Millennial Burnout


40 hours a week is great if it’s a true average. But that would mean if I work 48 hours one week because of urgency, I then take a day off the next week to hit 32 hours and keep the same average. That’s not how any job I’ve had worked. It was just like, 40 hours is what you do if things are going great, but it’s the floor.


This. And damn near anyone who makes a salary falls into this camp.

Timex’s comment above about “it’s not that bad, I’ve done worse, they shouldn’t complain”. Bullshit.

It’s said there’s two kinds of people in this world. The kind who says “i put up with it, it sucked but I’m ok, they shouldn’t complain” and the kind who says “it happened to me, too- it sucked, and no one should have to put up with that crap”. i.e., empathy or lack thereof. Conservatives tend to fall into the former camp.


No, I’m not saying “40 hours sucks, but i had to do it, so everyone else should.”

I’m saying that 40 hours isn’t bad. I don’t consider that a long week.

I mean, part of this is that I like my job. If i hated it, then maybe 40 hours would be terrible. But actually, even there, I’ve worked 40 hours doing corporate help desk… And while that job was rough, the hours still weren’t that long.

It’s 40 hours. It just didn’t strike me as long hours.

Now, we have a pretty cool environment at my company. Folks put in 40 hours, and sometimes longer. But folks don’t seem to be burning out, since they don’t seem to leave. So it’s probably more than just the hours, but rather whether you like what you’re doing for those hours.


It’s a mix.

Social Democrats like Warren generally want to keep the capitalist system but reform it heavily

Democratic Socialists like Bernie/AOC are more revolutionairy.


A 40 hour work week is one full day off. Friday is a work day. Sunday is a work night. And as legowarrior pointed out, it’s not 40 hours really, you have to add all the time spent supporting work (commute, not staying up late, etc et al.)

The point isn’t that it’s hard, the point is that a majority of your life is spent making someone else rich. We have short lives, work through almost all of it and then most are too old to enjoy retirement. With the advancements in technology there isn’t any need to work 40 hours.

But American fetishism for the military and “business” is cultural. Fuck both of them in the ear.

Right wing parties are shit regardless of where they are and they love using fear and immigrants as a means to gain power. To suggest that what’s happening in Denmark (and most of Europe writ large) is a result of their social policies is kinda bullshit.


I hear the said sometimes and once saw a reply from someone in Europe saying why do you English hate your children so, you wish to deprive them of their playing years and turn them in to adults by the time they are 10. You want them to work longer and harder from a younger age and have less fun and less growing up time.

He was right you are wrong.


Yeah, kids should be allowed to be, well kids.


The US has substantially higher median incomes (as household or individual) than those countries. Admittedly, that’s complicated by things like socialized medicine and education, but from what I’ve seen it’s not all roses for the middle class in at least the U.K. I have less personal experience with France and Germany.

It’s obviously a choice that can be made to skew to lower work hours, but if isn’t without consequences. The Scandinavians manage to do better, but again, scale.


I’m not following that, at all.

As a minority and an immigrant to the US, I can tell you that most of the world views a 40 hour work week as a luxury. Yes, we can sink some of our economic advantage into reduced work weeks, but don’t be surprised if the rest of the world passes us by.

I’m trying hard to parse this workweek discussion into more than just “wouldn’t it be great if we could work less?” Yes, yes it would. But are we willing to pay the price? If we all adjust our economic expectations, perhaps. Yet, in this very thread, we have people discussing how they find themselves economically behind compared to previous generations. Is that solved by shorter work weeks?


I took Lego’s comment to mean eliminating the long summer break and either spreading those breaks around or decreasing the length of a school day. As a parent, I’m on board with that. The long summer is terrible for a number of reasons, including the overly long mental break Lego mentioned. It’s just a desert of time to be filled, followed by a long windup period in the next school year. A month off every 3.5 months or so would make a lot more sense from the child’s perspective. Childcare approaches would have to be adjusted, of course, but it’s not like it’s easy for most families to deal with the long summer.


Yeah so is clean water and air. What’s your point? We have one life, that’s it. Some people are lucky or wise enough to make a living doing something they love, but that’s hardly true for the majority, and with the retail sector by far the largest sector in the US, do you think anyone really enjoys serving people food or stocking shelves?

Having a less stressful life with more time off allows people to pursue a passion they would otherwise not have time for or spend more time with their family or hell just veg. Spending it making and selling widgits (and acting as if making and selling those widgits is the most important thing in the world) in a time when technology affords us the ability to work less feels like a waste to me. Regardless, advances in AI and automation will probably make this moot at some point as there are going to be way more people then there are jobs anyway.

Working more won’t solve it either. Income redistribution, or mandating stock shares for employees or some form of regulation will need to address it (back in the day when unions were strong in the US and factory workers were paid $30/hr and more, did the GMs of the world not make a profit? Of course they did. It’s just that their executives were paid less.) Mind you, most people I know get “bored” and want to work anyway. (That’s something I can’t grok, I find it really hard to be bored outside work.)

This right here. How you get there and overcome a culture that inculcates work and acquiring material things as the highest form of achievement (as seen here and places like Japan and S.Korea) I have no idea.

I’m approaching this as an idealist and I realize none of this will happen in my life time. When I was younger and even more naive and idealistic, I used to ask my friends if sitting in a field of wildflowers was a productive use of time. Without fail they all answered “no.” I always thought, how can appreciating beauty not be productive?


If you’re willing (or already have) adjusted your economic expectations, what’s stopping you (or anyone else) from working less, now? It’ll just mean you have less.

It seems like there are people in this thread (not you) who want to get ahead and to work less hours to do it.


I never work more than 40 hours, but that aside a mortgage (my choice) and health care (not a choice) mandates a full time job.* But I’m not looking at this through a personal lens, rather as a macro-social policy point a view .

*I’m also naturally risk-averse so I take the safe way out, but if I had the courage of my convictions I would do what some aren’t afraid to do, namely selling everything and becoming a goat herder in Morocco or something. Not that many people want to become goat herders, rather leaving the grind and following their bliss as it were)


As @Stepsongrapes, it’s not a question kids playing or not, it’s the length of the time off. I went an American school system in the Netherlands. Since we were reliant on a Dutch Government to bus us in, and a Dutch staff for some of the custodial work, we regular closed for Dutch holidays (as well as some German, Canadian and British ones, athough those had a lot of overlap). With the Dutch holidays, our school went longer into the year than most (mid June) and started a bit earlier, but we still didn’t go as long as the Dutch students at the local school. I think they averaged 20 extra school days at the time, compared to the USA school schedule.

On the other hand, the Dutch school usually ended a good 2 hours earlier than our school, so they had plenty of time to be kids as it were.

So, it wasn’t the amount of time they were in school, but instead the lack of a gap of 2 to 3 months. And as someone was unemployed for 5 months, you lose things when you don’t practice you work for several months.

Some research

Affluent kids can afford to stay active, but when both parents are working full time and maybe get 2 weeks off during the year, it’s hard to organize activities for them.

And schools are places that kids can be kids, if cheap adults would just fund them. Schools should have music and art programs, plays, decent lunch and snack breaks, gyms and sports. After school activities would be cool as well.

They also should have air conditioning and free meals for those families struggling, even if they struggle in the summer time. Kids don’t suddenly stop not having enough to eat in the summer when the school is closed.

Final, as other side, why should I work 40 hours a week to make people the Gentry rich? As long as the majority of wealth continues to flow up instead of be spread out, it’s going to be hard to rationalize me working any harder or longer than I do already.


The spread is fine imo. the kids need a longer break in the summer. 2 week at Easter and Xmas. 3 single weeks at half term in between the bigger breaks and a 6 weeks in the summer, when the weather is good and kids can actually get outside. Works out at 7 weeks per break.

the kids need the break as a Dad of an 8 and 12 year old they are driven to succeed in school massively and by the time July comes they are knackered, they need the break they need to be kids and have fun.

Now if you are talking parents working and struggling to look after kids or parents not doing stuff with kids or taking them out that is another subject and trying to solve it by reducing the holidays to help with childcare is not the way.

I tell you this the 6 weeks fly by, my kids live outdoors whether with my wife, grand parents or with me. There is so much to do it could fill a lifetime the fact there are plenty of parents who lets be honest can’t be arsed is another issue. they are using the holidays as an excuse for their poor parenting.

Those 6 weeks each year are some of the best weeks of the kids life and I have never had my wife, I or the kids say we are bored, can we go to school instead.

To Add, 2 weeks holiday a year, in the UK it’s a legal requirement for 4 weeks plus bank holidays so 28 days.

School these days is rarely a place kids can be kids, the expectation and pressure on schools for results has taken a lot of that away.

Reading a lot of this, I think it depends what country you live in and where you live. Our schools have after school clubs, my kids play electric guitars, Ukuleles and one is also doing the Trumpet at the moment. They have school discos, football matches, lunch time clubs but this is weighted by the expectation to do well and get qualifications. School is fun but hard and kids need a break, the problem is you are looking at it as an a Adult not as kid.

To add my wife is a school teacher.


Given the not-insubstantial number of countries where things are much better because of the way government manages capitalism, I don’t really understand why you don’t think there’s any way to better manage capitalism.

I mean, it’s not like there aren’t capitalist countries with less aggressive work demands.


I think this might be part of the disconnect… summer break in the US is more typically 10-12 weeks. (In my district in Mass, school will end in the middle of June depending on snow days, and will pick up on September 3rd. Other areas of the country will shift that window earlier or later - the northeast tends to be around that, the south tends to end earlier and go back earlier, not sure about the west coast - but the length remains pretty consistent.) Cutting that in half and spreading those weeks throughout the year, without changing the total time off, would be a pretty big improvement.


I have no idea what you are trying to say here. Is it a typo or something?

This is silly. You’re selling your labor to someone else. If you want to go off on your own and start your own business, that’s totally a possibility for you. Hell, I work for someone who did that. He took on a ton of risk to do so.

You say this as though it’s a fact. It’s not a fact. It’s just your opinion.

You want to work less. Ok. Maybe you can find someone who finds your labor that valuable.

Although I suspect that, depending on what you’re doing, someone else in the developing world may be able to work harder than you want to. And then they’re gonna get your job. And they are gonna deserve it.

Ultimately, are you trying to propose some government mandate on how many hours worked? Please don’t. I’d rather negotiate my hours on my own, thanks. You can worry about yourself.

If folks were trying to put a cap on hours at some really high rate, like 80 or even 60, I could see that. But 40? 40 hours just isn’t that hard a week to pull. Maybe if you’re doing backbreaking labor.


Seems that not that long agonthere was a direct correlation between hours worked and money earned, accross most fields.

That bow seems to hold true just for catering and cleaning.

If you are self employed/a business owner then the idea is you front load the long hours and risk for a couple of years and then have the system you built go to work for you.

So it’s inverted- lots of hrs at thr start, not good reward, and hopefully passive income towards the end.

So, that established, seems the work ethic from when most of the economy was based on factory work hasn’t changed at the same pace as the economy itself.

That’s down partially to the pace of change accelerating.

I’m winding down my current employment because I did the maths and worked out my true per hour rate, and it was…not good.

Teaching time is paid, transport, class planning and preparation (printing and cutting stuff up takes time!) time is not, nor is the waiting around between classes.

I dare say if you were to apply the same equation to the hours you gwt compensated for as opposed to the hours ypu actually spend, you’d find the resulting numbers rather depressing.

Mine was €6.35.

I can get more managing my airbnb.

Plus there’s the stress of badly behaved kids, delusional parents etc, that you can’t really price up.

I almost became a teacher full time in the U.K., but I got the distinct impression that if yoi were teaching25 hrs, you were working 50+.


Saturday is the only free day we have as Sunday night is a work night.

Guess what? You’re also posting your opinion.
I get that most Americans have bought into the protestant work ethic, but I haven’t. Doesn’t mean I don’t do a good job or that I’m not conscientious, but my job is far from the most important thing in my life despite corporate America insisting otherwise.

Hate to break it to you but the government already has mandated the forty hour work week.

In 1938, Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which required employers to pay overtime to all employees who worked more than 44 hours in a week . They amended the act two years later to reduce the workweek to 40 hours , and in 1940, the 40 - hour workweek became U.S. law

And it’s simply an arbitrary number rooted in 19th century industrialism.

“Eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.” This is a phrase coined in 1817 by Robert Owen—an 18th century Welsh mill owner and labor rights activist

(The linked article discusses the 40 hour work week and pros can cons of more hours or fewer hours.)


Again, the point isn’t that it’s hard, the point is to have more free time to pursue other things that are important to you (generic you).

Edit edit: Also this isn’t just that I want to work less, I think everyone should work less. That means less stress, which means happier people, which makes for a better society.