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“I don’t know how they do those 40 hour weeks...”
Old 06-16-2019, 05:15 AM   #1
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“I don’t know how they do those 40 hour weeks...”

Someone gifted my future SIL and DD a ‘like new”, Honda self propelled mower. The gifter bought it and promptly let it sit which is a sure way to gum up the carburetor. I got it to run but it wouldnt stay running. After a while and even after studying YouTube I admitted defeat and took it to “Toms” small engine repair shop. It was mid May and there must have been 100 mowers with tags on them sitting outside. The owner said clean or maybe new carb either way 4 weeks. The former owner of the daughter’s new house left them a nice push mower. The lawn however IMHO is too big for a push mower - the house next door has a nice tractor.
I asked Future SIL At the title transfer office “did you mow” and he said yes but it was a chore.

Yesterday we were out transferring DD title to the car and I said to the Mrs. lets stop by Tom’s. She said “its been 5 weeks”. Disturbingly I had called and No one answered and I expected the worse. So we drove over and I went in and after a few minutes It was clear no one had touched the mower. The owner a nice young fellow told me “Its in his pile but considering I fired him this morning.... I cant get decent help, no one is willing to work, and they all want a huge amount of money... Mr. RayinPenn all i can do is push you to the head of the pile on Monday” i said “thats fine”.

The the shop/manager comments brought to mind something the Mrs. said about DS “Cool Hand”. “The manager pulled him off the cash register because they dont want to lose him” CH has made no secret at his summer supermarket gig -he doesn’t like working as a cashier. I understand why it is the customers -some are just plain nasty. When he’s in produce shucking corn or stocking shelves no one bothers him. His manger’s williness to indulge him and the ease that he walked into a summer gig has me concluding they too cant get or keep good help.

CH went in yesterday to find he had been loaded up on hours. He sent a copy of his schedule to the Mrs and called “these people are killing me” Me I would have been happy for the hours. I explained to him the $1,500 or $2,000 spending money he saves during the summer (his skin in the game) help. It was when he came home that he said it “I dont know how people do these 40 hour weeks..”

I had quite a chuckle.. had me thinking of the countless times my 40 hour week was 60 or more and include being there at 2AM.

Cool Hand is 2 years away from graduation and some harsh reality...
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:34 AM   #2
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"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."--Mark Twain.

Happy Father's Day Ray!
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“I don’t know how they do those 40 hour weeks...”
Old 06-16-2019, 05:37 AM   #3
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“I don’t know how they do those 40 hour weeks...”

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Originally Posted by candrew View Post
"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."--Mark Twain.



Happy Father's Day Ray!

Thanks for the belly laugh....
Happy Father’s Day to you..
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:40 AM   #4
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Thanks Dad, for working all those years, all those hours. I never heard you complain, even when you had to work the occasional overnight while a plant was shut down.

You lifted heavy real cast iron pipe, cast iron bathtubs, and radiators without a thought. Every day. Usually with overtime. And you worked, I saw it, it wasn't sitting around.

You did that until you were 70. Mom sometimes secretly hoped the union would strike so you'd get a break, but they never did. You got no vacation pay, so you took 2 weeks each year. That's all.

Dad, you were the best. We miss you.
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“I don’t know how they do those 40 hour weeks...”
Old 06-16-2019, 05:44 AM   #5
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“I don’t know how they do those 40 hour weeks...”

JoeWras “Thanks Dad, for working all those years, all those hours. I never heard you complain....We miss you.”

Well said Joe.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:55 AM   #6
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“I don’t know how they do those 40 hour weeks...”

Happy Father's Day to you Ray!

Great to hear your children are turning into responsible adults! Nice job getting them to that point!

One of my friends here in The Woodlands owns 6 Burger King stores. He has about 90 employees, mostly part time. He had to use his two sons and daughter (all adults) to manage the locations since he can't find responsible managers to run the locations. Then keeping 90 part timers working is another story.

He's in the process of closing the stores once the 20 year franchises run their course.
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Old 06-16-2019, 05:58 AM   #7
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I totally understand the sentiment of the title of the post.

I successfully avoided the 40 hour week since my first "real" job in H.S.( I was terminated after calling in sick for 8 of the 15 days I worked there ) and for the remainder of my working life.

Crime and Aviation were so much less demanding in that respect...

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Old 06-16-2019, 06:07 AM   #8
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I successfully avoided the 40 hour week since my first "real" job in H.S.( I was terminated after calling in sick for 8 of the 15 days I worked there ) and for the remainder of my working life.
Lots of people avoid the 40 hour work week, but they do it by working more than 40 hours.
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by candrew View Post
"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years."--Mark Twain. ...
That reminds me of my Dad. When I was 17 and left for college, he was dumb as dirt. A semester later, when I returned for the holiday break, I discovered that he was dumb as a fox. How is it that I'm the one taking classes and studying but he was the one getting smarter? One of those many mysteries of life I suppose. Happy Father's Day Dad!
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:27 AM   #10
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Don’t know when I last worked a forty hour week. They usually drifted up into the 50 - 60 hour range...
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Old 06-16-2019, 06:31 AM   #11
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It seems fitting I remembered this story on Father’s Day.

It was the end of my junior year of high school going into my summer vacation and I wanted a job for some spending money. I lived in a small rural college town and that school happened to be doing some major building renovations on campus. My dad suggested I apply to work for the construction company that was doing the renovations.

I got the job and it was full time work that started at 7AM. By the end of the first week I was happy for those early starts because it wasn’t quite brutally hot yet at 7AM.

I worked my tail off that summer and I was done by the middle of the afternoon even though I was doing 40 hour weeks. It was tough hot work and I met a lot of hard working guys including former military guys with great military stories. We tore up tile flooring, ripped out shelving, carried and laid bricks, and other hard labor tasks for the renovation project.

I saved most of the money I made that summer which for a high school kid was good money. This was not because I was some uber responsible teenager but because I was too tired at the end of those days or on the weekends to go spend my money.

At the end of the summer I told my dad “I don’t know how those guys at work keep doing this year after year 40 hours every week.” My dad simply said “remember that when you start school again.”

It was hot in those buildings in the southeastern summer days with no air conditioning and we had to wear jeans and steel toed boots for the dress code for safety. I remember taking breaks all the time to drink water or a Gatorade but I never once remembered having to use the bathroom on the job. You would just sweat everything out. My mom deserves credit for washing those nasty work clothes for me all summer.

After that summer working construction I worked extra hard that senior year in high school and ended up accepting admission to the large state college that I had always wanted to attend for my undergraduate studies. Four years there led to four more at that same rural college for my graduate degree that I had spent that summer in high school sweating in those buildings doing renovation work. My dad knew exactly what he was doing suggesting that job to me after my junior year of high school.

Happy Father’s Day Dad and thank you. Lesson learned. And yes, to this day I don’t know how those old army and navy guys did that back breaking construction work 40 hours a week every week. I still think about those summer days working in the heat every time I pass a construction site on my commute to my office job. Thanks dad!
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Old 06-16-2019, 11:18 AM   #12
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Rayin penn, I can relate to not liking cashiering. I used to work in a big store with about 8 employees working at the same time. No one wanted to do the cashiering, so I was entrusted to that job, as the new guy. It's not hard mentally, but if you're an introvert, it will get to you fast, as in about a half hour. Even if everyone is nice and polite. Just a big stressout for an introvert. Glad he is doing well, and off the cash register!
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Old 06-16-2019, 12:02 PM   #13
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.....At the end of the summer I told my dad “I don’t know how those guys at work keep doing this year after year 40 hours every week.” My dad simply said “remember that when you start school again.” ....
Similar story here but a little later in life. Summer of '74... after an arguably lackluster first year of college where I had a lot of fun but studied just enough to get by... especially the first semester. I ended up landing a job in a Firestone tire store doing a little bit of everything... including changing tires and oil with the mechanics out in the shop.

We were all sweating our tails off on a hot summer day. Some of the mechanics were just a few years older than I and made just a little more than I did... which wasn't much. I suddenly realized that if I didn't make the best of my college opportunity that sweating my tail off for a bit more than minimum wage was likely my future.

I was Dean's List after that, but my first year dragged down my GPA so I ended my senior year short of graduating with honors by 0.0075... 2.9925 vs 3.0 needed to graduate with honors.
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Old 06-16-2019, 12:48 PM   #14
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Both my parents worked in factories and definitely wanted all of us to go to college.
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Old 06-16-2019, 12:56 PM   #15
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I too have a similar learning and some great advice from my dad who worked in the construction field. For him, it would be feast or famine. If a power plant was taken off-line to do a retrofit, he would be working 6+ days a week, 12 hour shifts. Hot, dirty work and when he came home even as I kid I could tell. At other times, no work for weeks or months. I also got to see other kids fathers who worked in steel mills, and what their life was like.

Sometimes it is important to know what you don't want to do. I didn't want to work in a mill or to do construction work. That gave me great incentive to do as well as I could in college. As a result, my high school grades were considerably better than grade school, and my college grades considerably better than high school. I graduated with a double major in three years.

When I was about to leave my home and home state for a great job opportunity working at mega-corp, my dad (a union member) reminded me to "never trust the man". This, plus the feast or famine working life of my father drove me to save as much as I could, so that a) I would have a safety cushion and b) that if someone was putting the screws to me that I could walk away (aka F U money). I cannot tell you how much value that has had to me over my lifetime. I worked hard, very hard to be successful, but never forgot that it was up to me to ensure my (and now my families) condition and that I never HAD to put up with something.
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:19 AM   #16
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Both my parents worked in factories and definitely wanted all of us to go to college.
I spent 9 years running a newspaper press from 8 PM-4:30 AM 6 days a week, and missed most family evening time. I then worked 15 years in a rubber molding factory working 6.5 days a week for most of it. I can't count the kid's events that I missed during those times.

I still work for the same rubber company, but am now in a prototype lab for the last 5 years, not having to work weekends unlike all my other former co-workers...I am grateful for this job every day.
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Old 06-17-2019, 05:36 AM   #17
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My father was in a unionized factory, and generally had 40 hours/wk with voluntary overtime, which he usually took. Why did our unions fight so hard for a reasonable work week that allowed people time to have a better life? Why are European countries with strong labor protections so much happier than those in this country? Why do people so easily look down on a 40 hour week?

My nephew has a good physical job, but now the overtime is mandatory. He is unable to take care of his body properly, and will be worn out when he retires (which he wants to do asap). He will have developed little to retire to, although I'm hoping his 3 kids will be the ticket there.

When a nation is poor, when technology has not yet been developed, when resources are scarce, when social contracts are backwards (e.g. slavery, indentured servitude in all its forms, etc.), I understand that life is a physical, mental, and emotional struggle, and there is a lot of misery (all those sad portraits from Victorian England). But why are such conditions persisting in advanced and rich countries?

A 40 hour week for all - why isn't that a worthy goal?
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Old 06-17-2019, 06:01 AM   #18
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This story was hard to follow. I gathered that it takes a while to fix a mower because people do not want to work, pay is crappy, and something about working too many hours?
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Old 06-17-2019, 07:00 AM   #19
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When I was working and going to school and then working on my CPA, many people would tell me how hard I was working. I was also raising a family at the time so there was that too. Yes, it was hard but I would always say, look at the homeless person, that’s a hard life. So I’d rather have a hard, 40 hour per week job, than no job at all. Seeing what could be is motivating. I also worked in a factory long enough to know that that type of work wasn’t for me either.

I’m very thankful and blessed to have had one piece of advice from my mostly absent father. I got laid off from the factory job (recession) and the first thing out of his mouth was, Where are you going to sign up for college? Until then, I’d never considered college. I worked during high school, didn’t get great grades, got a factory job right out of school and thought I was doing pretty good. College and the work life it provided was WAY better, but most of my life, I did work more than 40 hours. Thankfully it was in a suit in an air conditioned office.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:21 AM   #20
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40 hour w*rk weeks, that's cute. Although I had a LOT of downtime during my Air Force flying days, there were lots and LOTS of 26+ hour crew duty days too. And how I miss being on alert! With that bit of fun, you were put on a 48 hour alert period and of course, on hour 47.5 (which was ALWAYS at 2:30 AM on a Sunday after you had gotten a whopping 2.5 hours of sleep) you got the great phone call..."Hi, this is Airman Asshat calling with your alert!!" and then your long-ass day began... BLAH!
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