Friday, July 20, 2012

The Panda Bear on Store Hours and the 32 Hour Work Week

The Panda Bear Blog is a blog about the busy life of an average American.   The Panda Bear disagrees with so-called "experts" who say people are just imagining how busy they are.

Today the Panda Bear had today off from work.   At 1:00 she is to meet Mother Panda for lunch and help Mother Panda buy a new computer.   Mother Panda now has no computer.

This gave the Panda Bear from 4:30-12:45 of leisure.  (The Panda Bear's work hours are from 7:00-3:30 so she is used to getting up early in the morning).   The Panda Bear spent all yesterday afternoon day dreaming about what she would do with her eight hours of leisure.  

The Panda Bear's first choice of activity would be either to go to a second hand clothes store she likes or the public library.   These places of business do not open up until 10:00.  In fact most stores don't open until 10:00.   Considering the US is now a 24/7 society, the Panda Bear is very surprised that sores don't open earlier during the week.   There must be many people like the Panda Bear who are used to early hours during the week and some people who would like to do errands before work.   Thus, despite the Panda Bear being critical that in the US people are expected to be on the go constantly,  the Panda Bear believes that some institutions might find it useful/profitable to have early morning hours.

The Panda Bear has nothing against being busy.   Indeed, the Panda Bear is devoting a great deal of her leisure time to her blogging and other activities.   The problem is the Panda Bear believes that a great part of American busyness is involuntary.

In the future the Panda Bear will be doing a series of posts advocating that thirty-two hours not forty hours been considered the basis of a full-time work week.  The Panda Bear has picked a thirty-two hour week because the Panda Bear known people who work a thirty-two hour work week and they can hold similar positions to those who work forty hours a week.

The Panda Bear remembers learning an old Union Chant that went:

It is a six day week, and a twelve hour day and it is welcome boys to the USA.

The five day work week certainly was an improvement over the six day week-maybe it is time to consider the four day work week.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Panda Bear on HIV/AIDs, Superpower and Overwork

The Panda Bear is pleased that some of the topics she blogged about a year ago, such as goods from China, and the outsourcing of US jobs is now being discussed by major news outlets.   It is about time!!   Even in the 1990's, the Panda Bear found it hard that she as a US citizen had to compete against the entire global economy for jobs and services that were local to the Panda Bear.    She felt as a US citizen she was a low person on the totem people of American consideration for jobs.  It creates a culture of overwork in the US in that the average Americans constantly has to compete against the entire world for US jobs and services.

The Panda Bear has also complained that the US can spend considerable amount on foreign aid while denying help to its own citizens who suffer from the same problems. The Panda Bear recently came across an example of this double standard.   The Panda Bear heard on NPR that there is a major AIDs epidemic in the African American community.   Under President Bush, the US spent much more combating AIDSs in African than in the US.

To the Panda Bear this seems wrong.   First, the US government should want to help its own citizens, some of whom have paid taxes, before it helps the rest of the world.   Secondly, in these times of high US unemployment, if the US spent more money on programs to help US citizens, it would stimulate the US economy by creating more jobs for Americans which would lead to a higher demand for US services.

Has the US government asked the US citizens on whether they want US to be a superpower?   Many Americans feel they would rather lead calmer lives and live in an ordinary country than living in a superpower where everyone is running as though they had their head cut off.   The Panda Bear personally believes the US and the world would be happier if the US was less involved in world affairs.   

The Panda Bear thinks let some other country feel the heat that comes from being number one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Panda Bear on Time Stress and Being on the Clock

Since the part of the Panda Bear Blog is about time stress, the Panda Bear wanted to share with her readers some interesting articles she has found about time stress.

The first is from an editor of the The Atlantic Monthly saying that only Yuppies felt time stressed.   The Panda Bear agrees to some extent with the article in stating that it time stress is a problem for people who are working and don’t have serious financial problems.   However, the Panda Bear and Mr. Panda are in no way “Yuppies”.   They are just ordinary Panda Bears who are time stressed.

This editor references an article by a The Atlantic cover story on why women can’t have it all.   The Panda Bear wants to point out that this very smart and talented Princeton professor did not realize what it is to be on the clock until she worked for the state department.   The Panda Bear believes that many so called experts have no idea of what it is like to be on the clock.   The Panda Bear works literally on the clock.

The Panda Bear gets frustrated with so-called experts who say flexible hours are the future of work when so many jobs still have set hours. 

Finally, the Panda Bear wanted to share on link from on families being time stressed and living in clutter.  The Panda Bear felt slightly superior because even though her apartment is a total mess(the Panda Bear does not have time to/hates cleaning), she has gotten rid of a lot of clutter in her limited “free time”

Related Panda Bear Posts:

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Panda Bear on Coffee, Yogurt and the No Holiday July 4th

The Panda Bear was feeling stressed out during the week.   She wondered what she could do to make herself feel better.   Some of the Panda Bear's healthy habits have fallen to the wayside this year.   The Panda Bear's coffee consumption has gone way up to over three cups of coffee a day.  Too much caffeine makes people anxious.    She needs to cut it down to one cup(some of the Panda's physicians feel she should drink none).   The problem for the Panda Bear is that small amounts of coffee make the Panda Bear feel extremely good and happy.

The Panda Bear also found this interesting story on NPR stating that eating yogurt could make people feel more relaxed.   There is speculation that there is a gut-mind connection that means that the good bacteria of yogurt that is in the stomach could help the brain relax.   The Panda Bear was always liked healthy bacteria in yogurt particularly since there is some speculation that these bacteria could help fight colds.

These healthy resolution gave the Panda Bear a revelation.    The reason Americans in some ways are ahead of Europe in terms of health care in terms of lifestyle(i.e. healthy diet, less smoking) is that  when we Americans feel tired it is harder for us to get time off from work than Europeans.    Instead of taking time off from work when we feel stressed , Americans try exercise, take vitamins and change eating habits in an attempt to make themselves feel better.   Actually,the Panda Bear believes in healthy living-but she still thinks the reason Americans always complain about being tired is that they are not getting enough rest.

Last week, was the no holiday, holiday of the 4th of July.   Americans are supposed to be celebrating their independence from the British.   The Panda Bear did get the day off from work.   However, nothing was done at work was done to celebrate the 4tjh of July; the leaders of Panda Bear's organization made no mention of this great day at work;

Nowadays most stores are open in the United States for this holiday.   Some people were surprised to hear that the Panda Bear and her husband went to the YMCA to exercise and then went to the stores; some Americans don't realize that now in the USA the only time the country shuts down now is for Christmas.

If the stores were closed, the Panda Bear and her husband probably would have seen friends and done something to celebrate the 4th of July.   The Panda Bear definitely feels there is a down side to stores and other organizations being open during the "holidays".   Employees of these places have to work and puts everyone under more pressure to do chores.

While the Panda Bear is a patriotic American and glad the US won its independence from Great Britain, she still can't help but wonder that if the US had stayed a part of Great Britain would American have now more paid holidays.   Is this the kind of freedom the Founding Father's of the US wanted-everyone feeling pressured to be busy all the time?

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Panda Bear on Ice Cream, Fax Machines and Automated Phone Systems

The Panda Bear Blog is a blog about an ordinary person working on the clock living on times that are too busy.

The death of the Panda Bear's father has disrupted the Panda Bear's schedule.   Her house is a mess and she has failed to keep up her diet and exercise routines.   She had a hard time doing everything before Father Panda's illness and death and has the Panda Bear has fallen even more behind.   Slowly she will pick up her old routines.   The Panda Bear is having to help Mother Panda more and is spending more time with her.   Mother Panda lost her spouse of 54 years and for the last few years she and Father Panda did almost everything together.  Mother Panda Bear has the challenging task of building a new life.

The only bright spot in the Panda Bear’s attempt at healthy living is that this summer the Panda Bear has successfully resisted ice cream.   She figured out some of appeal of ice cream is that it is cold.   She has found very cold fruit (some fruit the Panda Bear will put in the freezer for a short time) a satisfying substitute for ice cream    Cold watermelon is good in hot weather.  (Though not as healthy as fruit the Panda Bear will sometimes eat a frozen waffle that is still frozen-it is still fewer calories than ice cream).    True there are "diet" ice cream products but l fruit is much healthier than diet sweets.

It is a thesis of the Panda Bear Blog that technology can make us work harder not less. There are two technologies that the Panda Bear believes that increased the time and amount of office work; these technologies are the fax machine and automated phone systems.

The Panda Bear remembers the simpler times in the office before there was a fax machine.   New paperwork came in via the mail which was once a day.   The Panda Bear could organize day around the time which the new paperwork arrived. .   Then the fax machine was introduced.   New paperwork came in throughout the day.   The number of phone calls increased because people called to ask whether you had received the fax.   In the early days faxes came on special paper that deteriorated quickly, so there was an additional step of photocopying the fax so the paper would be preserved.    Then a few days later the original copy got sent in the mail so one had to review the paperwork and throw out the duplicate copy.

Though now faxes come in on regular paper, the Panda Bear still has to do with the faxed copy and the original coming in the mail a few days later.   The Panda Bear thinks that 95 percent of what is faxed could simply be sent through the regular mail; waiting an extra day for it to come through the mail would not be a crisis.   While e-mail, like the fax, is going on constantly and causing interruptions, e-mail does have some labor saving functions.   It has replaced memos and phone calls.   The fax machine saves no labor.   It merely adds the additional step of having to deal with a faxed as well as an original copy.   Its introduction has made people want things faster for most of the time without any good reason.

The second technological innovation which has caused an increase in wasted time is the automated menu systems on phones.   People both personally and professionally can spend over 15 minutes just getting through different menus before they can reach a person.   Sometimes after going through three or four menus, people will find that they have reached the wrong phone number for their purpose and they need to contact another number which will have its own automated system.

The Panda Bear thinks that customers and clients should be demanding from organizations the ability to quickly be able to connect to a live person without going through these endless menus.   People should be demanding that organizations have more respect for their time.