Re: This country is so broken.

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It is the troll's lot to be the Sin Eater.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:55 AM
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Four weeks annual paid vacation, required by law. Employers are stiffly fined for each employee vacation day that goes unused. The problem then resolves itself.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 8:13 AM
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|| (eh, it's sort of on-topic, really)

I can't decide how much of the NY Mag Edwards article I believe. Disgruntled aides certainly seem to have turned on the venom, and boy does Elizabeth seem to get a bit of a raw deal, but then again there are the facts that we already knew, and those are bad enough.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 8:14 AM
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2:For all, or as many as humanely possible, in the same month as in France. I know the problems that created back in that heatwave but I think the benefits of not giving employers, or employees for that matter, excuses or exceptions is worth the cost.

The minute you say:well some like to snow ski and want their vacation in January; and some like to visit museums so museums need to be staffed; and we really need a skeletal staff at the exchanges or millions will be lost...you have sacrificed social solidarity and a part of the commons.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 8:39 AM
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Also, as with my students, they feel cynical and resigned but not outraged.

I've just finished reading Žižek's First as Tragedy, Then as Farce and Mark 'K-Punk' Fisher's Capitalist Realism both of which are very good on exactly this topic.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 8:58 AM
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Disgruntled aides certainly seem to have turned on the venom, and boy does Elizabeth seem to get a bit of a raw deal, but then again there are the facts that we already knew, and those are bad enough.

Yeah. I read that and thought that you could probably tell exactly the same story in a way that sounded much less awful. Possibly they really were that awful, but it's the kind of thing you can't check other than by trusting the writers. I kind of doubt the take on "Everyone thought Elizabeth was a psycho harridan," just because you'd think some inkling of that would have gotten out in the last six years, and I'd never seen it anyplace else.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 9:20 AM
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I derive a glimmer of hope from the fact that the age-old European model of shorter work weeks and more vacation is not, in fact, that old. In Germany, for example, the law governing minimum vacation was first passed 1963 (though contractual paid vacations have existed since the Kaiserreich).

Most collective bargaining agreements provide for more vacation time than the statutory minimum of four weeks. These provisions date back only to the 1970s, when the unions took more leisure time as part of deals to restrain wage inflation.

I'm not overly optimistic that the U.S. will change course any time soon. The institutional forces that created paid leave in Europe (strong unions and social democratic parties) are still lacking the U.S. And the fanatical opposition of the employers (that the Chamber of Commerce opposed guaranteed unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act was a sin that will hopefully be punished by eternal hellfire) will be difficult to get through the Senate as long as the filibuster obtains.

But it isn't unthinkable. It wasn't so very long ago that European governments made that choice.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 9:37 AM
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I also can't fault the labor movement for the legislative priorities they have set: minimum wage, Employee Free Choice Act, and health care. Getting EFCA, and revitalizing union organizing, will make establishing paid leave as a social norm that much easier. And stronger union membership will inevitably create stronger counterpressure against the corporate-owned faction of the Democrats.

Maybe I'm a fool, but I predict there will be a serious, and possibly successful, attempt at a 10-day minimum annual vacation within five years of the passage of EFCA. (Ten days doesn't sound like much, but like the minimum wage, a statutory minimum paid leave moves the frame of reference for the entire labor market.)


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 9:43 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 9:48 AM
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(Ten days doesn't sound like much, but like the minimum wage, a statutory minimum paid leave moves the frame of reference for the entire labor market.)

It does, although I must say that employers of my acquaintance don't seem specially moved to surpass statutory minimums for family and medical leave.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 9:54 AM
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3: The illustrations in that article are pretty sweet, particularly the one on page 3.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 9:55 AM
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10: Nor do employers I've known that are just below the thresholds that cause FMLA to apply feel any particular need to provide any such leave at all. "We'll comply with the law as soon as it applies to us".


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 10:08 AM
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3

I can't decide how much of the NY Mag Edwards article I believe. ...

What's hard to believe? Adjusted for standard journalistic slanting in favor of your sources, it seems consistent with other stories I have read.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 10:11 AM
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... I kind of doubt the take on "Everyone thought Elizabeth was a psycho harridan," just because you'd think some inkling of that would have gotten out in the last six years, and I'd never seen it anyplace else.

I have, at least that there were tensions between Elizabeth and staffers. Which of course is common for candidate spouses and staff.

And I find it easy to believe that, under the circumstances, Elizabeth was sometimes a bit frazzled.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 10:15 AM
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3: The illustrations for that piece were deeply insane and made my skin crawl. Well, that and the story of her ripping her shirt off on the tarmac. The whole thing just fit so perfectly with the sneering worldview of Halperin and his ilk that I am very wary of it. But yeah, what we already know is loony and gross.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 10:29 AM
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Oh, frazzled certainly. But the harshest thing I'd ever heard about her personally before was 'tough'. It's not so much any one specific anecdote I doubt, as whether the tone of it is fair. Like, the 'tore her blouse open and exposed herself in a parking lot during an argument with her husband' bit? You could make that sound a little histrionic, but not insane, by including what I would guess is the case, that she was pointing out her surgical scar. Leaving that out seems like trying to make her sound wacko.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 10:35 AM
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|| We are in a different font! So many serifs! |>


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 10:39 AM
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Yeah, you're borked.

Re the nurse - do you not have bank nurses there? Temps, like supply teachers or locum GPs? Here, there are always staffing problems, and there is a constant demand for temporary nursing staff. So if you went on holiday and they couldn't cover it with permanent staff, they'd just have to bring in temps.

Dunno what probation officers do. Juggle, I guess.

I don't mean to question your cousin and future cousin-in-law's judgement, or imply that it's their fault, but I do think a bit that people kind of giving up and thinking that they can't have a holiday just perpetuates the borkedness. If they said, well, we are going away, deal with it - then surely someone would have to?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 10:41 AM
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16

... Like, the 'tore her blouse open and exposed herself in a parking lot during an argument with her husband' bit? You could make that sound a little histrionic, but not insane, by including what I would guess is the case, that she was pointing out her surgical scar. Leaving that out seems like trying to make her sound wacko.

I think the context was understood.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 10:56 AM
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we are going away, deal with it - then surely someone would have to?

Having nobody "deal with it", causing things in the organization to go badly, and then being blamed for that and disciplined and/or fired for causing such trouble seems entirely possible.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 10:57 AM
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18

I don't mean to question your cousin and future cousin-in-law's judgement, or imply that it's their fault, but I do think a bit that people kind of giving up and thinking that they can't have a holiday just perpetuates the borkedness. ...

Or maybe they don't really want a holiday.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 10:58 AM
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19: Sure, but the way the sentence was written made her sound more like a pervert than like someone making a bid for sympathy. The context is obvious if you know the facts, but not supplying it with the anecdote still makes her sound like more of a psycho than is really fair.

20: I've really internalized that fear -- I have a hell of a time making myself take the vacation I'm entitled to. I can't blame my current workplace, and I really shouldn't blame my prior workplaces too much. I just need to get over it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:02 AM
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I think there's a grain of truth that they aren't trying that hard to make it happen. Given that they still have 6 months, they certainly didn't need to have given up so soon.

Nevertheless, their resignation is a product of the culture at their places of employment. I assume they've seen other people choose not to leave for two weeks, or else they've seen bad consequences.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:03 AM
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The idea of a surgical scar never came to my mind when reading that part of the article.


Posted by: Cryptic med | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:05 AM
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For another thing that seemed unfair, the 'you're poison to our marriage' phone call to unnamed staffers? I have no idea if she was right or wrong to be angry at whoever she was angry at. But that call sounds clearly as if it was directed at some particular person or group of people, in relation to some particular error of commission or omission more specific than 'allowing the Enquirer article to be published'. Leaving the target of and reason for her anger totally vague, as the article does, makes her sound like a nutcase in a way I find implausible. (I mean, maybe that call was directed to everyone who worked on the campaign, for no reason more specific than that the article was published. But I doubt it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:10 AM
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22: I didn't think surgical scar either, but that makes sense. In the Iliad and other Greek stuff the breast-baring gesture is a really abject gesture of supplication -- particularly by mothers. Hecuba rips open her shirt on the wall of Troy when she is begging Hector to come back inside and not face Achilles. (A friend of mine lived in Quito for a while and a woman running for mayor ripped open her shirt at a campaign appearance, saying something like "These are only for the people! They will never suckle the oligarch!")


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:11 AM
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Also, as with my students, they feel cynical and resigned but not outraged.

It's not clear what you would do with your outrage. If organized labor efforts haven't been able to alter the situation for the moment, you're left with simply having to go to work.

Nevertheless, their resignation is a product of the culture at their places of employment. I assume they've seen other people choose not to leave for two weeks, or else they've seen bad consequences.

No doubt. The probation officer may have experienced bad consequences himself, in the form of having make up 2 weeks of his own missed work upon return.

It's unfortunate, but I find myself wanting to push back against a tone in the OP that makes it sound as though the fact that most people are ... underprivileged? put upon? ... in their places of employment is shocking news.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:12 AM
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so chronically underfunded and dysfunctional over extended.

The American way is to work very hard, then retire for health reasons.
My resolution is to retire a bit every year and enjoy it when I'm still young.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:19 AM
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I don't think it's shocking news so much as that I do observe a kind of college-campus like memory length among some people.

So it's not unusual to know people who are convinced -- usually with good cause -- that if they actually take the benefits to which they are entitled, they will either outright be disciplined/fired, or they will be socially punished. (Think of the case of the nurse, how easy it is for the scheduling person to give her months of scut shifts, or put her with the most quarrelsome or dangerously incompetent doctors.)

In order to not fall prey to this, you have to have a sense that it has not always been this way and doesn't have to always be this way. The easiest ways to get that sense, in my observation, are:
1. Working at a place that treats you better (or knowing someone who does).
2. Knowing enough history to understand that the 40-hour work week, the idea of paid sick time, and a host of other imperfect-but-still-around benefits were once unthinkable.

#2 doesn't happen naturally in our society. To be educated about labor history, you have to go and search it out. That's what I meant about the campus-like memory length. The biggest scandal in the university will be all but forgotten in four years -- for good or for bad. Similarly, the labor fights of one generation become more or less invisible within ten years or so, I'd say.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:20 AM
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These are only for the people! They will never suckle the oligarch!

Oh, the might-have-beens of the 2008 primary campaign, if HRC hadn't insisted on playing it safe.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:21 AM
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John Logue, who I mentioned in the end-of-year thread a couple of weeks ago, did some really extraordinary work setting up employee stock ownership programs for small businesses in the Midwest.

They're not a panacea, but there's absolutely a difference in the incentive structures when working for the Waltons of Arkansas versus an ESOP.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:25 AM
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In order to not fall prey to this, you have to have a sense that it has not always been this way and doesn't have to always be this way.

It's exceedingly excellent if employees have a sense of this (despite the fact that there's often little they can do about it at the moment), but it would, of course, be much better if employers did.

Hey! Do management courses teach labor history as a matter of course? Hm. The people heading up the probation officer's department and the nurse's ward/hospital/health care facility may well not have M.B.A.s, but they might have taken management training classes?

Let us revise the training requirements not just for employees but for supervisors. We're always on about educational standards; I suggest training standards for higher-ups as well. It's not good enough just to segregate this among HR professionals, if even they learn any labor history.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:34 AM
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Hey! Do management courses teach labor history as a matter of course?

I would be flabbergasted.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:39 AM
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25

... Leaving the target of and reason for her anger totally vague, as the article does, makes her sound like a nutcase in a way I find implausible. (I mean, maybe that call was directed to everyone who worked on the campaign, for no reason more specific than that the article was published. But I doubt it.)

Candidate spouses are notorious for blaming all setbacks on staff. And Elizabeth probably wasn't at her best. That makes her human not a nutcase.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:41 AM
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23

I think there's a grain of truth that they aren't trying that hard to make it happen. Given that they still have 6 months, they certainly didn't need to have given up so soon.

Are they taking any time off at all?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:46 AM
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I'm with nosflow in 33.

Also, in rereading, I think my 31.last is unclear. I meant that the incentives *for the employers* are different. If you're being put under immense pressure to keep costs down -- as is often the case in privately-owned prisons, or in hospitals -- and to show rapid and regular profits every quarter, then it doesn't matter what you as a supervisor think is the best way to manage your staff. And it certainly doesn't matter what you know about US labor history. It's in very often in your best interest to punish staff who create "problems."

There's a big auto insurance company (I think it's State Farm) that has a "reliability" gauge for its telephone representatives. It doesn't measure how often you fail to show up for work. It measure how often you take scheduled time off.

So you're just as "unreliable" if you give your boss two weeks' notice for a personal day, or call out sick the day before, as you are if you simply wake up that day with the flu and call out five minutes before your shift starts.

As a supervisor, it's a pain in the neck of my front-line staff call out, but there's a big difference between scheduled and unscheduled absences. I've fired people for failing to show up, but I can't imagine firing or disciplining people for *taking the time their employee handbook says they are entitled to.*


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:47 AM
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There's a big auto insurance company (I think it's State Farm) that has a "reliability" gauge for its telephone representatives. It doesn't measure how often you fail to show up for work. It measure how often you take scheduled time off.

Bastards.

I'm largely with Asilon above, as an I'd just take the time off and fuck it. I've left a job in the past because of a similar issue. On the other hand, I was young and it was easy to do. Rather harder if you are older and have real responsibilities.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:50 AM
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I think it was Marvin Davis (oil magnate and Denver Broncos owner) who said, "I give all of my employees two weeks vacation, and I'd like to meet the SOB who has the guts to take all of it."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:52 AM
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23 - I'm certainly not blaming your relatives in this individual case. I hope they get to do *something* for their honeymoon.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:53 AM
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I heard a managing partner say almost that at my last law firm. Lawfirms are pretty generous with the vacation on paper, but it's hard to actually take it. This place had given less vacation than its peer firms, and there was a meeting announcing that we were going to start getting the same amount as the other big firms. At the meeting, the partner making the announcement said "God knows why we're doing this, does anyone take the vacation we get now?"


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:54 AM
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I don't totally understand 36. If they're only docked reliability points for scheduled time off, is it better to call in at the last minute?


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:56 AM
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re: 38

I hope something very very bad happened to him.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:59 AM
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40:Yeah, any work where "hours billed" is measured (especially if bonuses etc. are based on it) has a built in disincentive no matter what the stated policy is. I see it various consulting contexts as well. Curious how that works in England and Europe.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:00 PM
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taking the time their employee handbook says they are entitled to

I'm curious: do many employee handbooks specify *when* time off may be taken? In other words, while one may be entitled to, say, 3 weeks off annually, may those 3 weeks be taken consecutively? One at least has to ask for permission, doesn't one?

It's been a long time since I've worked in an environment with any sort of official eye toward these things.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:00 PM
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Sorry, Cecily, I was unclear. The reliability gauge doesn't measure *just* your unscheduled time off; it measures *both* scheduled and unscheduled.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:01 PM
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42: He died! ... of course he was 79 (and rich as Croesus).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:01 PM
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42: In the afterlife, sure.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:01 PM
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re: 44

My wife's employers strongly discourage people from taking holiday time around particular busy periods in their working year. It's not forbidden, and people do take it, but managers may refuse to authorise holidays during those busy times when a number of other people have already booked them at the same period. It's usually a matter for negotiation with individua managers, though, it's not some set-in-concrete rule.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:03 PM
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I confess I'm not particularly shocked by the story in the OP because I have the sense that it's not an unusual one in the least. I feel like I've talked to or heard about 5 or so couples in recent years who have postponed their honeymoon for one reason or another. IIRC, my sister had to struggle a bit to squeeze her wedding + honeymoon in between med school and the start of her residency program.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:05 PM
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Unless you are dealing with low-skill jobs with very high turnover, denying annual vacation to employees is ultimately a short-sighted business decision even in purely economic terms. People need rest and recuperation.

But what's even more perverse and infuriating than the typical stinginess with anual holidays is the notion of incentive vacations -- around which a gigantic industry has grown up. Overshoot your sales quotas and make "President's Club" or some such nonsense, and we'll send you to Hawaii for a week at company expense. Yes, you can have a vacation, but only on our terms! And only if you are top-of-scale in your work performance. We'll have a few nominally business related events so that we can write it off as a business expense, and also so you can never quite forget that you're an employee first and a human being second, if at all.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:06 PM
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Re: 44, I've mostly worked for small employers, so I don't know first hand. My sense is that it varies a lot, but it's common for the employee handbook to require both advance notice and supervisor approval of vacation time.

Every place that I've worked has had social pressure not to take optional vacation during specific (short) busy periods, and frankly I'm fine with that. It's being kind of a jerk to leave your co-workers shorthanded the week before the annual conference, or disappear the first week of school.

That said, that reaction really only applies to purely discretionary time off. I haven't seen it in cases where the person has a previously scheduled trip (from before they came to work for us), where they are trying to schedule it around their spouse's schedule, etc.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:13 PM
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48: That's as I thought, and certainly what people I know working in those kinds of environments experience. I myself (self-employed) don't often take more than 1 week off at a time.

What I was getting at was that the employers of Heebie's cousin and fiancee aren't necessarily violating employee rights in making it difficult for them to take 2 consecutive weeks off. There are other conclusions: they're being jerks; the organizations are over-extended and/or narrow-mindedly profit-oriented; the work ethic, it remains strong! in this country ... but I'm not convinced this is a failure of legally-mandated employee rights.

Rather, it's a failure to understand how (and why) to construct and maintain an engaged, happy staff.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:14 PM
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I recall reading in Alan Turing's biography (Enigma) how Turing chafed at "only" getting 1 week per quarter off for holiday during the war. Guy saving England: 4 weeks, cubicle drudge in the US: 2 weeks if you're lucky. (OK, it's more complicated than that, but it certainly struck me.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:19 PM
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There supposedly exists on the 9th circuit a judge, a former labor lawyer, who gives her clerks to understand that she'd rather they not take their vacation.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:19 PM
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53: It's called incentives, JP. You want more vacation? Save England. If you just give people stuff, they don't work hard.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:22 PM
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The thing about Americans -- and it took me a long time to understand this -- is that we are a country of people who know their place. The reason why myths of rugged individualism loom so large is because we're rugged individualists, but because we are not: it compensates for the reality of our lives.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:24 PM
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56: Nah, Americans have plenty of get-up-and-go. It just bubbles up in different areas depending on a host of factors.

Ever met any Albanians? How about Uzbeks? Hard to match that level of fatalism, IME.*

*N.b.: Sample size of about 100; I'm not claiming fully representative.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:34 PM
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she'd rather they not take their vacation

I'm tempted to go off into condemnation of the division of labor and of hyper-specialization, but I'll just gesture in that direction instead:

A lot of this sort of thing, which I experience with my book-partner as well (he cannot manage to do that, or this, without me to do it for us!), is a function of, well, just that: some kind of self-infantilization brought on by specialization.

You'll say I'm overstating, and okay. But really: if you cannot, say, manage your own appointments, or type your own memos, or work with a temp to do the same, you have really made yourself sort of pathetic.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:34 PM
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It's a damn shame that the graveyards are full of indispensable men, because we sure could use a few more of those living right about now. Hell, some indispensable women would be nice too.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:35 PM
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Germany does not have a legally mandated minimum wage. Just sayin'.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:39 PM
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I feel like I've talked to or heard about 5 or so couples in recent years who have postponed their honeymoon for one reason or another. IIRC, my sister had to struggle a bit to squeeze her wedding + honeymoon in between med school and the start of her residency program.

I think this is a completely different situation. I don't think it's crazy to postpone your honeymoon. Jammies and I haven't gone on one yet. I think it's crazy that their jobs are so unflexible, percieved or real.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:42 PM
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Or even inflexible.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:43 PM
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60: Interesting. Pardon my ignorance, but how does that work, then?

There's no enforcement mechanism (bar quitting) if you think your boss is not paying you enough? Is there a de facto floor that gets informally settled upon in different cities or industries? Do the wages go as low as the US for casual labor ($2.83/hour for jobs that include tips)?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:44 PM
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According to the radio, if you have a body that belongs on a poster, you get something called "maximum wage."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 12:48 PM
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63: Well, in lots of sectors, people are covered by union-related agreements. De facto, people are paid according to a scale that's been negotiated at some larger level, whether or not they personally (and, in many cases) or their employer is involved with a union. That's why unions have not been in favor of legislated minimum wages; they say it "interferes in the freedom of the contracting parties". But they're mainly protecting their turf.

I don't know that any work that's officially on the books goes as low as $2.63. Certainly you see items in the press about, say, a florist's assistant in Saxony making like EUR 3 per hour. There are also "mini-jobs", which pay EUR 400 per month. They're less than full-time, I think, and feature reduced paperwork, as well as reduced employer contributions. They're supposed to be for things like household help or transition to full-time work, but you see places like grocery stores and bakeries posting notices for cashiers etc "on a mini-job basis".

In practice, not a lot of employers plumb the depths that are theoretically available. But nevertheless, Germany has no statutory minimum wage.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:02 PM
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60, 63: True, but only tells part of the story. Collective bargaining agreements can be made generally binding for all firms in an industry, and frequently are. So there is effectively a minimum wage for the vast majority of employees. It's defined by contract rather than statute. And it sets the terms of competitive reference for the rest of the labor market.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:07 PM
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Witt: Huh? I didn't say anything about fatalism, or lack of get-up-and-go.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:15 PM
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...Or what Doug said in the prior comment


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:17 PM
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69

If this is the marriage thread, too, I submit that I was and remain dumbstruck to learn that a recent friend's marriage proposal included the down-on-one-knee thing. I was the only one of four people at the table who thought it to be completely ridiculous.

And everyone agreed that not having a diamond was sensible, but my suggestion that both partners should wear something to note the engagement—if not a ring, perhaps a bracelet or a necklace—as long as one partner was going to wear a ring? Outright silly, according to the assembled crew of otherwise liberal-minded folks.

My views on marriage are fringe views, I remind myself.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:21 PM
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Doug, do you know if the previous government ever took action on the proposed minimum wage for letter carriers? I stopped paying attention since I'm no longer getting paid to care.

For the rest of y'all: the proposal was to set a fairly generous minimum wage in this one job category in order to protect Deutsche Post from competition after the abolition of the first class mail monopoly.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:23 PM
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And everyone agreed that not having a diamond was sensible,

That would really depend on how many cows her father demanded and what you had left over after that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:26 PM
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I had to read 69.2 a couple of times: I see. The assembled party didn't see why both parties should wear something if one was.

Huh. Well, Stanley, you know how it is.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:26 PM
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I did the kneel on one knee thing when I proposed to Fleur. I didn't ask her father for her hand, though.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:27 PM
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73: You held out for the good parts?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:30 PM
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72: Right. Sorry to be unclear, but that was exactly it. The down-on-one-knee thing and the girl-wears-the-ring thing? Whoa, crazy.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:30 PM
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I didn't ask her father for her hand, though.

There's hope for you yet.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:31 PM
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73: Which is a shame, because hands can be useful.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:33 PM
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70: Brief Googling implies that it did. I haven't paid any attention to the issue recently either, though.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:38 PM
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I loved studying in the US (a time when Americans do mostly get to be free) and for a while I even wanted to stay, but the live to work mentality was one of the reasons why I was happy to pursue my career in the UK - I get thirty days holiday a year, which I can use with no notice, and can take a five year career break and come back if I so choose.


Posted by: TiltingatWindmills | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:39 PM
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Thanks, Doug. (And KR)

Walt, I guess I misunderstood your definition of rugged individualism. I think I saw "knowing their place" and translated it to a kind of resigned, don't-step-out-of-line attitude I've observed in some contexts. Mea culpa.

Stanley, I've heard secondhand that it is traditional in Brazil for men and women to wear a ring on their right hands while engaged, transferring it to the left hand at the wedding. I'm not sure that this is a mark of tremendous gender egalitarianism, though.

(On preview: Wikipedia backs me up.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:42 PM
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69

Don't (at least some) married men wear rings/wedding bands? My father did. I can't see why it would be weird for both to wear engagement somethings (rings, bracelets, whatever) if both are planning to wear marriage somethings. Then again, I'd streamline the whole process and go right to the marriage somethings. What's the use of an engagement something if you only wear it for that short pre-marriage period? Hey look, the fringe...


Posted by: currence | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:43 PM
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You crazy Stanley, next you'll be thinking that ... well, I don't even know what. It's downright silly, whatever it is. You've heard that traditions are the foundation of a well-ordered society, haven't you?

You probably use moisturizer, don't you?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:43 PM
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"The down-on-one-knee thing and the girl-wears-the-ring thing" are the things that everyone does in my experience, which is why everyone does them.

What surprises me is the prevalence of the "girl-changes-her-name" thing. I mean, changing your name has serious effects on your life, and interactions with others and, even more harrowing, interactions with corporations..


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:45 PM
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I wasn't surprised to find out that 70% of Americans think a woman should change her name, but I was shocked that 50% think it should be legally required.

Then I decided it was just the latest iteration of people's generally low skills in distinguishing between "Things I think would be good if they happened" and "Things that I would like to force people to do, upon pain of taking their money or locking them up if they fail to comply."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:49 PM
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From the link in 84:

"They said the mailman would get confused and that society wouldn't function as well if women did not change their name," Hamilton says.

I just wanted to quote that. The mailman. Would get confused.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:55 PM
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Someone needs to do a survey of mailmen postal carriers on this confusion issue. Results to be reported in, um, Science, or The Onion.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:58 PM
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What would be confusing about it?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 1:59 PM
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Society cannot function when the mailman is confused! Thanks, parsimon--85 may have made my day.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:00 PM
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87: You wouldn't know who belonged together, duh. I mean, people with different last names? At the same address?! How would the mailman letter carrier know that it wasn't a prior tenant, huh?

I'm probably a little irrational on this based on the number of times I've heard someone say something like "Well, it's better for the children, so they know which family they belong to."


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:05 PM
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There was also palpable excitement at this dinner-table discussion about the notion that the new fiancée was surprised. I am baffled. Plan this shit together weirdo marrying people!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:07 PM
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Wife and I both wear same set of rings: one engagement, one wedding. Though neither of us have rings set with stones. Just a cool titanium engagement ring and an even cooler tungsten carbide wedding ring for each of us.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:08 PM
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I would counsel all the straight fellas, if you ever ask a woman to marry you, to get down on one knee and give her a diamond. Yes, it's foolish on the face of it (especially the diamond part -- faux tradition invented by Madison avenue) but her's the thing: your gal is going to get asked, at conservative estimate, five gajillion times by female friends and relatives to tell the story of how yoy proposed.

And they will judge you by it. Unless they are three standard deviations above the mean of feminist consciousness, they will approve of the kneeling diamond proffering. Even two sigma feminists will be at worst neutral about it, while everyone on the other side of the distribution will judge you, possibly harshly, for not doing it. The strategy of hewing to tradition dominates in this case for all but the most unusual milieus (and I don't discount the possibility that some of these are represented on unfogged).


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:08 PM
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89: I know! There are three unmarried males living in this apartment, and each of us has a different surname! It's a miracle that we don't come home every day to the letter carrier sobbing on our front step, hopefully confused over what to do with all that mail.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:09 PM
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everyone on the other side of the distribution will judge you, possibly harshly, for not doing it

I judge them at least as harshly and am okay with that.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:12 PM
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Fortunately, people don't get randomly assigned their prospective spouses, so they're usually in a pretty good position to judge how conservative said spouses and their cohorts are before it gets to that point.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:13 PM
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93: they can at least be consoled by the fact that their fraternal letter carriers in Germany are now protected by a minimum wage law.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:13 PM
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your gal is going to get asked, at conservative estimate, five gajillion times by female friends and relatives to tell the story of how yoy proposed, and the more specific-to-her and endearing the story, the better.

I've heard heartwarming stories of couples proposing to each other, of a husband being turned down three times and then making his wife kneel when she was finally ready to ask him, of children asking their parents to get married, of people pledging private commitment to each other very early in the relationship and regarding the later marriage as just an affirmation....there's a lot of different ways to tell a happy and romantic story to people who want to be happy for you. Pre-planning to accommodate the prejudices of some of them sounds like a really un-fun way to start a marriage.

(I'm not disputing that the paradigm exists -- heck, even my sisters have diamonds-and-on-one-knee stories, although they'd also discussed marriage pretty extensively with their fiances beforehand.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:18 PM
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91

I hadn't considered wearing the engagement and wedding rings together. This strikes me as the superior option, more rings for everyone!


Posted by: currence | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:19 PM
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For the record, if my daughters grow up to abhor the thought of a diamond engagement ring and a proposal on bended knee, I will be delighted.

I did it that way because I thought Fleur would like it. And she did. Which is not to say she wouldn't have been equally happy with some other procedure. The rationale from 92 is something I deduced post hoc. Her friends are, on average, a lot more traditional than we are.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:29 PM
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99: That's roughly where I'm at. I understand that people have done things that way for a while, and I don't mean to belittle anyone's on-bended-knee proposal. Good on you, and congrats.

I'm surprised that a liberal, snarky, anti-establishment friend of mine hews to that tradition in the year 2010.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:34 PM
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My wifes Uncle popped the question to his partner of 40 years, in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner. One of their sons had a mail-order minister's ordination from an on-line church, and so he married them on the spot, right there in the kitchen. Then we all did a conga line.

Seems like a good way to do it...


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:37 PM
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I wonder how the Blandings Castle version would go over in later retellings; the one where you grasp the object of your affections firmly about the waist while bellowing, "My mate!"


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:39 PM
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When eekbeat and I get married, we're going to wear LED-embedded headbands that read "Fuck you, gays!"

I can't wait.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:39 PM
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I'm surprised that a liberal, snarky, anti-establishment friend of mine hews to that tradition in the year 2010

Yeah, well keep in mind that *my* proposal of marriage was delivered in the latter part of the previous century.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:39 PM
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I can't decide how much of the NY Mag Edwards article I believe. Disgruntled aides certainly seem to have turned on the venom, and boy does Elizabeth seem to get a bit of a raw deal

I have heard personally from people who should know that Elizabeth Edwards is a total nightmare.

Edwards actions in having an affair (and with an obviously unreliable woman to boot) while he was running for President seem totally unforgiveable. It's a shame, I used to like the guy.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:41 PM
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105: The weird thing about that article is how much of it is unsourced. It comes off as catty.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:46 PM
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Maybe I'm a fool, but I predict there will be a serious, and possibly successful, attempt at a 10-day minimum annual vacation within five years of the passage of EFCA.

I think EFCA is in serious trouble because of how much time was burned on health care reform. Possibly global warming legislation too.

"Well duh, of course Walmart makes their employees check out and then go back to work. I work there and they do it all the time. Why's she getting all bent out of shape over it?"

Not to get all Thomas Frank about it, but it's amazing how Americans identify with their oppressors.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:46 PM
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106: yes, true. But most juicy DC stuff is unsourced, it's critical to a staffer's career to maintain a reputation for discretion. Even today, only a small percentage of personal stuff that is known within the immediate orbit of a pol becomes public.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 2:49 PM
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"They said the mailman would get confused and that society wouldn't function as well if women did not change their name," Hamilton says.

We have two men regularly delivering stuff to our door - the normal postman, and one who brings bigger parcels. He came with something that needed signing for about a month ago, and it was addressed to me, but C opened the door, so the parcelman filled in C's last name on the thing before getting C to sign it. Not so easily confused - don't misunderestimate the mailmen!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 3:14 PM
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I'm surprised that a liberal, snarky, anti-establishment friend of mine hews to that tradition in the year 2010.

Sorry. Not being a creative person I couldn't think of any better ideas.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 3:31 PM
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110: It has nothing to do with being creative. The tradition treats women as chattel.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 3:40 PM
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In the UK, you don't actually have a right to public holidays. Workplaces have to close for bank holidays (which intersect the set of public holidays). But I'm not aware of an actual numeric answer, broadly applicable, to "how much time off is there?"


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 3:43 PM
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Not to get all Thomas Frank about it, but it's amazing how Americans identify with their oppressors.

It's not a specifically American thing. It's a hallmark of a whole general trend in capitalist societies since at least the 1970s. The US is a bit further down that road than some, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 3:45 PM
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At least, the last time I tried to answer this question, the answer was "something or other, subject to contract, with or without bank and public holidays". However, it seems that this has been resolved.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 3:52 PM
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re: 112

Yeah, although most people tend to get roughly 8 public/bank holidays, no? Plus whatever pro rata holiday time they get.

I've never worked anywhere where I had less than 20 days + bank holidays; and that includes lots of shitty service industry jobs.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:00 PM
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Ah-hah, and 20 + bank holidays works out at roughly the legal minimum in the link at 114.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:02 PM
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115: "Bank holidays" means that places with shitty service industry jobs are closed too?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:13 PM
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I get two weeks vacation, plus 10 holidays, plus whatever between Christmas Eve and New Years Day isn't already a holiday, plus two 'personal days', plus 12 sick days. In another year and a half, it goes to three weeks vacation.

On the other hand, I get assigned about 50 hours of work a week.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:33 PM
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Follow the link; it's more complicated than that. You've got a right to the time off, I think, but not necessarily to the specific day. The point about bank holidays was that (in 18something) the industrial working class had their traditional wakes weeks (term varies by dialect), and the unions or else just king mob would guarantee that. If you worked in a - shitty service industry - job, not so much, so the banks were ordered to close so that all the clerks would get their statutory holidays.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:34 PM
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re: 117

Not necessarily. A lot of businesses might still open but employees would get a day off in lieu some other time, or otherwise gain the holiday day back in another way [to retain the basic 5 and a bit weeks entitlement described in the link in 114]. Some places might pay you extra for working a bank holiday, but a lot of places don't.

For me, I get 28 holiday days [i.e. a little under 6 working weeks], plus 8 public holidays, plus the days between Christmas and New Year [because my entire place of work is closed]. It works out around a total of 40 days for this year. There's no such thing as 'sick days', obviously.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:39 PM
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113: ttaM, are you alluding to the books you mentioned way up in comment 5? Although the idea may not be original to them, and I'd be a little surprised if it is.

Care to say briefly how the narrative on this goes? I can construct it myself if need be, or look up the books mentioned in 5, but I'm being lazy right now.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:41 PM
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||

I also see that the time-stamp discrepancy on unfogged comments is becoming just way, way off at this point. Almost half an hour.

|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:43 PM
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There's no such thing as 'sick days', obviously.

So, if you get a cold, you either have to go into the office and spread your germs or take it out of your vacation? That doesn't sound like a good incentive. I know can call-in sick if you aren't (somebody once told me about it), but I have an easier time staying away from work when I know I should if I don't think I'm stealing from vacation time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:43 PM
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re: 121

Yes, I am, although neither book claims its original to them. They both reference Deleuze, and Foucault among others [on control, and dominance, etc], and tie that into changes in capitalist business practice, among other things. There are lot of interesting material in both books about apathy, post-Fordist capitalism, audit culture, and so on and their relationship to various concepts they both take from various 'post-modern' thinkers. It's late, if I get a chance I'll try to type more tomorrow [or find an excerpt online].

Both books are, fwiw, little more than extended pamphlets [100 pages or so each], and are a good read. Lots of bitchy polemic, but with a fair bit of wit and insight.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:45 PM
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I also see that the time-stamp discrepancy on unfogged comments is becoming just way, way off at this point. Almost half an hour.

Turning and turning in the widening gyre: The falcon cannot hear the falconer.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:46 PM
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||

I also see that the time-stamp discrepancy on unfogged comments is becoming just way, way off at this point. Almost half an hour.

|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:46 PM
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re: 123

No, I just go off sick. There's no tally of sickdays that gets counted down or a fix number. If I'm sick, I'm sick. There's a requirement to produce a doctor's note over a certain number of days absence.

The concept of a finite small number of sick days isn't really common in Britain.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:47 PM
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Wow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:49 PM
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||

I also see that the time-stamp discrepancy on unfogged comments is becoming just way, way off at this point. Almost half an hour.

|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:50 PM
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Holy crap! I'm sorry, I'm not sure why that comment keeps showing up.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:51 PM
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130: The key to comedy is repetition?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:51 PM
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||

I also see that the time-stamp discrepancy on unfogged comments is becoming just way, way off at this point. Almost half an hour.

|>


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:53 PM
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Repetition about timing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:53 PM
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It must be in the delivery, because it just seems annoying when I do it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:54 PM
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135!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 4:55 PM
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||
I've been re-watching the Wire. I forgot how grim season 4 is. Not a good pick-me-up! Also, I miss Stringer.
|>


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 5:11 PM
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||
Feh. I was halfway through writing a post on Mark Kleiman's newish book, and my browser crashed and I lost all but the first sentence.
|>


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 5:16 PM
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137: Weird. I saw your post draft as I went to write my most recent post (and thought, "Ooh, a forthcoming LB post!"). Now it's gone for me, too.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 5:20 PM
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It was annoying when I did it too, Moby.

In any case, thanks ttaM. Uh, mumble Foucault, mumble post-Fordist, culture culture, postmodernism. Deleuze. (I am teasing.) The apathy part is worth looking into. I'm interested in the way in which people come to adopt certain emotional stances; the ironic stance might be one step away from apathy.*

I've never read any Žižek, so this might be a good way to dip in to him.

* There's a terrific book called American Cool: Constructing a Twentieth-Century Emotional Style, which I think I've mentioned here before. And I really like David Foster Wallace's stuff on irony in "E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction."


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 5:22 PM
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We had 4 weeks of vacation when I was an associate, and unlimited personal time. I always took all of my vacation. I made my hours maybe 6 out of 9 years, but when I didn't it was clear that it wasn't because I took vacation . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 5:31 PM
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||

I also see that unfogged comments are becoming just way, way off at this point.

|>


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 5:39 PM
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The mailman got confused, k-sky.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 5:59 PM
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The time-stamp discrepancy is just part of our steam-powered charm.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 6:27 PM
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You know?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 6:57 PM
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Dude!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:04 PM
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Yeah?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:05 PM
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Ahem. I appreciate the time-stamp correction.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:07 PM
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Steam-powered charm.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:09 PM
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Ah, the rejected comments must have been part of the great time-stamp correction of aught-10.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:10 PM
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I'm having a bit of an adjustment from my software industry "three weeks vacation to start, and take as much sick time as you need, and just basically don't worry about it" former career to my new public sector job with actual timesheets. On the other hand, 35-hour work week, and 1.5x comp time for overtime.

(On the other other hand, eight furlough days this year. On the other other other hand, incredible health insurance.)


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:11 PM
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I'm a nurse and in a union, and vacations are doled out strictly by seniority. In my immediate pool, about half of the nurses have more than 20 years of seniority, so I can't realistically expect to choose my vacation time for a long time.

Three nurses are allowed to take vacation per week in the summer. It would only be possible for someone to get two consecutive weeks if two or fewer nurses above them in seniority wanted each of those weeks. The fact that it's your honeymoon is irrelevant. You might not even know which weeks others requested. You won't know whether you get those weeks until mid-March, and most weddings are planned further in advance than that.

It's quite common for younger nurses to take off just the weekend of their wedding, and beg the older ones to let them have the week before so they can travel or take care of last minute details, then take the honeymoon in the off season when they can get vacation time.

As for taking your husband's name, well, as a labor and delivery nurse, I suggest that you make it very clear to your family and friends which name you are using. It's pitiful for your mother to be standing at the nurse's station crying because you're in labor and we won't tell her where, just because she can't remember the name of that idiot you married (the one who somehow fathered the perfect grandchild).


Posted by: Shamhat | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:14 PM
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148: Rejected by the U.S. Patent Office! And why is Phyllis Schlafly mentioned?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:22 PM
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I was halfway through writing a post on Mark Kleiman's newish book

Yay.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:23 PM
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Rejected by the U.S. Patent Office!

Probably for timestamp issues.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:24 PM
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Largely because you reminded me to read it, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:24 PM
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154: It would be pretty fascinating to go through earlier (19th, early 20th century? mid-20th century?) U.S. Patent Ofc. submissions to see which were rejected. Some pretty incredible ones were accepted, though whether the item or device in question ever went into production is a separate question.

In the case of the steam-powered dildo, well, what's the criterion there? Did someone on the panel just say: Look, dumbass, a woman can do just as well with a cucumber, for crying out loud, and you, sir, are being ridiculous.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:31 PM
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Further to 156: I believe the Patent Office simply reviews for innovation and technical viability, so someone else had presumably already come up with the idea, or else it just didn't work.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:33 PM
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Largely because you reminded me to read it, of course.

I was just happy that prodding was enough to get you to read it. I've lent my copies out (I decided I liked it enough to get a dedicated lending copy) but, with the holidays going on, nobody has had time to read it yet.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:36 PM
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Cucumbers aren't steam-powered!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:40 PM
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No. What's your point?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 7:50 PM
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There's more on the contraption here, but google patents isn't showing it for that inventor and anyway I suspect the story about a patent application may not be true.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 8:05 PM
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160 was grumpy for no good reason. Sorry, neb. The stupid cavemen eaters discussed in the other thread annoyed me.

The Patent Ofc. stuff would be interesting: the idea seems, or seemed, to be that more automation and/or, in the case of the dildo, faster (I assume), is better. After all, we have devices, presumably patented, which will pit olives, separate eggs, and so on. Surely the difficulties people think they're solving are invented ones.

I'm saying completely obvious things, and yet! I find this interesting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 8:10 PM
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However, I did find that google's OCR errors have created an entry for ASSIGKKTOB TO THE SEDUCING MACHINE


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 8:13 PM
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Looking further, the patent databases don't seem to have applications from the 19th century, just issued patents. So much for the searching.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 8:20 PM
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Do management courses teach labor history as a matter of course?

Absolutely not. And the idea that they might do so in business school is positively laughable. There were exactly 2 people in my program who knew what unions are -- a student who worked at a unionized company (as a manager) and a 60ish-year-old instructor from a union family.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-10-10 11:44 PM
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I would counsel all the straight fellas, if you ever ask a woman to marry you, to get down on one knee.

Good god, this is stupid advice. As rfts says, if you don't know your intended well enough to know whether this gesture would be welcomed, getting married is not a good idea.

if my daughters don't grow up to abhor the thought of a diamond engagement ring and a proposal on bended knee, I will be delighted you're not doing your job.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 12:03 AM
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re: 139

I've never read any Žižek, so this might be a good way to dip in to him.

I'd read a few essays by him -- mostly in the LRB -- but it was the first book-length thing by him I'd read. It's slightly frustrating in places; I wasn't sure what he was doing with the references to Lacan in some places, that sort of thing, and there are the occasional lapses into 'French' bullshit, I think. However, I thought there was also a lot of really clear-sighted and inciteful stuff in it. Particularly in the first half of the book there are quite a few (to me) laugh out loud quotable lines that, nevertheless, seem to capture the truth about the current situation vis a vis capitalism, the 'crisis' and bailout, apathy, and all that. I really enjoyed it.

Also, it's very short. So you can read it in an afternoon.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 12:16 AM
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Gah at typo/brain-error in previous comment.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 12:26 AM
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The OP title reminds me of this. For an erstwhile metalhead, I'm inordinately fond of this "Bjork."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 1:40 AM
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||

Hey Boston people, e-mail me at Brock's farewell party. We're aiming for Tuesday or Friday As an added incentive, Fleur will come, if she can get a babysitter.

Lurkers are welcome. Just e-mail.

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 5:09 AM
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54: Sometimes, there's a sense that successful professsional people have that quaint things like labor rules are for people who will never advance or don't have any flexibility in when they get their work done, e.g. factory workers.

On scheduling: In retail, there are often rules preventing you from taking time off around Christmas. Sometimes, this is silly if one employee has been there a long time and would like a day off to travel after Christmas.

In an hourly position with variable work loads, there can often be pressure to take time off during slow times. Certainly at WF, they wanted people to take vacation in the summer, since sales were lower, and they only wanted labor to be a certain percantage of sales at any time.

Off to work now. At my position they don't contribute anything to my 403(b) for two years, and they don't offer insurance for 90 days (soft human services, huh?). I'm not going to contribute anything if I don't get a match--just plan on maxing out my IRA.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 5:23 AM
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I suspect conversation has moved on, but:

I don't actually think the article portrayed EE all that badly - well within bounds of "staffers bitching about candidates' spouses." I mean, if a reader doesn't discount for that, then it's a hatchet piece, but 90% of the stuff on EE boils down to "under immense pressure, she could be bitchy."

The illustrations are simply awful.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 6:56 AM
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James B. Shearer

"Or maybe they don't really want a holiday."

Only in the sense that a Chicago Econ professor would put it.


Posted by: Barry | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 8:53 AM
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Plenty of people above have done an excellent job eviscerating 92. I would like to throw my hat in at this idiotic sentence:

but her's the thing: your gal is going to get asked, at conservative estimate, five gajillion times by female friends and relatives to tell the story of how yoy proposed.

Please do not design your life based on your fear of smalltalk. In this situation, these relatives are fishing for you to compose your face in an expression of bliss so that they can easily categorize you in the "happily coupled" category until further notice. More importantly, who cares. Do whatever you want.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 10:41 AM
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Please do not design your life based on your fear of smalltalk.

Just come out and say "The INS said you can do a mail-order bride, but not a mail-order mistress."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 10:51 AM
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I signed up for my BF's health plan, and I registered with their online mail-order drug service. I got a letter confirming my registration that was addressed to Bostonial Girl [BF's last name].


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 2:18 PM
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Uh-oh, his girlfriend Bostonian Girl found out about his wife Bostonial Girl!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 2:19 PM
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174: What I want is to be easily characterized by my relatives.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 2:20 PM
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178: You could always wear the same shirt when you go to family gatherings. Cheaper than being "guy who keeps giving diamonds to women."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 2:30 PM
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I could wear a T-shirt that said "I'm the guy who keeps giving diamonds to women."


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 01-11-10 2:48 PM
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