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Do We Work To live, Or Live To Work?

The 40-hour work week became law (in the States), in 1937-- not much more than 100 years ago. Does anyone (other than me) think it's time to re-examine the wisdom of that idea?

In the work world where I grew up (the legal profession) 40 hours a week was joke-- 10-hour plus workdays plus 8-hour Saturdays were a given. And "availability" on Sundays were the general rule. That was just the way it was, and the legal profession was brutally unyielding. Sadly, it doesn't look like that's likely to change, anytime soon. Time is money, and money is king.

Query: When-- if ever-- is money going to give way to individual wellbeing? The tipping point isn't anywhere (or, anytime} in sight. Apparently, neither law firm managers nor other senior lawyers are inclined to move on from the reality that they're living, and so, the historically unrealistic expectations will continue. Equally true is the fact that neither younger lawyers (nor their spouses) give much thought to the matter. And so, the fraternity lives on.

Back to the title of this post: Twice it mentions two concepts that are (or should be) completely independent of each other-- work, and life. Today, they seem to have become intertwined. How did that happen? When did it happen? Why did it happen? Has work become synonymous with life?

Since leaving the workplace, I've thought a lot about the above questions, and frankly, I don't like the answers-- maybe our leaders at work should add those same questions to their list of compelling concerns? Work and life inevitably impact each other, but the nature and degree of that impact is worthy of examination-- in fact, it's critical.

There's more to running a law firm-- or any business, for that matter-- than simply managing the concerns of the business, itself. It also involves a consideration of how those concerns impact the lives of the women and men who make the business a going concern.

Management has become a lot more complicated than it used to be, and workplace wellbeing has also become a lot more important!


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