Thursday, May 31, 2007


There's an interesting article on wasting time at work in The New York Times:

    American workers, on average, spend 45 hours a week at work, but describe 16 of those hours as “unproductive,” according to a study by Microsoft. America Online and, in turn, determined that workers actually work a total of three days a week, wasting the other two. And Steve Pavlina, whose Web site ( describes him as a “personal development expert” and who keeps incremental logs of how he spends each working day, urging others to do the same, finds that we actually work only about 1.5 hours a day. “The average full-time worker doesn’t even start doing real work until 11:00 a.m.,” he writes, “and begins to wind down around 3:30 p.m.”

    The experts disagree on how we are wasting all this time. The AOL survey says time is lost to surfing the Internet (given the source, that is either self-congratulatory or self-incriminating).

    The Microsoft survey pointed to worthless meetings. Respondents said they spent 5.6 hours each week in meetings and 71 percent of them thought that those meetings “aren’t productive.”

    Searching through clutter is another diversion, says Peggy Duncan, a “personal productivity coach” in Atlanta, who maintains that rifling though messy desks wastes 1.5 hours a day.

An oddity about my job, at least for me, is that it isn't work. It's not work in the way all of my prior jobs were work. I've never had a blue collar (physical) sort of job, but even the so-called "knowledge-jobs" I've held in the past were genuine work, where this one really isn't.

On the average night I drive one fare each hour, perhaps 1.3 per hour, which lasts about 25 minutes. The rest of the time I'm sitting in a parked car reading or messing with this computer. By the actual number of minutes I "work", my workweek amounts to 27.2 hours per week (I average 60.5 hours per week in the car).

It varies greatly, however. Last night I had one, short fare between midnight and 3:15 a.m. Before and after those 10 minutes of work, I read a few blogs, made a post for my own, and watched a few minutes of an auto race I recorded earlier this week. Some nights we're so busy I'm moving 100% of the time, but nearly half of that time I'm driving empty -- unpaid. Is that work?

If I look at the hours per week that I'm the taxi, then we get some large numbers. I average 5.5 working days (shifts) per week (I work five days one week, six the next, and so on). I average 11 hours per shift, amounting to 60.5 hours per week. The average American works 45 hours per week.

Even if I consider every hour I spend in the cab (all 60.5 per week), I don't really consider any of it work. When I'm driving customers, it's about as stressful, demanding, and time-consuming as driving friends to a movie theater, or going to the beach. None of it is work.

I guess I'm lucky (or dumb...or smart?).

Only one this is certain: to earn a decent (middle class) living driving cab, one must put in a lot of hours -- total, in-the-car hours. I have to be "working" during the busy times to maximize the income, and "working" a lot of hours is the only way to guarantee I'm earning during those busy times.

1 comment:

Mia said...

So what you're saying is that some people actually WORK at work??

What a concept. hehhehehe but then how would I have found your blog????

Love these true to life blogs.. *grin*