Usetimewisely­­byslackingoff(excerpt) ByEricWeiner LosAngelesTimes:September11,2007 ArecentsurveyfoundthatthetypicalAmericanworkerwastesslightlymorethantwohoursaday,notincluding lunchandscheduledbreak

Usetimewisely­­byslackingoff(excerpt)

ByEricWeiner LosAngelesTimes:September11,2007

ArecentsurveyfoundthatthetypicalAmericanworkerwastesslightlymorethantwohoursaday,notincluding lunchandscheduledbreaks.Theinsuranceindustryisparticularlyrifewithtimewasters(canyoublamethem?)and Missouri,forreasonsnotentirelyclear,isthestatewiththehighestpercentageofslackers.

TheNo.1time­wastingactivityissurfingtheInternetandsendingpersonale­mails(afindingperhapsskewedbythe factthatthesurvey,conductedbyAOLandsalary.com,wasWeb­based),followedbysocializingwithco­workers, conductingpersonalbusinessandjustplain”spacingout.”Allofthisloafingissupposedlycostingemployers$759 billionayearinlostproductivity.

Theelevationofhardworktothestatusofnoblepursuitis,inthesweepofhumanhistory,relativelyrecent.The ancientGreeksandRomansviewedhardworkasacurse.

Attitudestowardworkdiffernotonlyacrosstimebutalsoplace.CorinneMaier’sappropriatelyslimvolume,”Bonjour Laziness:WhyHardWorkDoesn’tPay,”advocatedthatworkersresortto”activedisengagement”attheoffice.Itwas abestsellerinFrance.

Whenitcomestointerspersingworkandfrivolity,nobodybeatstheThais.”Ifajobisn’tsanuk­­fun­­it’shardly worthdoing,”ThaiarchitectSumetJumsaitoldmeoveraScotchathisBangkokofficerecently.

Inthiscountry,thereistalkoftryingtoderailtheofficeslackersbyblockingaccesstoFacebookandothertimewastingwebsites.Despiteallofthisfretting,wearenoslackernation.TheU.N.’sInternationalLaborOrganization recentlyissuedareportthatfoundthattheU.S.leadstheworldinworkerproductivity­­andbyawidemargin.

Sowhydowefeellikesuchslackers?Foronething,weareanationambivalentaboutwork.Webothcherishitand resentit.Isuspectthatsomeofthisloafingisasubtleformofrevenge.Withworknowsloshingoverintopersonal time(thinkBlackBerry),itseemsonlynaturalthatpersonaltimeshouldsloshbackintowork.Technologyisfast renderingdistinctionsbetween”work”and”leisure”meaningless.

Goofingoffisnotawasteoftime­­well,notalways.ExhibitA:AlbertEinstein.Hewasaworld­classloafer.In1905, hewasworkingasaclerkataSwisspatentoffice,spendingalotoftimespacingout.A”respectablefederalink pisser”ishowEinsteindescribedhimself.Yetitwasatwork,daydreamingoneday,watchingabuilderonanearby rooftop,thatheexperienced”thehappiestthoughtofmylife”­­athoughtthatsoonblossomedintohis”special theoryofrelativity.”

ThustherecentWebsurveygetstotheheartoftheparadox.Weareanationofdoers,hardworkers,yetwearealso anationofideas,bigideas.ThesetwoaspectsoftheAmericanpersonalityconstantlyrubagainsteachother;great ideasrequireidleness,butidlenessmakesusuncomfortable.

Inawell­organizedessay,offeryourownopinionaboutthebenefitsand/ordrawbacksofwastingtime. Perhapsconsiderworkthatyouconductthroughajoborasastudent,orthetypeofworkthatis expectedofpeoplewhohavejobsinyourmajororfieldofstudy.Perhapsconsiderattitudesaboutwork andwastingtimethatarecentraltoyou,yourfamily,yournationality,oryourethnicity.Besuretofully developyouranswer.Usethereadingmaterialasneeded.

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