Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Early Bird Catches No Break

I have to agree with one of the latest "Only in America" mentions from Reader's Digest. This little mention talks about those who take the initative to go to work early so that they don't have to stay horribly late - only they end up doing it anyway. Here's the text:

More of us have a choice of when to start work these days, and increasingly, we're setting the alarm for sleep-stealing pre-dawn hours. About 37 million Americans begin their workday between 4:30 a.m. and 7:59 a.m., according to the Department of Labor, and businesses from the Washington D.C. subway (open at 5 a.m.) to Starbucks (many stores open at 5 a.m.)are helping us get there. Starting early has its upsides. Traffic is sparse, the workplace lacks distractions, and a 6 a.m. start will have you home when school lets out - in theory. Unfortunately, in many offices, "Staying late is like the red badge of courage," says Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute. "We still have this notion that presence equals productivity." While attitudes are changing, some early birds have to slither out the back door if they want to leave pre 5 p.m. and still be "team-players." Hmmm...start early, still stay late. That better be one tasty worm.

We really could take a lesson from the Europeans here. Or better the Australians. I met a couple once while traveling through Europe, and the woman was complaning that her new job only gives the bare mimimum - six weeks vacation. Imagine the pity when I shared that I only get three! Yup -this is what it is these days. I am leaving work at six tonight - and I'll feel guilty - that's the earliest I leave now, and still I feel like I should be here longer. Oy.