Bob Goldman

Putting in long days? Working over the weekend? You probably feel pretty darn proud of yourself.

Well, you can stop. Stop feeling proud of yourself, that is. According to a recent Gallup poll, "half of all full-time workers indicate they typically work more than 40 hours, and nearly four in 10 say they work at least 50 hours."

Putting aside the hardly possible idea that the respondents were lying through their crooked, yellow, dishonest teeth, may I say how nice it is to hear from the nosy parkers at Gallup. I thought Gallup polls were a thing of the past, like fountain Coke, lifelong pensions and annual raises. Why, the last Gallup poll I read testified to the box-office popularity of screen-star Veronica Lake.

But that's hardly the point. The point is that the 40-hour workweek is about as relevant as, well, Veronica Lake. Instead, Americans now have the 47-hour workweek, or maybe, the 50-hour workweek, or, possibly, the 60-hour workweek!

This may be very good news for the American economy, but it is very bad news for someone whose workweek rarely lasts longer than 15 hours.

That's right, friend; I'm talking about y-o-u.

Let's forget what you tell Gallup, or what you tell your boss, either one of whom is likely to ring you up at dinner with questions that make your blood, and your soup, run cold. We both know your usual workday schedule. It starts with an hour of chat, followed by an hour of "Angry Birds," and winds up with an hour of semi-productive work. After which comes two hours of lunch, one hour of nap, and one more hour of absolutely fierce work time, during which you make up excuses for all the work you didn't do that day, after which you are so exhausted that you leave an hour early.

Do the math and see what you get. The way I count it, you're putting in a blazing 15 hours. [Of course, that doesn't include vacations, off-site meetings and all the faux sick days you can pack into a year.]

In a 40-hour world, it has been possible to maintain your slacker life style, but now that Gallup has spilled the beans, it may be more difficult for you to keep your job. And, let's face it -- when no one is paying you to do something, what's the fun of goofing off?

The polling people didn't cover this critical issue, so I guess it's up to me.

One idea is to ask your boss to start paying you on an hourly basis. As the survey shows, salaried workers put in more hours than hourly workers. Why? Because "hourly workers can be restricted in the amount they work by employers who don't need or can't afford to pay overtime."

Bob Goldman

Bob Goldman is a business humor writer.

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