March 22, 2024

Do you know who invented the 40 hour work week?


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Too silly to not be true.

Do you know who invented the 40 hour work week? 

Henry Ford. For auto workers on the assembly line. In 1926.

That’s right. The cornerstone of Office Dork™️ culture came from blue collar manufacturing jobs before the Great Depression.

When people’s time spent doing work was an exact 1:1 correlation to productive output. And here we are, a century later, repurposing it to jobs where time spent has an asymmetric relationship to outcomes.

Some hours you spend accomplish a lot. Some hours are waste of time busy work.

No matter how progressive we think we are about company culture, employee engagement and the future of work, the core underlying philosophy the virtually everyone adheres to is as backwards and misplaced as it gets.

I don’t even mean for this to come across as harsh or ranty. It’s just the facts.

Where it’s most obvious is at the senior levels. In small to mid sized orgs, strategy roles aren’t actually full time roles. People doing them are doing strategy and another thing.

Another thing could be team management. Tactical/individual contributor execution. Or another job entirely.

It’s like this at every level. You do your core job, then you do whatever until it’s time to punch out.

Some people think that push to 1099 work is because companies don’t want to pay benefits. And I 100% agree with that.

But it’s also because not every job is actually a full time job and companies – and workers – are slowly realizing that.

No real takeaway here. But it’s time we think differently about work hours and actual productivity. 

View full episode of The 10 Minute Talent Rant, Episode 84 “Does Anyone Actually Have A Talent Strategy?” here.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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