Less Work, More Life


This article is printed here courtesy of The ProgressiveTo read a response to it by Wendell Berry, go here.

A few years ago, after finding my way through an incredible jumble of bicycles outside her building, I met with a University of Amsterdam professor who studies work-life balance. She recounted a conversation she’d just had with the manager of the Dutch division of an American company who had come to Holland from the United States two years earlier:

Professor: Do you notice a difference between the approach to work time and free time here compared to the United States?

Manager: Yes, it dawned on me my second week on the job. It was a Friday evening, eight o’clock, and we had an important shipment to get out on Monday. I called my assistant at home, and told her to call some of the workers to get some things done on the weekend in preparation.

Professor: What did she say?

Manager: She said she didn’t work on the weekends, and didn’t expect to be called at home when she wasn’t working.

Professor: And what did you say?

12/28/2010 1:44:40 PM

I decided some years ago to sacrifice some salary for the pleasure of a 30-hour work week. (Thanks to my employer, I still have full health care benefits.) The choice of more time for myself over money is one I have never regretted, and I can't imagine working a 37.5 (or worse, 40) hour week.

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