The two-day working week

It’s Friday. I’ve spent this week coding screens and line-editing my revised manuscript. Hopping from one to the other breaks the monotony of both. But come Friday afternoon … I run out of steam … and don’t really want to do either. I just get that “break out and do something completely different” weekend vibe.

Is the working week just long enough so that it runs out when we get to that point? Or are we just accustomed to running out of steam at the end of a working week, no matter how long it is? I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m self-employed and can determine my own working hours, but in fact, for most workers the working week is now actually 6 days long, and getting longer every year. At the start of the industrial revolution, before labour laws, 7 day working was not uncommon. So maybe we have it good, you might think. Well, consider homo erectus.

On the radio this week, I heard an author discussing his book, and found it interesting to hear that in our hunter-gather days, the working week was only two days long. Spend two days making arrows, hunting some beasts, and you have enough to feed & clothe you and family for another five days. All that free time started humanity’s artistic journey, scratching out cave paintings. We sometimes look back in embarrassment at our unenlightened cavemen ancestors. But today, Friday, I look back at his two day week and think … boy, did he have it sussed … where the hell did we go wrong in the meantime?

Have a good weekend y’all!

1 comment May 22nd, 2009


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