It takes about three minutes to read this article. Whether it’s worth three minutes, of course, depends on me. I will do my best. But it also depends on you, your attitude towards time, and maybe your job.
Twenty years ago, Kathleen Cavaney, a professor of law and theology, began an article with the observation that “many lawyers are very upset, especially lawyers who work in big companies. They can be rich and get richer, but they are also miserable, or so they say. ” Was this sad condition the result of long working hours or stressful work? Probably. But Caffeney identified a more precise reason: an “hourly wage” – or, more accurately, a wage wage for another six minutes of work.
Lawyers are relentlessly attracted to an unhappy and miserable attitude towards the way they spend their time, by counting every moment of their working life and defining every moment as either “paid” or, unfortunately, “unpaid”. Not all lawyers, of course. And not just lawyers.
Cavaney had many concerns. She suggested that attorneys should focus on narrow goals rather than broader or deeper values such as maintaining skills, mentoring young colleagues, or adhering to the ideals of the law. She was worried about the apparent commodification of time.
But perhaps more important today than ever before is that the hourly wage encourages us to consider all times the same. If time is money, it definitely applies for six o’clock in the morning on Christmas as much as two hours in the afternoon, Friday 29 April. “No time is inherently sacred or even special,” Cavigne wrote.
If you ask for £ 1,000 an hour, as some top lawyers do, any given six-minute increase in working hours can be converted to £ 100. Can you really afford an hour in the gym? Can you really call your mom or read a bedtime story to your child?
The point is not that lawyers never call their mothers, but that the full hourly wage framework makes it annoyingly expensive to do anything without getting paid. Oliver Berkman laments in his wonderful book Four Thousand Weeks and says the logical conclusion is that “an hour that is not sold is automatically a lost hour”.
If lawyers are trained to think of time as bonuses for six minutes of overtime work, what about other jobs?
For example, compare the lawyer to a dairy farm. A dairy farmer works long, hard hours, usually for much less money than a lawyer. But the important difference between the two functions is that time cannot be exchanged in the same way. Cows should be milked when needed. After the farmer has milked it before breakfast, it is not necessary to do it again after breakfast.
Those long, irreplaceable hours may not be easy, and just as a lawyer might be irritated by a late-night call from a client, a dairy farmer might have to get up after midnight to help a cow in labor. But I do not think I am overly sympathetic to suggest that just as there is something psychologically bad about a lawyer always being able to get a bonus for another six minutes of work, there is something psychologically healthy about a farmer can sometimes be reassured that nothing is of any use.This should be done until the morning.
I do not mean to preach, just to note that there is a difference as wages or hours. These different works have different attitudes towards the time spent in them.
So do people in other works. Our journalists, for example, tend to think in terms of deadlines. At the beginning of my work, a friend advised me that the secret of journalism is to “deliver a good article in time”. That gets to the heart of the matter: Journalists want to do interviews that set the agenda, write critical scoops, bring tragic stories to the fore, but the deadline is of the utmost importance. Efforts must be made in everything else to match the deadline.
Deadline pressure is intense rather than permanent, and many people (including myself) find it motivating, satisfying and healthy. Whether your job is good or messy, you can present your article and start with a clean slate in the morning. This is not bad behavior towards work, but it does clash with some jobs and with journalistic work.
While a journalist may be able to watch a deadline approach with an adrenaline-fueled craze for productivity, ticking the clock around 5pm, for someone who works steady hours, may indicate the slow, boring minutes to endure.
It is interesting to show some ratings for different posts and their position in a timely manner. However, I suspect that these classifications are starting to get confused. In 1992, economist Peter Sasson coined the phrase “law of diminishing specialization.” 30 years later, it’s amazing how much knowledge is handled with the same tools and workflow – a workflow that increasingly includes neither fixed hours nor fixed location. We are all, like lawyers, able to do a little extra work before bedtime, even if we can not all charge a thousand pounds an hour.
While “hourly wages” can be a psychological trick, it teaches us one valuable lesson: there is a difference between working and not working. This is a difference worth keeping.