution for the firm. In fact it feels good to go home exhausted because I gave it my all. Too bad everybody else can't say the same.

Slackers -- there's the door.

Posted by: Steamed | June 28, 2007 9:38 AM

There is another flip side to this argument. If you have the propensity to study something that pays well for not a lot of hours, you can enjoy a comfortable lifestyle without putting in loads of hours. People on this blog seem to think everyone needs to work tons of hours just to make a reasonable salary. That is not true if your skills are so highly valued in the outside. Again you are giving them something that few people can do and they are willing to pay for it. Even if it only requires two or three hours a day to accomplish. As far as the super rich (like Mike II), it probably does require a lot of time regardless of how specific your skills might be. Also, some people work hard in their early career to make their life more flexible later on. Again if you want a comfortable salary and not a lot of hours-study math.

Posted by: foamgnome | June 28, 2007 9:39 AM

ProudPapa: didja know people actually uploaded videos of ducks onto youtube? My 2 YO loves it. He points to the puter now and says: 'ducks!'

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 9:43 AM

The place I work started out being work-obsessed. When you're a start-up you have to be that way to survive.

Over the years I worked with many people who worked for other companies, some with more family friendly policies than the company I work for. As the contracting markets have become more competitive it has not been unusual for those people to lose their jobs because their 'family friendly' employers had higher rates and lost their work.

A steady paycheck is friendly to most families.

I personally coped with it by switching to part-time work when my children were small. I could work 35 hours a week, not come in when I had a crisis and didn't have the expectation of extra hours on me.

It's not the ideal solution but it kept cash coming in the door and my skills in-tune with the marketplace.

Posted by: RoseG | June 28, 2007 9:43 AM

How much do you want your kids teachers, doctors, etc. to think of how they earn a paycheck as just a job that pays for the things that are actually important in their lives? Not everyone out there just pushes papers around.

Posted by: Question | June 28, 2007 9:48 AM

to anon @ 9:38: "Kilobucks??? Were you working in the future?"

Sorry for the slang. I'm an engineer and it's pretty common in my circles to put "kilo" or "mega" or "giga" in front of any word as a shorthand. Would it be clearer if I had written "it paid a few thousand dollars each semester..."?

Posted by: Army Brat | June 28, 2007 9:49 AM

How much money is "enough"? What is a "good" salary? Surprisingly, few people actually stop and think about these questions and provide their OWN answers, not society's. Too many are focused only on the next bonus or next raise, and end up missing life as a result.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 9:50 AM

No joke, foamgnome. I picked math cause it sounded interesting and nothing else did (I might've majored in chemistry but there was too much physics). It opens tons of doors. Didn't right away as no one knew what to hire me for right our of college during a recession (how fast can u type? That's what they asked), but eventually...

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 9:51 AM

ATB says "Sorry, work is not real life."

The mortgage company is real life. The electric company is real life. The grocery store is real life. Car repairs are real life. Medical bills are real life. How else does one get through real life without working? With that "real life" lottery ticket?

You say you can't see how people work so much they don't have time for friends or family. Well, the people I don't have time for is the bill collectors and the bankruptcy lawyers.

Posted by: NAC | June 28, 2007 09:10 AM

Yes, actually that was me, not ATB. Of course the mortgage and electric bills are real life. And people have to work to take care of that. But people don't need to work all the time to pay the bills... to go to Europe every year on vacation, to get a brand new car every 2 years, to eat out at expensive restaurants every day, etc. This is not the level of (financial) success that most people need to live reasonably. Sometimes people are in situations where they do "have" to work a lot of hours to keep body and soul together. But that's not what I was talking about.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | June 28, 2007 9:52 AM

Mike II is an idiot. I've seen him before, he drives a cheesy BMW with tinted windows, wears sunglasses everywhere, and has very few friends, except for other cheesy BMW driving people.

I enjoy my work, make a difference for those less fortunate than myself, and work for a prestigious university that will pay my kids college tuition. I don't fly first class, but am home by 5:30 every night and get to spend quality time with my family. I'll take that any day over Mike II's life.

Posted by: JDS | June 28, 2007 10:06 AM

ATB and Rockville Mom, my apologies for the confusion.

European vacations, new cars, and fancy restaurants are part of that real life lottery ticket.

Posted by: NAC | June 28, 2007 10:07 AM

My CEO works insane hours--sends emails at 3 am, calls impromptu meetings at 6pm on Friday, etc--yet she isn't a workaholic, by my definition. She isn't doing it to impress anyone or to escape anything. She's just really, really passionate about her business.

It's led to a culture where some people do work crazy hours, thinking it will get them in good with her, but they eventually discover that it isn't enough--if they aren't passionate, no amount of 3 am emailing impresses the CEO.

But it's great for people like me. I am very passionate about what I do, but don't like working crazy hours (although I am certainly willing to work extra to meet a deadline or solve a problem, I don't do it as a matter of course). I take all my vacations. I leave early once a week for my workout. CEO has no problem with it because she can see I'm passionate.

In a sense I do "live to work"--it's a huge part of my identity, I adore it and I would not want to give it up for anything--but it doesn't mean "having no life except for work", it means "having work that enriches my life".

Posted by: worker bee | June 28, 2007 10:08 AM

European vacations, new cars, and fancy restaurants are part of that real life lottery ticket.

Posted by: NAC | June 28, 2007 10:07 AM

I'm actually hoping to discover I'm the long-lost daughter of a Rockefeller...

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 10:16 AM

Foamgnome: agree on the math - and related subjects - but beware. That's not a major that slots nicely into the hiring plans of a lot of companies.

My first degree is in Physics (with a dual major in Math), because I like the topic. But what do you do with a BS in Physics? The oil companies at the time were willing to cross-train me as a petroleum engineer; I could have a career working offshore on boats and rigs. Or I could have gone to grad school and gotten a PhD in Physics. But those appeared to be my only two options at the time, so I went to grad school in statistics and Comp Sci/Comp Engineering. Coming out of grad school, I fit more neatly into hiring plans, so I had any number of good job offers.

Posted by: Army Brat | June 28, 2007 10:17 AM

I'm living the workaholic-boss life right now. For the record, I'm in academia, not law or business. I'm an administrator, my boss is an executive at a large private university, and his idea of a workweek is 12-hr/6 day/let your SAH spouse manage the home front. His commute is 15 minutes, on foot.

I don't have a spouse, SAH or otherwise, to manage my house. My commute is over an hour each way on the subway, and not having a six-figure salary, I can't afford to live any closer. I can reliably be found in my office 8am-6pm; I take work home every weekend. I recently took a vacation day to catch up on my laundry. My last "vacation" was devoted to helping my elderly parents, when I wasn't checking voicemail and responding to email. This is typical of other employees in my department as well.

I like the work I do, but what I'd like even more is some acknowledgement from the top that I'm working my tail off, it's okay to take the occasional day off without an electronic leash, and without a lecture on what a slacker I've turned into. I guess this is what gets me most: I'm busting my hump, please acknowledge! An "attagirl" and a day off would be more appreciated than money at this point.

My boss' only child lives on the other coast and never calls, and my boss wonders why.

Posted by: BxNY | June 28, 2007 10:22 AM

I am circling just offshore, near a ski ramp.

Posted by: Mako | June 28, 2007 10:24 AM

"Yesterday I left the house before 7am and didn't get home until after 7pm -- with no break for food.

Today I am sitting in shorts working out of my house.

Many jobs are not marathons -- they are a series of short sprints. If you follow Bloomberg's advice when needed and put the nose to the grindstone when it can make a difference, you will probably rise to the top faster than others. That doesn't mean you need to lose your sense of balance over the long haul.

[As my cross country coach used to say, sprint up the hills but coast coming down.]

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 09:29 AM "

Even one day of that would be too much because I'm a mom. My son needs to be picked up from camp, dinner needs to be made...stories need to be read...hugs need to be given...and despite the fact that my husband could do all of that with me...I'm not going to give up even a single evening together with my family for a job! No way....

Posted by: kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:26 AM

"Yesterday I left the house before 7am and didn't get home until after 7pm -- with no break for food.

Today I am sitting in shorts working out of my house.

Many jobs are not marathons -- they are a series of short sprints. If you follow Bloomberg's advice when needed and put the nose to the grindstone when it can make a difference, you will probably rise to the top faster than others. That doesn't mean you need to lose your sense of balance over the long haul.

[As my cross country coach used to say, sprint up the hills but coast coming down.]

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 09:29 AM "

Even one day of that would be too much because I'm a mom. My son needs to be picked up from camp, dinner needs to be made...stories need to be read...hugs need to be given...and despite the fact that my husband could do all of that without me...I'm not going to give up even a single evening together with my family for a job! No way....

Posted by: kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:26 AM

"I am circling just offshore, near a ski ramp.

Posted by: Mako | June 28, 2007 10:24 AM "

And you're about to jump! Isn't this joke getting old?????????????????? Enough already.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 10:31 AM

I'm not going to give up even a single evening together with my family for a job! No way....

Now there's the can-do spirit that built this country!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 10:32 AM

I'm not going to give up even a single evening together with my family for a job! No way....

Now there's the can-do spirit that built this country!

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 10:32 AM

HUH! We build this country at work. Not by being home and nurturing our families and children? Hmmmm...will the country I help build take care of my family for me? Would I want them to?

Posted by: Kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:35 AM

katoo

"Even one day of that would be too much because I'm a mom. My son needs to be picked up from camp, dinner needs to be made...stories need to be read...hugs need to be given...and despite the fact that my husband could do all of that with me...I'm not going to give up even a single evening together with my family for a job! No way...."

That's why I won't hire you! When I ask you to work 2 hours late one evening and offer you 4 hours of comp time, you turn it down with the above speech. Then you wonder why I won't "give you more responsibility" and "let you use your education" by promoting you. Bonuses and other perks for clock watchers? No way!

And the slacker attitude doesn't change when the kids move out! It seems to get worse.

Darwin was so right!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 10:35 AM

I'm not going to give up even a single evening together with my family for a job!

------------------------------------

Aren't you at least a bit glad that there are some doctors and nurses that think otherwise. Do you think there should be no school events outside of normal work hours that inconvenience the families of the teachers? Do you ever take your kids out for icecream or run errands outside of 8-5. You may not want to work then but implying that people who do don't care as much for their families is rude. (Unless of course you really don't use any services provided outside the 8-5 window).

Posted by: to kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:35 AM

"I'd like even more is some acknowledgement from the top that I'm working my tail off..."

The only thanks that makes a difference to me in my job is clearly printed on the upper right hand portion of the paycheck.

Instead of working hard, try working smart.

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 28, 2007 10:37 AM

To all the naysayers...I'm very, very fortunate to have a job where we all believe family comes first. Everyone in my department leaves at the end of the workday. Some are moms, who want to go home and spend time with their families. Some are single...and exercise and have interesting hobbies. And we've all stayed! No one leaves our department... everyone stays and is happy. We're also one of the most productive departments in the entire company...and that's highly valued! And a big part of that high productivity, happiness, and long tenures is the fact that all of our lives are very balanced!

Posted by: kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:42 AM

How much do you want your kids teachers, doctors, etc. to think of how they earn a paycheck as just a job that pays for the things that are actually important in their lives? Not everyone out there just pushes papers around.

Posted by: Question | June 28, 2007 09:48 AM

Amen to that! Ask any teacher who has stayed with it for any length of time -- most of us will refer to teaching as a calling. If it was all about the money, we would be selling textbooks instead. The hours are excessive, in relation to the pay, and we get a few sick days and no vacation (of course, we do get most of the summer...thank heaven!), but making a difference is important to us.

That being said, not every school is run by a principal who understands that teachers DO have at least a semblance of life after school. I worked for a nun for one year. Talk about living to work! She lived in a convent attached to the school and she was an incredible control freak. She didn't understand why we needed any 'free' periods at all, and she actually allowed less planning time than the archdiocese called for. I mean, we could just stay until 6:00 and work, or grade papers for three hours every night, right?

To cite one example, the 'librarians' were not actual librarians; they were parents who were there to check out books and shelve items. They couldn't handle the children, so the teacher had to stay with the class. However, I was not allowed to just let the students (6th grade) choose books for the week; I had to listen to oral book reports each week, on a theme of the principal's choosing (each student had to give one per marking period), and the students had about 10 minutes to choose a book for the week. Most schools consider library to be a special, and a planning period for the teacher. Oh, and the copier was under lock and key; if we wanted copies (of tests ONLY thank you very much), we had to leave them in a box the day before, and hope that the parent volunteer managed to get to ours. If I wanted copies of anything else, I had to provide my own paper and beg the secretaries for a ditto master, then run off the dittos myself (in an unventilated closet-sized room; 100 dittos at a time actually does give you a slight ink high, you know).

The final straw was when my uncle died. I knew better than to ask off for the funeral, but I wanted to go to the viewing. It was held one day, until 6:00 p.m. Well, that day was the day of out weekly faculty meeting, which was scheduled to run long because of someone giving a presentation. I couldn't even leave early to go to the funeral home! A few weeks later, one of the teachers lost her husband, during Easter break. Of course, I had every intention of visiting at the funeral home -- but I was called and told what times I was 'scheduled' to be there, and what I was 'scheduled' to bring to the lunch after the funeral the next day, down to the recipe I was to pick up and follow. I couldn't attend the funeral, because I had family commitments, and I got reamed out for not coming to the funeral, even though I provided the dish I was 'asked' to provide.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 10:43 AM

And truly, unless you're a police officer, retail employee, nurse, etc. and you work in a regular office (not some job where you're delivering kidneys to patients are dying) why does anything need to get done after hours???????? Why can't it wait until morning?

Posted by: kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:46 AM

For me, before I had kids I threw myself completely into work I loved. The upside was that by the time I had children, I was good at what I did and didn't have to prove myself or my dedication to anyone. And I was able to be more efficient at my work because I knew how to do it. So no-one gave my any trouble when I started to cut back. Timing was everything.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 10:46 AM

again - in the vast majority of cases maybe that your scenario is for the better. But I am really that my Dad's heart surgeon appeared to live (at least in large part) for his job. I hope that he will always look back in satisfaction at the good he accomplished in the many hours he worked. He certainly deserves to. I also was fortunate to have many teachers who were willing to make some sacrifices for their jobs. Like with SAHM debate you do not need to denigrate the choices of others to justify your own.

Posted by: to kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:47 AM

Years ago, there weren't computers, email, and fax machines. Things were typed. Proposals and papers were mailed. Nothing got done right away!!!! When did we pick up the pace? And was it really necessary?

Posted by: Kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:48 AM

Like with SAHM debate you do not need to denigrate the choices of others to justify your own.

Posted by: to kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:47 AM

I'm not denigrating anyone's choices. I'm just advocating for mine ;)

Posted by: kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:51 AM

on average we have not picked up the pace
http://www.slate.com/id/2161309/

Posted by: leisure | June 28, 2007 10:53 AM

Quit being a luddite!

Posted by: to kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:54 AM


"I'm not denigrating anyone's choices. I'm just advocating for mine ;)"

Can you give us a little more background on what type of job you have that 'waiting until morning' in all cases doesn't really matter?

I've never worked in that type of environment.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 10:54 AM

I've found that the best way to deal with workaholics is just to have a frank conversation about it ... early on if possible. I opened a conversation about this topic with my last workaholic boss once by throwing out this line (on my way out the door for the day.) I said something like:

"I notice a lot of us frequently spend time in the office taking care of business. Please know that if you need me, just say so and I'll be here for you at any hour. But if I don't hear from you and there's no pressing issues on my plate, I'm assuming there's no fire and I can resume work tomorrow."

This usually opens the door for the boss to lay his/her desires on the line. Most folks won't openly tell you to stay late all the time. (Even if they secretly wish you did. But once it's on the table, they don't have a reason to complain if they don't speak up.)

And for the ones that do tell you they like their employees to burn the midnight oil, let that be a warning to you ... it might be best to take Steamed's advice (above.)

Speaking of Steamed comments:
---------
Steamed:

Lemme guess ... you're ummm SINGLE, aren'tcha?!?!

Where do you work again? (Just wanna make sure I don't apply there.)

P.S. Lemme know how it turns out when, after you've "given it your all," your boss fires you because of "management by objective". With a strong work ethic like yours, I'm sure it won't phase you a bit.

What a GREAT LEADER you are!

Posted by: Wealthy in more ways than one | June 28, 2007 10:55 AM

To all the naysayers...I'm very, very fortunate to have a job where we all believe family comes first. Everyone in my department leaves at the end of the workday. Some are moms, who want to go home and spend time with their families. Some are single...and exercise and have interesting hobbies. And we've all stayed! No one leaves our department... everyone stays and is happy. We're also one of the most productive departments in the entire company...and that's highly valued! And a big part of that high productivity, happiness, and long tenures is the fact that all of our lives are very balanced!

Posted by: kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:42 AM

Kattoo, I think if more bosses took the attitude of your department manager, we wouldn't even need to have this debate! Spending more time doesn't mean you work better -- it just means you work longer.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 10:56 AM

"I'm not denigrating anyone's choices. I'm just advocating for mine ;)"

Can you give us a little more background on what type of job you have that 'waiting until morning' in all cases doesn't really matter?

I've never worked in that type of environment.

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 10:54 AM

________________

I work in marketing. If it gets done today, or tomorrow, it doesn't matter. I just have deadlines to meet, and they're very reasonable. I always work super hard on the front end of projects and get them done early so I never put myself in a pickel where I have to stay late.

Posted by: kattoo | June 28, 2007 11:00 AM

Kattoo, I think if more bosses took the attitude of your department manager, we wouldn't even need to have this debate! Spending more time doesn't mean you work better -- it just means you work longer.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 10:56 AM
______________________

It's very true! The jobs my department does require a high degree of creativity...and you can't do that on demand for hours on end or your productivity starts to decline. But you knwo what, I think all jobs are like that. Humans aren't made to work long days. We need to get out, breathe the fresh air, have down time, get exercise, and get sleep (on balance, most Americans are sleep deprived, which isn't healthy). If more people slept, got exercise, and spent time with loved ones we'd all be healthier and happier!

Posted by: Kattoo | June 28, 2007 11:03 AM

I enjoyed the Penelope Trunk quote since I regularly read her blog. Particularly relevant to me was the phrase about running from a boss that says the work is his/her family. I actually don't think I've ever worked for a boss who wasn't slightly (at least) obsessed with the job, I guess that's why they are the boss. Penelope writes a lot about this, about not vying for promotions because maybe that is not what you want, maybe you want to keep doing the tasks you have now but another perk would be more valuable to you.
I just know that at my last job the bosses told me that the workplace was like a family. While that had good sides, and meant a casual workplace, it also had a lot of negatives that I won't detail. The next time I am job searching I will think carefully before accepting such another position.

Posted by: liz | June 28, 2007 11:03 AM

I would like to take this on a new spin. As the successful wife of an enlisted military man, I am the bread-winner. Do I work long hours? No, I'm fortunate enough not to have to do that. My job puts family first, and completely forbids overtime.

However, my husband puts in long hours, not for the money, but because of his dedication to his country and his belief in serving it. He often "works long hours" (more like weeks) when he is sent to other states for month long training exercises, and will soon be deployed for an entire year. During any training exercise and obviously during deployments our contact is very limited. Does he complain? No, only when he has to go for days in the field without showering. He knew what he signed up for, and accepts the responsibilities of the job. Do I feel he is picking family over his job...maybe... However, the pride I feel for him far outweighs any negative feelings I may have for our time apart.

This may be a unique example, but I feel it can be applied across the board. In most cases you can see what life will be like before you accept a position. You just have to decide if it is what you want.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 11:11 AM

"The jobs my department does require a high degree of creativity...and you can't do that on demand for hours on end or your productivity starts to decline. But you knwo what, I think all jobs are like that. Humans aren't made to work long days."

No, not all jobs are like that.

Many jobs have tight deadlines and can't easily be split into nice 8-5 segments.

Increased productivity can and does translate into business efficiencies that make firms more competitive. Often, that is the difference between success and failure in small firms.

As a manager, I am willing to pay a premium for individuals who will help increase our business bottom line. In my field, that means that they need to be able to handle 'short sprints' that may include travel, after-hours work, weekend work. I've found that the premium in pay is sufficient to attract the people I need [Of the 25 people reporting to me, none make less than $100k -- most make at least 150k -- and some make around 200k].

All of them work out of their home -- all of them are married -- and most of them have kids. I don't believe any of them would feel that their work-life balance is out of whack.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 11:13 AM

kattoo

"And truly, unless you're a police officer, retail employee, nurse, etc. and you work in a regular office (not some job where you're delivering kidneys to patients are dying) why does anything need to get done after hours???????? Why can't it wait until morning?"

That's the reason I won't hire you! You have no imagination!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 11:16 AM

All of them work out of their home -- all of them are married -- and most of them have kids. I don't believe any of them would feel that their work-life balance is out of whack.

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 11:13 AM

_______________

As Dr. Phil would say, "that sounds like it's working well for you." I have a good salary, near $100,000--but not quite there. But that's fine. I have no travel and set work hours...and that "works well for me."

Posted by: Kattoo | June 28, 2007 11:16 AM

kattoo

"And truly, unless you're a police officer, retail employee, nurse, etc. and you work in a regular office (not some job where you're delivering kidneys to patients are dying) why does anything need to get done after hours???????? Why can't it wait until morning?"

That's the reason I won't hire you! You have no imagination!

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 11:16 AM

___________

And I'm sure I wouldn't be happy working for you. But this is a silly discussion since I'm not interviewing for a job working for you. I have a job...you have a job... What do you want?

Posted by: Kattoo | June 28, 2007 11:18 AM

You expect your kids to WANT to go to the school you work for just fot the tuition reasons? No need for college planning? What if they don't want? Bummed.

Posted by: to JDS | June 28, 2007 11:19 AM

"Even one day of that would be too much because I'm a mom. My son needs to be picked up from camp, dinner needs to be made...stories need to be read...hugs need to be given...and despite the fact that my husband could do all of that with me...I'm not going to give up even a single evening together with my family for a job! No way...."

I'm pretty much in Shandra's boat (DH is in an industry with no "give"). If I were to go back to work and was asked to stay late, it wouldn't be a matter of missing hugs and stories; the issue would be that there would be no one to get my child from camp. DH would not be able to do it. The only way to make it work would be to have a nanny or au pair for childcare and ask that person in turn to work extra hours at the last minute. This is why I will have to find a job that has set hours. This makes me a slacker?

That's the thing about having a high demand job and children. The flexibility of an employee to an employer is supported on the back of another person--whether a SAHspouse or a childcare provider. Because my DH has a high demand job, I cannot give 110% as I did before we had children.

I hope to be able to find work at some point that can be done productively within set hours. Clearly, this won't be in an environment where there are clients with last minute demands. I accept that the financial rewards and level of responsibility will not be the same as it would if I did not have caregiver constraints.

Posted by: anon for today | June 28, 2007 11:19 AM

"That's why I won't hire you! When I ask you to work 2 hours late one evening and offer you 4 hours of comp time, you turn it down with the above speech. Then you wonder why I won't "give you more responsibility" and "let you use your education" by promoting you. Bonuses and other perks for clock watchers? No way!

And the slacker attitude doesn't change when the kids move out! It seems to get worse."

I see a lot of the problem being what people consider the slacker attitude. I work full time 40 hours per week. I give 100% most days, some 95% (on this blog a little too much). I am in IT, but hourly, not salaried. I occasionally stay late, but it is rare. There are other people here who stay late more often and more is expected of them - guess what? - they get paid more than I do. I don't care, they are working longer and have more responsibility. I am doing exactly what is expected of me (40 hour work week). i work very hard and produce high quality work. I also have a life outside of work.

I don't resent my co-workers being paid more because they work more. I would resent being pressured to work more because I don't want to. That doesn't make me a slacker. I do get bonuses for the work I do, not based on what someone else is doing.

If you are hiring someone you expect to work extra hours, that's fine as long as you make it completely clear in the interview. Then the worker can choose whether or not to accept those terms. If enough people make it clear they won't work under those conditions, then businesses may start to change the culture. Maybe hire more people to spread the work around, maybe set more reasonable deadlines. Of course, the workers will have to accept that someone working 40 hours will be paid less than someone working 50 hours.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 11:21 AM

"If you are hiring someone you expect to work extra hours, that's fine as long as you make it completely clear in the interview. Then the worker can choose whether or not to accept those terms."

_______________

A few years ago, I interviewed for a job and asked what the expectation was. She said 10 hour days. I thanked her for her time and left.

Posted by: Kattoo | June 28, 2007 11:24 AM

ISTM that once children enter into the equation, one of the two parents (if there are two raising the child) has to have a flexible schedule that can handle doctor's appointments, snow days, sudden illnesses, etc. It doesn't really matter which one, but someone will need to be the 'on call' parent and able to take time off on a regular basis, and have stable working hours.

Both parents with high-pressure, work intensive jobs, however, just doesn't IMO look workable without outside assistance (nanny, au pair, whatever).

Posted by: John L | June 28, 2007 11:25 AM

Although my work is very much a part of my identity, I've always been pretty adamant about having a balance. This was true before marriage and family. I just thought it was important for me to have things outside of work. Those are my values.

Frankly, I think there's some degree of maintaining balance that's up to the individual employee. I am no fan of workplaces that have a strict culture of working long hours (though that may be okay with some people). However, but I also see that within a given organization, some employees are able to maintain balance and others are not. For those who are not, and yet complain about their long hours, it is often clear that they are putting that pressure on themselves. As employees, it's important to know that many managers will take whatever you're willing to give.

My sense is that you need to stand up for yourself and work the hours that make sense for you. If you are a good worker, that will be seen and appreciated (and that gives you even more room to be protective of your free time). Obviously, some workers don't have nearly this level of flexibility with their bosses, and have no way of defending thesmelves without risking their jobs. But many of the "professional" folks I know do have that option, but seem too afraid to take it.

Posted by: DC Mom | June 28, 2007 11:25 AM

11:11 am.

I just don't know what to say to your post other than completely agree with it. You may win two rides in the creepy van!

Fred

Son of an enlisted man & enlisted woman
enlisted man once upon a time
father of enlisted woman

(grandson of an officer--well life cannot be perfect!)

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 11:27 AM

If you really need the job, you stick with it until you find something better.

How do you know when the CEO is setting a toxic precedence? When you see yourself, and everyone around you, turning into basketcases. Time to cut costs and find something that won't lead to your untimely demise.

I had a job and a boss that was awful. It took me a year to find a new one that met my criteria. I sent my resume out and about like it was a party favour. It was worth it. But I gotta tell you, I knew I HAD to find another job when I kept having the same recurring happy dream--I threw him off the 6th floor and watched him go "splat". What was worse, this guy had alienated so many others in the building, I probably COULD have done that, served time and still made a profit--there were many who would have donated to my defense.

It didn't come to that, fortunately.

Maalox isn't supposed to be a mandatory beverage; not if you have other options.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 11:33 AM

educmom--

You said, "Most schools consider library to be a special, and a planning period for the teacher."

I'll have look for the reference later, but I believe the Virginia Dept. of Education requires the classroom teacher to remain with the class during library time (at least in public schools). The idea is that the professional school librarian and the classroom teacher will work together to support the students in getting the most out of the library curriculum.

The reality is that many school principals do not truly support school librarians as full faculty members though they are required to have full teaching certification with a library specialty. From what I hear, teachers treat library time as an opportunity to have time for curriculum development or correcting time. Having the teachers work with the school librarians would be the ideal in terms of giving students the research skills to support their classroom work.

That said, I am sympathetic to the lack of time teachers have to do the work necessary for planning and grading. I just don't think I care to do school library work in that kind of environment.

Posted by: Marian | June 28, 2007 11:38 AM

"Yet Bloomberg has always been a philanthropist, giving millions to educational institutions and medical research long before ascending to City Hall in 2001. His office said Tuesday that Bloomberg donated $139.3 million of his fortune to 843 organizations last year. Not only is this a few million dollars up on the previous year, but there are signs that the Mayor's social consciousness is broadening; he spread $135.6 million to 653 groups in 2003.

Amongst the 2004 recipients are the arts, museums, parks, ethnic minorities, children, medical research, schools, the homeless, abortion rights and gays."

Posted by: here's to Bloomberg | June 28, 2007 09:37 AM

Bloomberg gives huge amounts of money. He gave so much to Johns Hopkins School of Public Health that it is now the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Just one little "minor" gift he gave to the school was something like 34 million to start a new department. This is in addition to millions he already gave to the school.

I'm not sure whether to be impressed or think that it's obscene for one person to control so much.

Posted by: dai | June 28, 2007 11:40 AM

Immigration Bill just went down in flames. Great day for America!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 11:40 AM

"The Man Who Mistook His Job for a Life" is a fast read, for anyone who is interested.

The author made his formal apologies to Oliver Sacks for bastardizing his title, and vastly superior book, in the preface.

Sorry Fred, it's not Fitzgerald!

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 11:41 AM

Interesting topic. I enjoy the act of working itself, though lately not so much my job (I am waiting a transfer that is taking way too long and burning out a little). There is an assumption here that except for a few cases, everyone who "works hard" usually works 10 hours of OT a week. The rest of us "slackers" merely put in 40 hours a week.

I don't have kids, and am young and married, but have usually 4-8 hours of class a week, sometimes during the middle of the day and drive a lot between work and school. I get a lot of the resentment I am sure many parents get. When I go to "lunch" which is really class, people seem to think I am getting a break or something. I am not getting paid for it, and my degree is directly related to my department so is helping the company at least as much as it will benefit me. I am sure many parents have the same problem, time at home by many clueless execs is considered "leisure" time. Ha! Don't they know we all have work outside of work?

Posted by: Miles | June 28, 2007 11:46 AM

I'm in a union that doesn't permit management to screw with labor - case closed.

Hasn't this topic been covered many times before on this blog? Does Brian read this blog? What an a$s wipe!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 11:47 AM

I'm in a union that doesn't permit management to screw with labor - case closed.

Hasn't this topic been covered many times before on this blog? Does Brian read this blog? What an a$s wipe!

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 11:47 AM

________

You're charming!

Posted by: Anon for this... | June 28, 2007 11:49 AM

time at home by many clueless execs is considered "leisure" time. Ha! Don't they know we all have work outside of work?

Posted by: Miles | June 28, 2007 11:46 AM

No Miles, you see they have a monopoly on the cleaning fairies, house elfs (elves?), and assorted magical personnel.

Sometimes they title them "spouse", other times it's "consort".

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 11:50 AM

Here is what I have to say about workaholics: never underestimate or misjudge the real reason why they work. When I was in college, I'd work extra hours when I could just so I wouldn't have to be around those poison people who were my roomates. When I graduated and got a job, I worked longer hours so that I wouldn't have to go straight home, since our apartment was small, the neighborhood wasn't stellar and my mother was very needy and wouldn't let me get any rest anyway. A year later, I still sometimes come in early and stay late because I don't have anything better to do on weeknights, and because I was raised to believe that rest=laziness, so therefore, I work myself to the brink of mental and physical exhaustion before I say that's enough. It's bad, but behind every habit there's a reason.

Posted by: Just Me, Thank You | June 28, 2007 11:50 AM

*off-topic alert!*

I now find myself wondering what a consortium of consorts looks like...

Anyone else looking forward to the next Harry Potter movie, or book? I know I am!

Err, excuse me, the KIDS are excited. I have matured beyond such matters.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 11:52 AM

And truly, unless you're a police officer, retail employee, nurse, etc. and you work in a regular office (not some job where you're delivering kidneys to patients are dying) why does anything need to get done after hours???????? Why can't it wait until morning?

Posted by: kattoo | June 28, 2007 10:46 AM

There's no way to explain global competition and client expectations to someone this determined to be an ostrich.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 11:54 AM

"There's no way to explain global competition and client expectations to someone this determined to be an ostrich.""

Yo, Fred

I nominate for the Quote of the Day!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 11:57 AM

I am struggling with this right now. Before becoming a parent, I enjoyed work, but was never one who wanted to be there 24/7. Now, I am different, what I want is different, and I am suprised about what I want and don't want to do with my life. I am trying to find a way to shorten my commute, live on less (and I was a penny-pincher before my kid-thank goodness), and "work to live," even more than before her arrival. I view her as a blessing in so many ways, including teaching me that life is about the small every day things--her first smile, laugh, roll, tossing her bowl of food across the room (and my laughing about it as it lands on my clean floor!), etc.

That being said, I also don't want to be and can't be a SAHM and I see all of the wonderful benefits of her being in a great daycare environment, as I was when I was a child.

Having marketable skills and a way to bring in good health insurance and income are vital to my self-worth. But I do not want to work all of the time. At the end of the day I want to go home and play with my kid, and not have work get in the way of my fun--and that is not happening. So, a change is needed.

I hope to teach my child these values as well as the ability to plan for life's unexpected and wonderful changes in one's outlook on life.

Posted by: Nutty Mama | June 28, 2007 11:58 AM

I'm not sure whether to be impressed or think that it's obscene for one person to control so much.

Posted by: dai | June 28, 2007 11:40 AM
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The Gross Domestic Product of the U.S. in 2006 was $13.13 trillion. What Bloomberg controls ($5.5 billion) is not even a drop in the bucket!

(OK, in relative terms, yes I would not mind having even part of it, if I earned it!)

Posted by: I Love Capitalism | June 28, 2007 11:59 AM

Marian,
The librarian at the school where I now teach is certified with a library specialty. She has a curriculum that she follows, and she is flexible and accomodating - if, for example, we want the students to do research, or the November Book-It has a certain theme, she will set aside books or work with the children. I think she prefers to have the students meet with her without the teacher in the library.

Fortunately, I work in a school with a small faculty, and we all meet and discuss things informally, and we tend to do many of the same things year after year; it seems to make it easier for her, as she knows more or less what to expect from year to year. I must also say that we consider her to be a gem, and we all appreciate the good thing we have!

I can understand why the specials teachers feel undervalued in some schools -- you work with children from K to 5th grade or, in our school, 8th grade, you have specialized knowledge, you are the first class to be cancelled, or the first part of the budget to be cut, and there are classroom teachers who don't appreciate how much you do or need to know.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 12:00 PM

There's no way to explain global competition and client expectations to someone this determined to be an ostrich.

Perhaps, but let's not forget those upon whom many of us REALLY rely--plumbers, electricians and roofers! Not to mention police officers & nurses.

Kind of hard to outsource them. You may not always make great money (particularly nurses [KLBSS, I'm thinking of you!]), but goodness knows you always need them.

KLB--

The brother of a close friend of mine has cancer and will be spending much quality time within hospitals and with medical personnel. I advised her to make certain to show up regularly with a goody-basket for the nursing station. With real food, not just the kind of crud you can get out of a vending machine.

What do you want in YOUR basket?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 12:02 PM

Anyone else looking forward to the next Harry Potter movie, or book? I know I am!

Err, excuse me, the KIDS are excited. I have matured beyond such matters.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 11:52 AM

That's one great thing about teaching -- I HAVE to read the new Harry Potter book (you know, so I can be prepared for the inevitable book reports...I don't WANT to or anythng...)

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 12:05 PM

*off-topic alert 2*

That's one great thing about teaching -- I HAVE to read the new Harry Potter book (you know, so I can be prepared for the inevitable book reports...I don't WANT to or anythng...)

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 12:05 PM

Of course not... ;-)

I'm looking forward to the one silent weekend of the year. At least two of us will be reading and shooing family away with, "SHH! Unless there's a fire, a bone sticking out, or an artery spurting it is NOT IMPORTANT!"

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 12:09 PM

educmom

How many times have you "enjoyed" a report on "A Catcher in the Rye?"

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 12:10 PM

Md Mom:
Hope you get your legal issues resolved from last week.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 12:15 PM

educmom

How many times have you "enjoyed" a report on "A Catcher in the Rye?"

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 12:10 PM

Can you at least steer them to Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man"?

What about "Franny & Zoey", instead of "Catcher"? Or maybe "Stephen Hero" by James Joyce. Gotta shake things up a little, right?

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 12:16 PM

Fred,
Somehow, I have managed to completely avoid that book -- I've never taught high school, I was never assigned it in high school or college, and I have not read it on my own, because I'm just not interested. My sons both had to read it, though, and I've seen the SparkNotes; son #2, to my eternal shame, HATES to read, and spends inordiante mental energy on book avoidance -- it's almost like a phobia!
I have a feeling the "enjoyment" would compare unfavorbly with that of a root canal.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 12:18 PM

No Miles, you see they have a monopoly on the cleaning fairies, house elfs (elves?), and assorted magical personnel.

Sometimes they title them "spouse", other times it's "consort".


Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 11:50 AM

Ha! I love it! Do they have calculus and physics faeries? And yes *blush* looking forward to next HP movie...

Posted by: Miles | June 28, 2007 12:21 PM

Another perspective on Bloomberg:

Apparently, even tho he may be a workaholic, the conventional wisdom is that his company doesn't do all that well financially in a wall street sense - which is why he never brought the company public.

He keeps all the profits now, which are substantial, but if he sold stock, the public would apparently see how a not so good investment it is (i.e., profit margin is very low).

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 12:22 PM

I teach fourth graders, so there are some terrific books I can't teach, because the students aren't ready for them.
One book I think all midle-schoolers should read is Lord of the Flies. Son #2 had to read that in seventh grade, and I read it along with him (it was the only way to get him to read it) -- and, if the schools don't assign it, students should be, um, encouraged by their parents to read it anyway.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 12:25 PM

I teach fourth graders, so there are some terrific books I can't teach, because the students aren't ready for them.
One book I think all midle-schoolers should read is Lord of the Flies. Son #2 had to read that in seventh grade, and I read it along with him (it was the only way to get him to read it) -- and, if the schools don't assign it, students should be, um, encouraged by their parents to read it anyway.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 12:25 PM

I agree, Lord of the Flies had a serious impact on me. [Catcher in the Rye just didn't live up the hype, wasn't impressed.]

Posted by: Miles | June 28, 2007 12:31 PM

Oh, I loved catcher in the rye. One of my faves growing up - I read it a zillion times.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 12:32 PM

educmom

"son #2, to my eternal shame, HATES to read, and spends inordiante mental energy on book avoidance -- it's almost like a phobia! "

Is he the one that texts to that Jesus dude in church?

I also have then Son of Man, or is it the Isle of Man? on my speed dial.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 12:33 PM

Sister Joel told us that we could read "Catcher" if we wanted but she was bored hearing reports on it. So she suggested "Jude the Obscure" for me instead.

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 12:34 PM

re: Harry Potter

I've read the first 6 books of the series. The first one, the Sourcer's Stone, was purchased as a audio book and our whole family listened to it on a 12 hour road from Alabama to NoVA.

My daughter and I often use the characters of JK Rowling to describe her teachers. Last year, she had Snape for chemistry.

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 28, 2007 12:42 PM

"son #2, to my eternal shame, HATES to read, and spends inordiante mental energy on book avoidance -- it's almost like a phobia! "

Is he the one that texts to that Jesus dude in church?

Yes....I think he may have taken one too many hits on the field -- I mean, the footbll field! Funny thing, partying piercing tattoo artsy son #1 was actually in the adult choir -- yes, he was, in fact, a choirboy!

Fred,
Sister Joel was wise. It does get BORRRRING to read 30 (or 90) reports onthe same book, year after year. I haven't gotten all my summer books for the beach yet; I haven't read that one, and I try to pick up a few classics every summer that I missed along the way. I think I'll add that one to the list.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 12:47 PM

Interesting that the "Work Obsessed" topic went down the tubes so quickly...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 12:54 PM

Early out of college, I worked for a white collar sweat shop--a small publishing company. We had periods of time where we worked insane hours (the only day we had off in January was SuperBowl Sunday). And none of us were paid overtime.

Anyhow, we made the owner a millionaire by the time he was 30. After three years, I left to work for a much better known company. I figured I had paid my dues.

When I came to Arizona, I was seeking a work/life balance that I couldn't find in the metro WDC area, and I have found it. I put in some overtime during the legislative session, but I can take work home if necessary. When the legislature is out, I can take time off.

For some people, work IS their life. That's their choice, and I respect that choice. What I don't respect is someone like that who looks down his/her nose at me. I feel very comfortable with my personal and professional accomplishments, and the only person I answer to is my boss. I frequently deliver results above and beyond what he expects of me. I simply don't need 80 hours per week to do this.

Posted by: single western mom | June 28, 2007 12:55 PM

re: Harry Potter

I've read the first 6 books of the series. The first one, the Sourcer's Stone, was purchased as a audio book and our whole family listened to it on a 12 hour road from Alabama to NoVA.

My daughter and I often use the characters of JK Rowling to describe her teachers. Last year, she had Snape for chemistry.

Posted by: Lil Husky | June 28, 2007 12:42 PM

I can remember when "The Mind's Eye" was still in business and my parents (mom), bought a bunch of their audiotapes. I really, really enjoyed long drives with "The Hobbit" and "The Lord of the Rings" series. They weren't simply read, they were audio plays, complete with sound effects for sword fights, etc.

Educmom,

Any chance your boy would enjoy "reading" some of the mandatory stuff in that manner?

Ooh, I think I can now scoot this back "on-topic" by suggesting that one way to deal with the stress of long hours at the office is to have some great books on the ipod, or whatever.

I'm guessing that playing "Lingo Bingo" is frowned upon.

*ahem*

Not that I ever livened up a lab meeting by distributing lingo bingo cards. Nope. Not me.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 12:59 PM

Brian,

"My old CEO, Mike Bloomberg, made the papers the other day."

My CEO, the President of the United States of America, makes the papers every day.

Posted by: Elaine | June 28, 2007 12:59 PM

to Elaine:

Yeah, but Brian's former CEO has much better press than your current CEO...

Posted by: single western mom | June 28, 2007 1:02 PM

educmom--

Thanks for the window into how things work at your school regarding teachers and school librarians. I'm encouraged to hear that there's a good working relationship there. I suspect a lot about the working dynamics in a school depends on the principal and how well teachers are supported.

Getting certified for schools is something I would consider for the future. I think there's room for passion and dedication in such a career that would not necessarily require long hours at the school. I have a lot more research to do though. Luckily, librarians tend to be generous about sharing experiences. Thanks again for the thoughtful response.

Posted by: Marian | June 28, 2007 1:06 PM

Brian,

"My old CEO, Mike Bloomberg, made the papers the other day."

My CEO, the President of the United States of America, makes the papers every day.

Posted by: Elaine | June 28, 2007 12:59 PM

to Elaine:

Yeah, but Brian's former CEO has much better press than your current CEO...

Posted by: single western mom | June 28, 2007 01:02 PM

For one thing, he's far more generous with his money than Bush in regards to charitable donations. Hmm, so is Gates.

I find that interesting.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 1:08 PM

Well, Sister Joel kicked the habit after we graduated from HS. I guess she got sick of it! (Catcher, that is!)

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 1:08 PM

2 rides in the creepy van? why?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 1:20 PM

While I sort of agree with the old chestnut that "On the deathbed, no one regrets not spending more time at the office," people might regret a (lack of) professional accomplishments at the end of their lives. Not that they're mutually exclusive, but careers are inherently important to many of us and there's nothing wrong with that.

Posted by: PAMom | June 28, 2007 1:24 PM

For one thing, he's far more generous with his money than Bush in regards to charitable donations. Hmm, so is Gates.

I find that interesting.

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 01:08 PM

Hey, but Bush is very generous in giving Mike Bloomberg a tax break that our kids will be paying off for years to come

Posted by: single western mom | June 28, 2007 1:29 PM

2 rides in the creepy van? why?

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 01:20 PM

One for her outstanding post. The second because I know (like many others) what it is like to be far away from home on deployment and what it is like to have a loved one far away from home on deployment.

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 1:47 PM

Actually, I believe that bush's tax returns indicate he gives away quite a bit of money. He doesn't have as much as bloomberg to give away.

By my posts you may think I'm not a fan. Nothing could be further from the truth. Everything I've heard him say has me impressed. I'd support him for prez, possibly.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 1:51 PM

ProudPapa: didja know people actually uploaded videos of ducks onto youtube? My 2 YO loves it. He points to the puter now and says: 'ducks!'

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 09:43 AM

atlmom - I had indeed done some hunting on YouTube. They have some pretty amusing renditions of little kids singing nursery school songs. The baby boy and I both laugh hysterically at some of the home-movie type stuff of little kids singing.

Ain't technology grand?

Posted by: Proud Papa | June 28, 2007 1:57 PM

Sounds like Mike Bloomberg could be my next CEO. Cool.

Posted by: Elaine | June 28, 2007 1:58 PM

Maalox isn't supposed to be a mandatory beverage; not if you have other options.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 11:33 AM

Maryland Mother - I am not even going to attempt to top this one, LOL. I may even print and tack it to the built-in bulletin board backing on this crappy desk.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | June 28, 2007 1:59 PM

Maalox isn't supposed to be a mandatory beverage; not if you have other options.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 11:33 AM

Maryland Mother - I am not even going to attempt to top this one, LOL. I may even print and tack it to the built-in bulletin board backing on this crappy desk.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | June 28, 2007 01:59 PM

I'm blushing.

Will you be putting it next to "Get the whips out of the show ring and back in the bedroom, where they belong" too?

I live to liven up cube farm decor.

Posted by: Maryland Mother | June 28, 2007 2:04 PM

Maalox: Breakfast of Champions

Maalox: It's not just for breakfast any more.

Absolut Maalox?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 2:08 PM

Single western mom: if inly congress would stop spening our money foolishly ( and I don't mean the war btw) then it wouldn't matter about the tax cuts (that I agree with - they help fuel the economy and, by the way, have *increased* receipts to the treasury).

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 2:10 PM

I'm an artist. My best work usually flow quickly. It feels effortless and joyful to make. So I don't equate effort and long hours with success.

Posted by: Friend | June 28, 2007 2:12 PM

Re today's topic -- did anyone catch the article in the WSJ re "powerpoint dating." Totally depressing regarding what having relationships in a work obsessed American culture has come to. No wonder these folks don't find partners -- they're too self obsessed to focus their attentions on anyone else for even a few hours.

In my view, let them be rich and alone.

Posted by: IMHO Mom | June 28, 2007 2:13 PM

PA Mom and 11:11 have struck a theme that professional accomplishments and dedication to an objective beyond self and money may lead to being a bit work obsessed. As both point out, being work driven can be a positive in life. Certainly the work my wife does benefits us little financially but contributes to society at large. My job benefits us financially Ok but is basically invisible to the general public.

As a couple, I would like to believe that our combined financial and labor contributions make this world a bit better. This brings balance to our lives, that we both contribute in line with our strengths. I don't mind when Frieda has to work on weekends or spend many hours in the evening on the phone or meeting a client. I take pride in the accomplishments of my wife and express this to her. (Also to y'all, as you know!) I know that this brings balance to our lives in a way that I could not satisfy alone.

As 11:11 points out "the pride I feel for him far outweighs any negative feelings I may have for our time apart."

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 2:16 PM

discretionary spending is spending is a miniscule part of the budgest. Your choices are:
- defense
- paying interest on the debt
- medicare
- (social security is still paying for itself and then some)

How do you plan to fix the budget again?

Posted by: to atlmom | June 28, 2007 2:18 PM

ProudPapa: every day I'm amazed by the differences in my world and my kid's and how different a world they are growing up in.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 2:21 PM

My full retirement age is 67. I think it makes sense to gradually raise the age (max out around 70?) and cut back on some of the benefits to those who are pretty well-heeled. It's not like we haven't had a lifetime to at least try and stash away money, right?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 2:23 PM

Also, I LOVE what I do. Making art can be a tremendously rewarding and engaging experience. I love the idea of work as a game or a proving ground where we get to explore our ideas about life and who we are each day - increasing our skills over time - learning more about being human (whether our work is caring for children, making a beautiful object, growing food, supervising prisoners or running a country).

I always crave more studio time so it's unlikely I'll regret my time there when I die. I may well regret, though, all the time I've spent reading and writing to blogs (my favorite procrastination method). So on that note, off to the studio!

Have a beautiful day.

Posted by: Friend | June 28, 2007 2:25 PM

Also, I LOVE what I do. Making art can be a tremendously rewarding and engaging experience. I love the idea of work as a game or a proving ground where we get to explore our ideas about life and who we are each day - increasing our skills over time - learning more about being human (whether our work is caring for children, making a beautiful object, growing food, supervising prisoners or running a country).

I always crave more studio time so it's unlikely I'll regret my time there when I die. I may well regret, though, all the time I've spent reading and writing to blogs (my favorite procrastination method). So on that note, off to the studio!

Have a beautiful day.

Posted by: Friend | June 28, 2007 02:25 PM

If it pays your bills, that's terrific. If not, that's a hobby. We ALL enjoy our hobbies!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 2:26 PM

the kevin drum challenge (to a. Sullivan)...

. . . Bush's tax cuts haven't touched Social Security or Medicare taxes (and both programs run surpluses anyway). They've been solely cuts in personal and corporate income taxes, dividend taxes, and capital gains taxes. These are the taxes that fund discretionary spending.

Discretionary spending in 2005 was roughly $1 trillion. About half of that was for defense and national security, which Sullivan doesn't want to cut. That leaves $500 billion, which funds the entire rest of the federal government.

The federal deficit for 2005 was over $400 billion. So: if you support the tax cuts, and you don't want to cut defense spending, and you want a balanced budget, you need to slice about $400 billion out of the $500 billion that's left.

These are round numbers, but you get the idea. Cutting a few agricultural subsidies and eliminating Amtrak isn't going to do the trick. Even taking an axe to social welfare programs wouldn't do it. You'd need to eliminate about 80% of the federal government outside the Defense Department. So if Sullivan wants to be taken seriously, he needs to tell us just which 80% he wants to get rid of. The FBI? Prisons? EPA? The federal courts? Housing assistance? Highways? The National Institutes of Health?

Posted by: to atlmom | June 28, 2007 2:29 PM

I don't purport to know all the answers but clearly we can't afford to spend as much on entitlements as we have been but no one wants to speak the truth. In addition there are billions wasted annually on nothing.

Again lowering taxes recently increased receipts to the treasury above the wildest dreams of the CBO. So clearly raising taxes isn't the answer.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 2:31 PM

Did you forget that ten years ago we were running a surplus, with higher tax rates than we have now?

Posted by: To Atlmom | June 28, 2007 2:46 PM

the entitlements are currently in the black - they are likely to be an issue in the future (particularly medicare) but they do not explain are current problems.

There are billions wasted, but our deficit is not measured in billions. I agree that should be fixed, but that does not solve the fiscal problems created the past 6 years. You need to give me some fundamental non pork cuts. (If not 80% of the fed-gov't how about starting with 40%?)

p.s. the "extras" spending you are talking about went up not down with the Bush / R. congress. I will look for a link if you want.

Meanwhile I would love a link with any sort of numeric documentation of your last statement. It is not even remotely clear to me.

There is a reason why Bloomberg thinks there is space in the race for a *genuine* fiscal conservative. Wall Street may have some questions (which I think may say more about Wall Street) - but I think he has been a fiscal and competence wonder in nyc.

Posted by: to atlmom | June 28, 2007 2:46 PM

My thoughts re age at which one collects soc security benefits- it should be for those who can't work. 65 was life expectancy back 70 or 80 yrs ago when the program was implemented. So raising the age for benefits makes sense.
Live off your own savings for a while and / or get a job (why yes there's discrimination but you don't need to earn as much *and* I believe the discrimination is there partially *because* of the benefits age for soc security is what it is).

Just my two cents. Yes the feds should not be doing all the things they are doing.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 2:47 PM

That is a fine suggestion - when social security is NOT IN THE BLACK!!!! Social security taxes are projected to pull in more than they pay out until beyond 2030.

Or are you suggesting it is good to cut progressive taxes in favor of funding defense with the extra money from the regressive tax pot???

Posted by: to atlmom | June 28, 2007 2:50 PM

Certainly the work my wife does benefits us little financially but contributes to society at large.

Nope, it's all about the money on this blog.

Posted by: To Fred | June 28, 2007 2:51 PM

Fred

"Certainly the work my wife does benefits us little financially but contributes to society at large."

To Fred

"Nope, it's all about the money on this blog."


And shameless name dropping!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 2:55 PM

"My thoughts re age at which one collects soc security benefits- it should be for those who can't work"

How would you define who can't work? Only if you are disabled? What if you spent 40 years in a field that disappears - Should 60 somethings be re-educated and/or retrained? What if you have done manual labor your entire life - do you want a 75-year-old housepainter or an 80-year-old grocery clerk? What would you do with the people who have been working for 35 years and are planning to retire 5 years from now with SS benefits being one piece of the retirement income in addition to other savings and/or investments - would you pull the rug out from people within 5 years of retirement and take SS away?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 2:56 PM

Fred

I don't live my life to please others and I don't judge my life by the standards of this blog! Who cares what bunch of cyber strangers think?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 2:58 PM

Clinton was horrible with spending and then, when people thought it couldn't get worse-we got bush who is amazing in how much he is allowing congress to spend.

Actually, when *clinton* lowered the tax rates, greenspan testified to congress that receipts are up and then someone asked him what would happen if they went to zero? A rhetorical question really, and not supposed to be serious, but clearly the rates are not optimal (in terms of collecting revenue) if we can lower rates and tax receipts can increase.

I'm not in charge, but I do think the people who are could be doing a better job. They waste our money then ask for us to vote them back in and we do. 99 percent of the time I vote against the incumbent, but it doesn't help.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 2:59 PM

"Live off your own savings for a while and / or get a job"

Just what I want in my future - trying to get a job in my late 60's with bosses and co-workers who expect 50 hours or more per week or you're a slacker.

I suspect that many people who advocate elimination and/or restriction of entitlement programs haven't had the need of the program for themselves or their families. Millions of people would be living in poverty without SS.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 3:01 PM

Just my two cents. Yes the feds should not be doing all the things they are doing.

PLEASE be specific since they are 80% if you are not able to criticize defense...

The courts, the prison, the fbi (and other law enforcement officers)... pesky regulators at the SEC?... the CDC? the NIH?

The ed dept., NEA, and a bridge to nowhere in Alaska don't add to much.

Posted by: to atlmom | June 28, 2007 3:07 PM

Okay, lowering taxes (for the richest among us) has NOT, I repeat NOT resulted in an increase in Tax reciepts for the US Treasury.

atlmom, that is a horrendous distortion of facts and I ~dare~ you to find an unbiased source (e.g., CBO) that draws a causal relationship between lowering tax rates and increasing tax revenues.

Posted by: Random Guy | June 28, 2007 3:10 PM

A rhetorical question really, and not supposed to be serious, but clearly the rates are not optimal (in terms of collecting revenue) if we can lower rates and tax receipts can increase.

---------------------------------

And I am sure you adjusted for both inflation and population growth in these calculations?

Posted by: to atlmom | June 28, 2007 3:11 PM

Yup, people like her want all those agencies privatized, so people with the power can make profits by subverting impartiality and fairness.

Posted by: To to atlmom | June 28, 2007 3:13 PM

Fred

I don't live my life to please others and I don't judge my life by the standards of this blog! Who cares what bunch of cyber strangers think?

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 02:58 PM

Trust me, I know the true motivation of the cyber strangers, they just want a ride in the creepy van!

(and to be awarded Fred's Quote of the Day!)

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 3:13 PM

A rhetorical question really, and not supposed to be serious, but clearly the rates are not optimal (in terms of collecting revenue) if we can lower rates and tax receipts can increase.

---------------------------------

And I am sure you adjusted for both inflation and population growth in these calculations?

And to be a reasonable argument you have to exclude revenues from regressive payroll taxes. This was how they "rosied"
the Reagan era numbers which are all I seem to be finding.

Any credible link to data on these increases would be much appreciated.

Posted by: to atlmom | June 28, 2007 3:16 PM

Nope, it's all about the money on this blog.

Posted by: To Fred | June 28, 2007 02:51 PM

OK, let me suck up to the blog again. I do drive a NEW Infiniti.

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 3:16 PM

It's only a few yrs away from when soc security will not be putting so much money in the pot (ie there is no 'surplus-when the politicians see money they spend it- so it's all being spent) and in a few more yrs (not as far off as 2030) the contributions will decline so we're looking at more deficits unless something's done.

Actually, soc security defines disability, so that's taken care of. But really, I don't understand why people think it's the govts job to pay them. All I said was that we need to increase the age at which ppl get benefits. What is so terrible about that? And no it shouldn't happen tomorrow- but the change should happen gradually. Perhaps not changing for anyone over 50. But retirees get larger raises from COLA than you and I do from our companies. Is *that* 'fair'?

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 3:18 PM

Fred --

Jude the Obscure -- awesome book and a good choice.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | June 28, 2007 3:20 PM

"Perhaps not changing for anyone over 50. But retirees get larger raises from COLA than you and I do from our companies. Is *that* 'fair'?"

But retirees don't get bonuses. And I would guess that 3% increase to SS benefit is a heck of a lot less than your raise.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 3:22 PM

Wow my parents got a whopping 3 or 4% social security rais this year. Caviar for all!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 3:22 PM

Nope, no matter how much you earn, ths blog won't be satisfied until Frieda is out there earning, earning, earning the bug bucks too. Otherwise she's just a slacker in their eyes, or a SAHM in breastfeeder's clothing.

Posted by: To Fred | June 28, 2007 3:22 PM

Nope, no matter how much you earn, this blog won't be satisfied until Frieda is out there earning, earning, earning the big bucks too. Otherwise she's just a slacker in their eyes, or a SAHM in breastfeeder's clothing.

Posted by: To Fred | June 28, 2007 3:23 PM

Here is what lowering the Tax Rate does...

http://www.cbpp.org/3-29-07tax.htm

The rich get richer and the poor get squat. And, if you hadn't noticed, while GDP was skyrocketing over this period, so was the deficit, except under Clinton.

So exactly how in the hell can reasonable people argue that lowering the tax rate has produced anything but more Paris Hiltons?

And no, there is no evidence that the middle class is riding on Paris' coattails. Look at the graphs....

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 3:23 PM

"But really, I don't understand why people think it's the govts job to pay them."

SS is social insurance. You pay your payroll taxes and you get a benefit. It is an insurance policy, not a handout.

Warren Buffet recently said that he should be paying more taxes.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 3:25 PM

oh, yeah, their Medicare premium went up too. Filet-o-fish for all!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 3:25 PM

The thing about it is that she is basically a "SAHM in breastfeeder's clothing." This is not defined as a full time job despite the 40+ hours she puts in some weeks!

(Did I mention that she owns her own car in addition to my two?)

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 3:29 PM

The problem I have is that you are doing a bait and switch and answering questions about the CURRENT deficit with a possible solution to a FUTURE problem. You have stated an ideological position on taxes for which I have never seen a solid numeric argument. (Tom Delay made the statements you have made about revenues today - it wasn't true when he said it in 2004 and I am certainly still skeptical today). But you keep changing the question instead, I give up.

Posted by: to atlmom | June 28, 2007 3:30 PM

If you want to be fair, I think that spend-down of assets to qualify for Medicaid should be illegal. Why should someone who can afford to pay for their care be allowed to give their money away to family so that society can pay for their nursing home? Leaving money to your heirs is nice, but taking responsibility for your own medical expenses is nicer.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 3:32 PM

"SAHM in breastfeeder's clothing." Success on this blog is only measured in dollars. Helping others without earning a ton of money for it is disrespected around here.

Posted by: To Fred | June 28, 2007 3:33 PM

You have stated an ideological position on taxes for which I have never seen a solid numeric argument. (Tom Delay made the statements you have made about revenues today - it wasn't true when he said it in 2004 and I am certainly still skeptical today).
~~~~~~
That's because Delay was a liar and a cheat then and he's a liar and a cheat now.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 3:34 PM

Maryland Mother:

RE: Mandatory reading via books on tape -- I have considered that for him. I wasted a lot of hot air over the years trying to get him to see the connection between the written word and intellectual development, although I was not so graceful and kind about it (more like, oh for heavens sakes, just read! do you want your brain to rot?!) He's a kinesthetic learner; he actually has an auditory processing disorder, memory issues, and ADHD. If he could listen while he read, or if he could pause and replay anything that he didn't get the first time, it might work for him. Plus, I think the radio-play aspect might appeal to him.

Otherwise, he'll just have to be one of those math/science/numbers people. In high school, he earned an A in calculus, an A in statistics, a B+ in precalc, a B+ in physics, an A in algebra II, an A in geometry...and sweated passing english all four years (as his brother says, our native tongue) and religion (religion!! how do you fail religion?!?! Maybe he SHOULD have been texting Jesus!!)

I'm guessing lingo bingo is like jargon-tac-toe. Not that I have ever taken part in anything like that. No first-hand knowledge at all.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 3:35 PM

You are distorting what I am saying. I particularly like the comment: people like you, etc. You don't know anything about me

And if, at 60 we can't find a part time job to supplement income that you might have from somewhere else, goodness help us all. The person who cuts my grass is older than dirt and has a full time govt job and works doing lawns on weekends and evenings. He does what it takes to pay his bills (and will have a nice pension at some point). What's wrong with hard work? I don't understand people who look down on others who work hard.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 3:36 PM

This directly refutes atlmom's argument:

http://www.cbpp.org/1-25-05bud.htm

Yes, the site appears to be left leaning, but they are using CBO numbers. So go in there a debunk if you can.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 3:37 PM

A child arrived just the other day,
He came to the world in the usual way.
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay.
He learned to walk while I was away.
And he was talking 'fore I knew it, and as he grew,
He'd say, "I'm gonna be like you, dad.
You know I'm gonna be like you."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play.
Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today,
I got a lot to do." He said, "That's ok."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed,
Said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him."

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, dad?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then.
You know we'll have a good time then."

Well, he came from college just the other day,
So much like a man I just had to say,
"Son, I'm proud of you. Can you sit for a while?"
He shook his head, and he said with a smile,
"What I'd really like, dad, is to borrow the car keys.
See you later. Can I have them please?"

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

I've long since retired and my son's moved away.
I called him up just the other day.
I said, "I'd like to see you if you don't mind."
He said, "I'd love to, dad, if I could find the time.
You see, my new job's a hassle, and the kid's got the flu,
But it's sure nice talking to you, dad.
It's been sure nice talking to you."
And as I hung up the phone, it occurred to me,
He'd grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me.

And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man in the moon.
"When you coming home, son?" "I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, dad.
You know we'll have a good time then."

DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU! LIFE IS FLEETING!

Posted by: Just say no to workaholism | June 28, 2007 3:45 PM

ISTM that once children enter into the equation, one of the two parents (if there are two raising the child) has to have a flexible schedule that can handle doctor's appointments, snow days, sudden illnesses, etc. It doesn't really matter which one, but someone will need to be the 'on call' parent and able to take time off on a regular basis, and have stable working hours.

Both parents with high-pressure, work intensive jobs, however, just doesn't IMO look workable without outside assistance (nanny, au pair, whatever).

Posted by: John L | June 28, 2007 11:25 AM

It's workable without a nanny or other outside assistance, and neither of us is the designated on-call person, e.g., it's neither always me nor always DH who handles snow and sick days. We decide on a case-by-case basis, or the person who is called handles it if he /she can without involving the other spouse. It requires that we communicate well with each and that we respect each other's commitments and obligations when we decide who's handling today's emergency. Neither of us travels often, impliedly designating the other spouse the dump-ee. Both of us can telecommute from time to time. Sometimes we can work from home. Sometimes, depending on the deadline and the extent to which the work is a collaborative effort, we cannot.

Our employers both respect that neither of us is on the Mommy Track, for lack of a better phrase.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | June 28, 2007 3:46 PM

from the cbo...

In 2005, the Congressional Budget Office released a paper called "Analyzing the Economic and Budgetary Effects of a 10 Percent Cut in Income Tax Rates" [2] that casts doubt on the idea that tax cuts ultimately improve the government's fiscal situation. Unlike earlier research, the CBO paper estimates the budgetary impact of possible macroeconomic effects of tax policies, i.e., it attempts to account for how reductions in individual income tax rates might affect the overall future growth of the economy, and therefore influence future government tax revenues; and ultimately, impact deficits or surpluses. The paper's author forecasts the effects using various assumptions (e.g., people's foresight, the mobility of capital, and the ways in which the federal government might make up for a lower percentage revenue). Even in the paper's most generous estimated growth scenario, only 28% of the projected lower tax revenue would be recouped over a 10-year period after a 10% across-the-board reduction in all individual income tax rates. The paper points out that these projected shortfalls in revenue would have to be made up by federal borrowing: the paper estimates that the federal government would pay an extra $200 billion in interest over the decade covered by his analysis. To support these calculations, the paper assumes that the 10% reduction in individual tax rates would only result in a 1% increase in gross national product, a figure some economists consider too low for current marginal tax rates in the United States. [3][4] The paper appears to focus on Federal government revenue only and does not look at the total public sector revenue (i.e., it does not include increases in local and state government revenue).

Posted by: to atlmom | June 28, 2007 3:48 PM

And I totally agree re: spending down assets and medicaid. I know some states are going after assets after death for things they paid for for people and the families are crying and saying they shouldn't. But it's okay for strangers to be forced to pay for your parent's medical care when they have the assets to pay for it? And if the state didn't take the assets that are available, the someone else will not be getting the care that they should be getting.

People have money usually because they work hard. Yes, ms hilton is an heiress but she also earns millions of dollars on her own (tv show book showing up at partiesy so she's paying taxes like the rest os us on income not just inheritance. Are you jealous? I'm not. I hope to one day be one of those evil rich. But we are shooting ourselves in the foot with the people we call our leaders. Yes, I agree-most of them are liars.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 3:53 PM

I haven't read many of the posts today, but this topic seems to be particularly meaningful for me. Looking for some guidance and perspective...

At what point does a working parent just say - enough is enough? Yes, I know, many people don't have that luxury and this question isn't meant to incite.

But I'm lucky that my DH has a nice job. One that - with some budget tightening and a move back to the states - would allow me to quit. For those who don't know, I'm a lawyer and work at a big law firm.

Work has been making me miserable lately. I never EVER envisioned myself as a SAHM, but lately I've been thinking that I need to re-evaluate my life. And maybe I should just take a year or so off and be a mom. Just a mom (not that moms are JUST moms, but not a "lawyer mom" or "working mom").

Curious is any of you wise folk have gone through this before...

Posted by: londonmom | June 28, 2007 3:56 PM

I second MN's comment about being flexible about which parent handles the child emergencies, doc appointments, etc.

It's what we've always done and most parents I know have a variation on that theme. In our case, DH is self-employed. When he's working, he can't leave in the middle of a job unless it's a dire emergency. The upside is that he doesn't work M-F, 9-5 and is frequently off mid-week or during the day. Our house rule is, if DH isn't working that day, he handles. If he is working, then I take care of it. I'm also fortunate to have some flexibility and can work from home if necessary. And DH has been doing this long enough that we've identified "slow" periods, so we make dentist and doc appointments during those times and cross fingers that he'll be around to handle.

The benefit of having both parents fulfilling the "go to" role is that the child learns that s/he can indeed "go to" either parent with a problem. Growing up with a SAHM and a workaholic dad, I know my sisters and I rarely talked to our dad about school, grades, friends, etc. He was totally out of the loop.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | June 28, 2007 3:56 PM

Megan's Neighbor--

Without disclosing too much info. that might compromise your real-life identity, are you willing to share:

How many children do you have (one or more than one?), and what are their general ages--preschool, elem. school, etc.?

Are your children with a childcare provider for regular hours, and can that be extended with same-day notice? How late do you or your husband pick them up?

How often does one of you have to stay late?

Do your children participate in any extracurricular activities that occur during the workweek?

Posted by: Marian | June 28, 2007 3:58 PM

Megan's Neighbor,

It sounds as if both you and your husband have flexible enough jobs that allow either of you to make time for your children's needs; that would be the best option since one or the other parent isn't always available every single day.

I'll end up being the 'on call' parent unless my wife stays at home, because I work in Raleigh and she doesn't. Except for the rare times I'm out of town that will work since my schedule is much more flexible than her's. Even if she decides to SAH for a while I'll probably take over some of the baby-related trips just to give her a break anyway.

Posted by: John L | June 28, 2007 3:58 PM

I realize that my social security taxes are going right out the door now to pay for today's elderly.
After exceeding the maximum income level for a long time, my benefits are around $19K a year. My spouse, who earned much less, is around $12K a year. My BIL who earns much, much more is also slated to receive around $19K.

We are not resentful about this discrepancy, since the plan is to prevent senior poverty.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 3:58 PM

People have money usually because they work hard. Yes, ms hilton is an heiress but she also earns millions of dollars on her own (tv show book showing up at partiesy so she's paying taxes like the rest os us on income not just inheritance.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 03:53 PM

Does anyone else see the irony in this -- Paris Hilton makes her living by being paid to be rich...

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 3:59 PM

To educmom

I have a shameful confession to make. I failed religion for one whole school year!

The funny part about it is that my parents, the nuns, the priests and the principal never mentioned it to me. Just a big fat "F" on the report card. This is the scarlet letter I have carried until today. I have now freed myself of it!

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 4:01 PM

You wrote:

"This directly refutes atlmom's argument:

http://www.cbpp.org/1-25-05bud.htm

Yes, the site appears to be left leaning, but they are using CBO numbers. So go in there a debunk if you can."

Okay, I'll debunk.

From http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/81xx/doc8116/05-18-TaxRevenues.pdf
- the CBO's report to Senator Kent Conrad:

Growth in Federal Tax Revenues From 2003 to 2006
Total federal revenues grew by about $625 billion, or 35 percent, between fiscal
year 2003 and fiscal year 2006. CBO's analysis of that increase in revenues since
2003 is necessarily preliminary because relevant data are not yet fully available.
CBO examined the available data using the commonly employed method of
analyzing the sources of revenue growth as a percentage of GDP. Had revenues
grown at the same rate as the overall economy between 2003 and 2006, federal
receipts would have increased by only $373 billion. The other $252 billion of the
actual increase in revenues represents growth in excess of GDP growth. As a
result, receipts as a share of GDP rose from 16.5 percent in 2003 to 18.4 percent
in 2006, an increase of 1.9 percentage points (see Table 1, attached).
Sources of Growth in Tax Revenues
That increase of 1.9 percentage point of GDP can be traced to changes in different
types of revenues (see Table 2). The bulk of the revenue increase was associated
with corporate income taxes: Revenues from corporate income taxes rose from
1.2 percent of GDP in 2003 (their lowest level since 1983) to 2.7 percent in 2006
(their highest level since 1978). That increase of 1.5 percentage points of GDP in
corporate income tax revenues accounts for the bulk of the overall 1.9 percentagepoint
rise in revenues. Revenues from individual income taxes increased 0.6
percentage points, from 7.3 percent of GDP in 2003 to 8.0 percent in 2006. And
revenues from taxes other than corporate and individual income taxes were
relatively stable over the period from 2003 to 2006, slipping 0.2 percentage
points, from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent of GDP.

Posted by: To anon @ 3:37 | June 28, 2007 4:02 PM

Geez - twice in one day. Give it a rest with the song lyrics.

Workaholism isn't nearly as much of a problem as the necessity of working hard just to keep a job. Having a family's economic stability depend on a parent in a job that might go overseas tomorrow keeps that parent's nose to the grindstone. We don't live to work. We work to survive.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 4:02 PM

Right now the person sitting across from me is blasting Euro-metal (not extremely loud, but the whole room can hear it). I wonder if it's because she had to listen to my personal phone conversation a few hours ago.

Oooops.

Posted by: Office Politics | June 28, 2007 4:04 PM

I'll end up being the 'on call' parent unless my wife stays at home, because I work in Raleigh and she doesn't. Except for the rare times I'm out of town that will work since my schedule is much more flexible than her's. Even if she decides to SAH for a while I'll probably take over some of the baby-related trips just to give her a break anyway.

Posted by: John L | June 28, 2007 03:58 PM

well, yes, and no, John, LOL. There certainly are some moments when it's not good for either one of us to rush out the door, but, in essence, we make up for that at other moments.

Having a spouse that travels or lives elsewhere would certainly ratchet up the challenge substantially.

p.s. I hope you hear positive baby news soon, unless I've missed your good news already.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | June 28, 2007 4:08 PM

Fred,
I'm so sorry!
Maybe the nuns were afraid of you. Maybe they thought you were a closet Protestant. Maybe they didn't warn you because they were just plain mean. I guess I should be grateful for all those 1/100 of 1% that pulled #2 through by the skin of his teeth.

It's a good thing you got that off your chest. Confession is good for the soul.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 4:10 PM

"A bitterly divided U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled race cannot be a factor when assigning children to public schools. The court struck down public school choice plans in Seattle and Louisville, concluding they relied on an unconstitutional use of racial criteria. Similar plans already in place across the country could now be threatened. "This is going to rank with the great decisions in the court's history, starting with Brown v. Board of Education in 1954," said CNN Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin."

Finally! A giant step to ending racism. Diversity is just another word for racism.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 4:13 PM

Has anyone heard from Chris lately?

How are the pregnant ladies doing?

Posted by: atb | June 28, 2007 4:15 PM

Finally! A giant step to ending racism. Diversity is just another word for racism.

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 04:13 PM

Wrong blog, bub.

since you brought it up, though, this opinion is entrenching racism, not ending it.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 4:16 PM

Sorry 4:02, but attributing the increase in tax receipts to corporate tax collections as "the bulk of the overall 1.9 percentagepoint rise in revenues" does not rebut the argument. Not one bit.

You want to link an increase in corporate tax paid to a decrease in individual tax paid? I think not.

Over that period (2003-2006), who were the biggest gainers/losers? Might it have been companies linked to Defense spending and or Oil prices? Gee, I wonder if that's possible?

Sure, if the Government is willing to borrow itself into huge deficits then funnel that money back to the private sector in the form of defense spending and support policies that soak the electorate and redistribute their earnings to corporations, then sure, GDP can be inflated in the short term until interest rates/inflation/bankruptcies rise....

Not a debunk at all.

Posted by: Anon 3:37 | June 28, 2007 4:17 PM

Educmom- no kidding. I'm not saying that ms. Hilton wasn't privileged to get where she is or that any of us could aspire to her 'job.'. It is quite ironic - she's famous for being famous. *sigh* maybe I'll win the lottery.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 4:18 PM

You'll also need to do a sex video, and have it go viral.

Posted by: To altmom | June 28, 2007 4:21 PM

Anon 3:37 - you're having problems reading, I think.

In your 4:17 post, you wrote "You want to link an increase in corporate tax paid to a decrease in individual tax paid? I think not."

Umm - DECREASE in individual tax paid? Read again, very carefully this time:

"Revenues from individual income taxes increased 0.6 percentage points, from 7.3 percent of GDP in 2003 to 8.0 percent in 2006."

Okay, individual taxes paid went up as a proportion of GDP, while GDP was also rising.

And that equals a "decrease", how?

Posted by: Anon 4:02 | June 28, 2007 4:28 PM

Maryland mother,
I haven't been able to read the blog this past week as I am out of town tending to my mother who just had surgery for lung cancer. She is doing surprisingly well for a 73 year old 90lb woman who just underwent a 5 hour long operation on her lung.
To answer your question - we love it when we get healthy snacks. I plan to bring some bagel pieces, hummus, cheese and fruit to the nurses who have been so nice to my mother. Pre-packaged fruit baskets are not my favorite. Personally I like it personal rather than picking up a basket. I would avoid cookies and candy and cakes as few of us really need that stuff.
Hope this helps.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | June 28, 2007 4:37 PM

atlmom -- I participate in that mega millions retirement plan myself. I know that I'll STILL never get photographed going down the red carpet, unless I wind up in the "don't" page with a black rectangle over my eyes! But I think I can live with that.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 4:40 PM

Yeah, I'm thinking it might not be as lucrative for me. Ya never know, though.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 4:40 PM

Provided I win the lottery, that is

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 4:41 PM

And, despite what people think, corporations don't pay taxes. They collect taxes, and pass it on as a cost of doing business to the consumer (or another business, that then passes it along, etc).

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 4:42 PM

Provided I win the lottery, that is

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 04:41 PM

Lotteries are nothing but a stupidity tax.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 4:43 PM

Lotteries are nothing but a stupidity tax.

Unless you're the winner.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 4:44 PM

educmom: well, actually, when it's over a certain amount, it's actually a good deal.

I.e., if winning has a probability of 1 in 79 million, and the pot is over $79 million, then your payout is more than one dollar - so paying a dollar for that makes sense.

In other words, if you could buy all the tickets, and the payout is, say, $85 million, then you'd be guaranteed to win $6 million. Of course, you'd have to spend the time and energy (and money - which you'd have to borrow, since if you had it you wouldn't be paying the lottery). And, when the lottery gets higher, the probability of more than one winner increases - so that must go in the calculation.

Or, it's just fun.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 4:45 PM

Lotteries are nothing but a stupidity tax.

Unless you're the winner.

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 04:44 PM

The odds are so poor that only a fool would waste their family's money on a lottery ticket.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 4:47 PM

Lotteries are nothing but a stupidity tax.

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 04:43 PM

See above for why that is not true. At least at some payoff.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 4:47 PM

I.e., if winning has a probability of 1 in 79 million, and the pot is over $79 million, then your payout is more than one dollar - so paying a dollar for that makes sense.

What about the taxes on it?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 4:48 PM

Well, I was simplifying the calculation. But you can add that in. Which is why we usually only play if it's over $180 or $200 million.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 4:49 PM

See above for why that is not true. At least at some payoff.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 04:47 PM

How do you plan to raise the 79 million to buy all those tickets? You can also be sure you won't be allowed to buy anywhere near that many tickets.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 4:50 PM

Lotteries are nothing but a stupidity tax.

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 04:43 PM

Or, it's just fun.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 04:45 PM

Yep, it's fun to dream. Too bad that some party poopers insist on pooping on my party.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 4:52 PM

Which is why we usually only play if it's over $180 or $200 million.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 04:49 PM

And how much more have you won than what you've spend?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 4:52 PM

OF COURSE - I was explaining - in terms that non statisticians hopefully would understand, why paying a dollar for a payoff over a dollar makes sense. I was trying to simplify the explanation.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 4:52 PM

Yep, it's fun to dream. Too bad that some party poopers insist on pooping on my party.

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 04:52 PM

You're just rationalizing. We're not fooled for a moment.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 4:53 PM

I've got a great idea. All you lottery players out there, spend as much on lottery tickets as you do on income taxes, then pretty soon I won't have to pay ANY taxes at all!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 4:55 PM

You're just rationalizing. We're not fooled for a moment.

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 04:53 PM

AAUUUGH! You BORING literalists need to go have some fun in your lives!!

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 4:57 PM

It comes out of my entertainment budget, not my investment budget. Jeez.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 4:58 PM

AAUUUGH! You BORING literalists need to go have some fun in your lives!!

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 04:57 PM

While you live in la-la fantasy land. Nurse Ratched will be arriving shortly with your meds.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 5:00 PM

It comes out of my entertainment budget, not my investment budget. Jeez.

Posted by: atlmom | June 28, 2007 04:58 PM

You can't have an entertainment budget. You must save, save, save.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 5:01 PM

your increase in tax revenue came in comparing two different years post tax cut -
not one of the pre tax cut year to post tax cut year. There were years of unexpectedly higher revuenue in the Clinton years as well.

Posted by: to anon at 4:02 | June 28, 2007 5:24 PM

I've got a great idea. All you lottery players out there, spend as much on lottery tickets as you do on income taxes, then pretty soon I won't have to pay ANY taxes at all!!!

Posted by: | June 28, 2007 04:55 PM

If only it was that easy...

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 5:42 PM

If only it was that easy...

Posted by: educmom | June 28, 2007 05:42 PM

Easier than winning a big lottery jackpot.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 5:46 PM

OT to Maryland Mother from last week:

I found a bit of info. My apologies for the lack of professional "packaging."

This page is more about guardianship/conservatorship during the caregiver's lifetime. It sounds like you would need to name a guardian in the event of your passing:
http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=431

Another caregiver organization:
http://www.lightship.org/resource.htm

Both websites have links to other resources.

Also, have you tried calling the Women's Center in Vienna, Va? http://www.thewomenscenter.org/
I imagine they could help with a referral or resources.

Posted by: Marian | June 28, 2007 5:51 PM

his idea of a workweek is 12-hr/6 day/let your SAH spouse manage the home front. His commute is 15 minutes, on foot.

I can so relate to this. My boss complained that women should come back to work six weeks after delivery because she did. But she and her husband both lived across the road from work, and they had a nanny. So they could tag-team, and one of them could go back to work after the kids were asleep if necessary. By contrast, I and my husband each commuted an hour to work, in opposite directions. We hardly ever saw our kid, except on the commute!

Posted by: Anonymous | June 28, 2007 7:52 PM

Fred's Quote of the Day
(No Surprise Division)

is awarded to 11:11 for her entire post.

"...you can see what life will be like before you accept a position. You just have to decide if it is what you want."

She is awarded two (2) rides in the creepy van for reasons stated above.

Runner up to: anon for "There's no way to explain global competition and client expectations to someone this determined to be an ostrich." (in a way this is related to what 11:11 said.)

Honorable Mention to Maryland Mom for "Maalox isn't supposed to be a mandatory beverage; not if you have other options."

Posted by: Fred | June 28, 2007 10:41 PM

Brian,

Enjoyed your post. Thought you might enjoy mine as well ...

http://reflectionscoaching.typepad.com/reflections_on_balance/2007/06/some-really-rea.html

Posted by: David B. Bohl | June 29, 2007 9:32 AM

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