Re: 80 hour weeks

1

I have long believed* that (a) most people who say they're working 50+ hours/week are lying and (b) productivity falls off dramatically after the first 30-40 hours of attention and that the only way to work 50+ hours and not spend a long time on the downside of the slope of diminished returns is if the job demands a fair amount of rote work, or just sitting around waiting for information.

So I'm not surprised by that article, but I'm glad to see it published and very glad to see them attention paid to the way it contributes to gender inequality:

My research revealed that men were just as likely as women to have trouble with these "always on" expectations. However, men often coped with these demands in ways that differed strikingly. Women who had trouble with the work hours tended to simply to take formal accommodations, reducing their work hours, but also revealing their inability to be true ideal workers, and they were consequently marginalized within the firm. In contrast, many men found unobtrusive, under-the-radar ways to alter the structure of their work (such as cultivating mostly local clients, or building alliances with other colleagues), such that they could work predictable schedules in the 50 to 60 hour range. In doing so, they were able to work far less than those who fully devoted themselves to work, and had greater control over when and where those hours were worked, yet were able to "pass" as ideal workers, evading penalties for their noncompliance.

...

For people in demanding professional jobs, passing may seem like a tempting strategy. After all, passing allows one to avoid long, often unnecessary work hours, without eliciting any penalty. Career-wise, it is certainly less costly than transparency. Yet passing may not be possible for everyone. Passing effectively requires both strong relationships within the firm and the networks necessary to find local clients, and not everyone has equally strong relationships or networks. In addition, women's work time may be under greater scrutiny than men's: people at this firm seemed to assume that women who left the office around five went home to their children, while men who left around the same time could be, in the words of one administrative assistant "on the way to a client's." Thus, it may be more difficult for women to find ways to slip under the radar than men.

* I have seen studies to support both of these claims, but don't have links at hand.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:08 AM
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This sounds very plausible to me from law firms.

And it also fits into something we've talked to about privilege -- that a lot of inequities don't take the form of unfairly harsh treatment of less privileged people, but of what the more privileged people can get away with. The results are the same, but it's not nearly as visible when you're focusing on whether less privileged people are being treated fairly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:10 AM
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Yet passing may not be possible for everyone.

I don't know. I used to hear people wonder why Liberace never married.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:11 AM
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Anyway, I worked two sixty hour weeks in a row. I still have not recovered.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:12 AM
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Such a nice young man.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:12 AM
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5 must be to 3 because to 4 it just does not work.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:14 AM
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Also, that was pre-kids and in hindsight, I was a delicate little flower who had firm expectations about my free time. Not that work should fill up one's free time, but my stamina has increased out of necessity.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:17 AM
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I used to work 60 hour weeks, early in my career. I think I was pretty worthless past about hour 45.

These days I occasionally work extra hours on weekends, but I generally make up for it by slacking during the work week.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:19 AM
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I'm proud to have visited the Liberace museum before it closed.

A few years ago there was a study finding basically that the more you say you work, the larger the amount by which you're likely to overstate your hours, consciously or not. Thinking about what a 60 or 70 hour week would actually be like bears that out.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:21 AM
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I've started discussing a remote work/leave thing for next year when we'd like to live abroad and I'm doing it all officially. Maybe I should just go and come back every month or two and pretend I was just in meetings all the other days that people couldn't find me.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:21 AM
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This isn't terribly relevant to the main point of the article, but the not-terribly-closely-questioned use of the term "ideal worker" to describe somebody who literally has absolutely no life outside of work was kind of something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:23 AM
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Right. I never worked anything like what a hard-charging associate was supposed to, but I certainly put in a number of 60 hour weeks (usually roughly of the form 8-12 hours on the weekdays, adding up to around 50, and then two shorter days on the weekends), and they were awful. Nothing but work and sleep. Much more than 60 hours were very rare events -- every few years, maybe.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:24 AM
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Even laying productivity aside, an 80 hour week is five twelve hour days plus twenty odd hours. I mean how does one even pretend?!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:25 AM
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Redbull and gin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:27 AM
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13: No weekends at all, is how that works.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:27 AM
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but the not-terribly-closely-questioned use of the term "ideal worker" to describe somebody who literally has absolutely no life outside of work was kind of something.

Yeah, that's especially bad if you are expecting any kind of creativity out of your workforce.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:27 AM
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If the Stormtroopers had a union, they wouldn't have been so tired as to not notice those were the droids they were looking for.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:29 AM
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I've never done it, but 60 hours a week doesn't sound that awful to me -- just a little more than 8 hours a day, 7 days a week. Maybe I just have no idea what work is. For me it just means I'm sitting at this desk.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:29 AM
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If you sit at any other desk, it's vacation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:30 AM
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13- Maybe they're counting time travelling as 24 hours each day? Or maybe 16, leaving aside sleep time but including meals/socializing with clients. Certainly on our business trips we hang out and discuss some work-related things late into the evening.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:30 AM
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What drives me batshit about this kind of thing is that management couldn't tell the difference in output: that the long hours (barring particular emergencies which do happen but aren't the norm in anyone's job) are all about diagnosing you as having the right kind of character. Because you're willing to work hard, you're the kind of person who will be productive, which is what's important.

But it's not true: being willing to put in 60-80 hours a week isn't diagnostic of much but disliking your family. And it's so, so damaging and pernicious.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:30 AM
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You have to both dislike your family and have no hobbies.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:31 AM
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And not read Wikipedia articles when you get stuck.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:32 AM
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If everyone is pretending to work 70 hours a week, everyone else has to pretend to work 70 hours a week so they don't look bad. Maybe everyone is really working 35 hours, but they all conceal it, so nobody actually realizes this.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:34 AM
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Trial days are long, and in the midst you spend a lot of time on the weekends doing prep stuff (and catching up on the other cases you haven't paid attention to for a few days). I probably logged 2 months over 280 over a 20 year period. Maybe 3.

That's billed, not worked.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:37 AM
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In the sciences they sort of seem to get this- grad students are in lab 60 hours a week, I remember I took off Sundays but always felt guilty if I didn't go in at least a few hours on Saturdays, and my weekdays were usually 7-6 (which made me look bad, wife was a teacher so she dropped me off on the way to work but it always looked like I was leaving earlier than everyone.) As you get more senior it's assumed you're more productive and manage your time better so you don't have to put in grad student hours to be more useful than a grad student. Of course some of the crap stuff that has to be done after hours is also pushed off onto grad students, maybe all that training is learning how to push crap onto other people.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:37 AM
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Factory work will do it for you.

Once I did on an assembly line, it is true, 7 at night to 7 AM for 18 months straight, 5 days a week with 7 day weeks when the third person would decide they couldn't handle it and the day guy would find somebody new. The job wasn't a strain, just quality control, measuring and recording on a chart, but I couldn't sleep on the job having to patrol the line for maybe 20 minutes every hour. Did an hour of lab every eight hours. The day guy had been doing the job since 1948. Everybody on the line was spacy but had their routines in body memory.

The money was fucking insane for a prole, with $1k and $2k weeks sometimes, but factories can do that.

I had absolutely no fucking life, having to stretch to find time to buy food. Always insanely exhausted. Mad laughs, can I do this? Fuck yeah.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:37 AM
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My brother worked for a super notorious boss at Bear Stearns, back in the early-to-mid 90s, and they allegedly did 100-120 hour weeks, and he definitely worked every Sat and Sun, but I still couldn't figure out how you claim 100-120 hours a week.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:38 AM
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You have to both dislike your family and have no hobbies.

"Family, religion, friendship: these are the three demons you must slay to succeed in business."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:39 AM
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21 -- Did they never explain to you that they make a whole lot more money on hours 50-60 then on hours 30-40? Is this not a complete explanation for all the behavior you observed?


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:39 AM
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Mid-late 90s, actually.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:39 AM
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19 is actually precisely true.

To 24 -- also even if everyone at a company know that everyone is lying about working 70 hours a week, they may want to perpetuate the lie to impress outsiders.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:40 AM
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The big lie, if repeated often enough, becomes corporate strategy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:42 AM
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30: I think the people I worked with were really reluctant to say that sort of thing out loud because of the fraud on the clients it entailed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:43 AM
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The universe just rewarded with unexpected Starburst jelly beans.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:43 AM
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That's billed, not worked.

So, did you work at all?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:43 AM
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I don't really disagree with anything here. My work-aversion bona fides are well-established, but some doctors really do work crazy hours. At her NM job, on the inpatient service, it wasn't unusual for my wife to be gone from around 6am to 9pm weekdays and sometimes be on call on the weekends, which could mean going in at 2am and being there till noon or whatever (she did that until she eight months pregnant too. How did she agree to marry me?). And that was all work time.

That said, I don't think anyone there had that schedule for more than about 10 days in a row. Then they'd get a chunk of time off. Averaged over several months, it was about 45 hours a week.

But the expectation that anyone would regularly work 60, let alone 80, hours a week is just a bizarre American sickness.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:44 AM
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But we've talked about the billable hour model, and why I think it needs to die in a fire (that is, you're exactly right -- the incentive is for partners to defraud clients by brutalizing associates. Not good for anyone but the partners.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:44 AM
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Well, if you get to hour 40 and you're done with everything for client A, there's always client B who could use some help.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:45 AM
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From a lawyer who's tired enough to both do the work inefficiently and make errors that will need to be corrected at the cost of more billable hours. It still comes out to basically fraud.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:47 AM
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What if Client B is an asshole anyway?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:48 AM
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I mean, more of one that Client A.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:48 AM
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defraud clients really isn't my experience at all, although brutalizing associates is maybe a closer call. Ideally, you have enough legitimate work that needs to get done some everybody can make you the money you want, and if not, then maybe you need some associates to help with marketing, articles, and the like.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:50 AM
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37: Medical profession setting themselves up to fail?! Why not?! We've always done it that way!


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:50 AM
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I certainly put in a number of 60 hour weeks ... and they were awful. Nothing but work and sleep.

I may have mentioned this before, but the nature of the work makes a huge difference. It's been odd for me, this past year, as I've been been working on the giant project which is almost over, to figure out how to respond to the conversation in which I say I'm continually exhausted and other people ask, "are you working really long hours?"

Because I'm not, I'm working approximately 8-5 each day (with time away from the desk for lunch), and that's still more than enough, when I am consistently busy, focused, and doing creative work.

Perhaps, like H-G, pre-kids, I'm just a delicate flower (and I've certainly considered that). But it's also true that it takes a lot of energy to be (a) consistently productive and (b) genuinely at the top of one's game for 2-3 hour stretches 3 days a week (which are unpredictable, and not scheduled).

Saying that, it sounds like so much less than a 50 hour work week . . . and yet, it leaves me completely wiped out.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:51 AM
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That said, I don't think anyone there had that schedule for more than about 10 days in a row. Then they'd get a chunk of time off.

I have friends who have worked on Tall Ships or as crew on research vessels which is another job where you work a ton of hours while you're at sea, and then expect to have about an equal amount of time off at the end of the voyage.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:53 AM
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As another data point, I find that 250 / month billable (58 / week) is where I start reconsidering my career choices and 270 / month billable (63 / week) is where I start considering self-harm. I've only been above 270 twice in my career and I don't think I've ever been above 250 more than one month at a time. Usually a good bit lower than that.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:54 AM
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"eight months pregnant... How did she agree to marry me?"
I think you answered your own question.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:56 AM
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47 Oh yeah. Big hours are only doable when there's a big project; this constant thing people talk about means you're understaffed. I'm sure I finished below 200 a whole lot more than over.

My current target is 50, which I'll probably miss this month.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:01 PM
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Oh, the other thing about Brother's time at Bear Stearns is that our family would gush "And all that overtime, at time-and-a-half! How on earth does that make sense?!" and now I wonder why he was getting paid overtime. He would have been salaried.

Also, everyone in that department died in 9/11. My brother changed jobs about 6 months earlier. That part is very sad.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:05 PM
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||

I imagine that there will be some difference of opinion on this but, man, this is a huge blow for neuroscience.

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:06 PM
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43: defraud clients really isn't my experience at all,

We've disagreed about this in the past. And of course I haven't worked with you anyplace, so I can't speak to your experience, and I'm in a much easier position to throw words like 'fraud' around because I was never personally responsible for billing anyone.

But I firmly believe that at the two big firms I worked at, a very substantial portion of the hours billed were unnecessary to produce anything of value to a client (ask me about the literally hundreds of hours I spent indexing documents that I found out later had already been indexed by a paralegal), and that the unnecessary hours were the result of a combination of partner orders to do unnecessary work (or necessary work in an unnecessarily laborious and time-consuming way), and partner pressure on associates to inflate their billing regardless of what actually productive work was available for them to do.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:08 PM
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Now, there's an argument that the inflated hours were just a way to raise prices without the shocking effect of raising hourly rates, and if the clients were agreeing to pay the bills despite the inflated hours, then it's not really fraudulent, just sort of a polite fiction. But still.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:11 PM
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I agree, he looks like a true pioneer in the field of facial hair.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:15 PM
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52 I certainly never assigned someone to do work that had already been done. I was assigned once to do a research project that had been done by someone else 6 months earlier ; I did a better job.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:16 PM
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I recall working crazy hours as a postdoc. The lab was often as crowded at 9pm as it was at 3pm.

On the other hand, one of the postdocs who had a small child and went home at a reasonable hour was about as productive as the rest of us, so maybe we were just slacking off a lot of the time.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:16 PM
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C has had a bit to do with the greatly-protested-against animal house in 0xford. The animal rights activists do some terrible things and seem to have far less compassion than the people who actually work with the animals.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:19 PM
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I am sure 52.3 accurately reflects your experience, but it is pretty foreign to mine. If I sent a bill to a client with hundreds of hours of associate time for indexing documents, leaving aside the redundancy issue, I'm pretty sure it would get returned with instructions about exactly where it should go. We have enough trouble billing for document review by associates -- big clients now want it all done by contract attorneys, frequently at outsourced firms, even though they take forever and do iffy work.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:20 PM
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I'm fine with research on animals, but if someone is making a presentation, I think it only fair to give warnings like, "The next slide will have a picture of a living rat with its skin peeled back."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:22 PM
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59: I spent some time in a department that was half biophysics and half physiology. At some point it occurred to me that the average physiology seminar would probably send people screaming from the room if they weren't acclimated to that sort of thing.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:26 PM
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When I'm on site for an event, or have a bunch of back-to-back club shows, I can be pulling 14-18 days for a week or two. The keys to survival are (a) if I'm on site, I'm moving around a lot dealing with different issues, which keeps me awake, and (b) finding little mental health moments whenever I can. If I'm going around dealing with issues and arguments and problems, and then I notice there's a beautiful sunset coming, I'll take five minutes, hide behind a pile of materials, admire the sunset, then dive back in. It lets me feel like I have some part of me that's still sane and connected to other things. Large outdoor events are often in beautiful settings anyway, which helps with finding those moments.


Posted by: freight train | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:28 PM
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The House Bolton department of animal physiology.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:29 PM
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"And all that overtime, at time-and-a-half! How on earth does that make sense?!"

Benefits stay fixed.

The place I worked was about say thermoplastics, when you never let the flow temp go down or the material stop flowing or would cost millions, but there is a whole world of 24/7/365 out there.

How does one staff a single position in a 24/7/365?
In our case, the third would give us two 8 hour days and one weekend day off, with three twelves. (Is that right?) Fourth person can't work 48 hours straight to give weekends to three. I needs a mathematician.

And then we are talking big healthcare costs. Management would rather risk overtime.

Such is blue collar work. And yes it is dangerous, I have burn scars from the job.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:29 PM
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Thank god for (non-lab-based) academe. Nobody has the faintest idea how many hours I work, including me; and it can be wildly seasonal, which I like.

Heebie, you realize there's a horrible ambiguity in 50.2?


Posted by: edna k. | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:30 PM
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I was very upfront with potential employers that I wouldn't be working frequent extended weeks, which I'm sure limited my options/income, but who cares - I didn't have to work overlong hours.

That said, I've certainly had a few crazy workweeks, including at least one honest-to-God allnighter* working for myself and a number of days going into the office at 5 am or something. But that was always very targeted, deadline-type stuff, where there were concrete drawings to produce and - this is the important part - zero creativity, and very little critical thinking involved. In a stupid long workday, you might be able to think creatively in spurts, in between rote-ish work, but not the sort of deep, sustained stuff that answers the big questions.

*coming at the end of an already long week. IIRC, it was something like the Friday before T-giving to the Monday after, with T-giving as the only day I didn't put in at least 8 hours (and 10 most). And those were real hours, not internet-dicking hours. 90+ hours in 11 days?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:32 PM
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My brother worked elsewhere and thus lived...does that clear it up?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:34 PM
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On doc review 50 hr weeks, week in and week out, are normal. More like Bob's factory work than typical legal work, although you have to stay alert to issues that may pop up as you go, even if most docs are fairly easy to classify and you've seen them hundreds of times already.

I did do factory work when I was young and there was still lots of it around, but a much more physically demanding station than the one Bob described. But the money was scary good for a college student: one winter I made enough to pay for the next three quarters.

The worst thing I face these days is needing to put a few hours in a different review project, entirely on contingency, meaning I log the hours but may never see a dime, in the evening. Right now I've got that going, and need to do CLE also. Long days for me.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:35 PM
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The animal rights activists do some terrible things and seem to have far less compassion than the people who actually work with the animals.

Indeed:

Logothetis has said the footage is inaccurate, presenting a rare emergency situation following surgery as typical and showing stress behaviors deliberately prompted by the undercover caregiver.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:38 PM
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Nah, what am I thinking?

The third gives 5 8 hour days, and I think the old guy would work two weekend 12s.

But they quit so fast, and people got sick etc, and 52 hours rarely worked out in practice. And I had to take graveyard for the training periods and in the hope of keeping anybody at all.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:42 PM
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My impression was that entry-level investment bankers played cards a lot, but they had to be in the office at 8 pm in case some deal got done in another part of the world.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:44 PM
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68: it's even worse than it sounds from that article: the emergency situation was an animal that was pulling and scratching at its infected wound and implant; what is supposed to happen in that situation is that the researcher on duty immedaitely calls the vet in, but the researcher on duty was... the animal rights activist, who instead just sat there filming.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:45 PM
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66: no, because "that was sad" could be read as meaning it was sad he left 6 months too soon and thus did not die with his department.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:45 PM
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Even laying productivity aside, an 80 hour week is five twelve hour days plus twenty odd hours. I mean how does one even pretend?!

I've worked a lot of 80 hour weeks, but I've almost never ever worked seven days straight. Maybe six times ever. I completely fall apart if I don't have at least one full day to recuperate, and, like, open my mail and shit.

But 80 hours is just 9:00 am to midnight Monday through Sat.* That's unpleasant but not close to impossible.

*I'm counting the lunch and dinner that you eat at your desk while working as part of the time spent working. I think that's fair.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:48 PM
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I don't think there's much intentional overbilling of clients by large law firms, but many big firms (especially the New York ones, whose business model can still be largely "charge banks whatever we want") do have practices that sure seem to create the same result. I recently interviewed a Skadden associate looking for a transfer who described her experiences "second chairing" deposition defense.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:50 PM
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I think that's fair.

I think that's bullshit. No way you or anyone else works a continuous 15 hour block, for any sensible definition of "work".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:51 PM
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I can safely say I've never worked that hard.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:52 PM
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I worked big hours in lab, like everyone else, and immediately before my defense, I was working 80-100 hour weeks. I couldn't have sustained it for long, but it was doable.

But I also noticed that part of the culture is bragging about hours. I found it irritating at the time, but the older I get, the more I despise it.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:53 PM
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I'm not sure I understand 75, but if you want to subtract two 15-minute trips downstairs to grab a sandwich and six 5-minute trips to the bathroom/coffee machine/etc. and call it 14-hours of work instead of 15, hey, fine by me. But I think most people who worked a schedule like that would quite reasonably call it an 80-hour work week.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:55 PM
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I don't bill for time spent on Unfogged, obvs, but I do bill for time spent thinking about a brief, staring into space, or whatever, so long as I'm in my office and thinking about the work, in addition to time spent literally typing words into a computer. That seems utterly fair since that's when a large part of the work actually gets done. On that standard billing 80 hours a week is almost impossible, but being "at work" in your office for 80 hours is very easy.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:55 PM
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80

I always figured I was legally entitled to a fifteen minute break twice a shift that counts as "work".


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:57 PM
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And the guy I heard that from started at Goldman Sachs. He now works for a hedge fund. More money and better hours.

This is why I wanted to be a mutual fund manager. It was your returns that mattered, not the hours worked.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:57 PM
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Residents will also often work that hard, though it's variable. I know one resident who makes up for a relative lack of natural talent with the most insane work ethic I've ever seen. 80+ hour weeks really are the norm for her, but I think most people are not capable of that.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:57 PM
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75: you don't bill the university for all the time you think about physics?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:57 PM
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74 I agree that in most cases, 2d chair at a depo is overkill. I can't remember ever sending a bill for it. That's not to say, though, that in a particular high stakes very document intensive case, you might have some people who are masters of different aspects of the record, and a witness so important to the case that having someone there would make sense.

Think the 30(b)(6) with a corporate officer in a pharma MDL. A depo being taken for use in 4,000 pending cases can support a couple of smart people who spend a day there in case something comes up. To the extent the NY model is taking only the kinds of cases where these are the kinds of stakes, the ordinary practices of we mere mortals don't tell a lot about what is or is not overkill.

(I don't doubt that there are bad apples and dysfunctional people, nor do I disagree that the incentive structure works in their favor . . . Everyone hates the billable hour, but I've never heard a reasonable alternative for the kind of work I do. Clients aren't clamoring to pay me more for less work, nor am I interested in getting paid less for more work.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:05 PM
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That's unpleasant but not close to impossible.

This may have come across too cavalier. What I mean is that its dreadful for any extended period, but if it's only a few weeks it's not terrible (unless you have familial obligations or life events planned outside of work which would need to be cancelled or rearranged or interrupted, etc.; it really helps to have a life that is pre-planned around no expectation of you ever being home), but I certainly wouldn't think someone claiming to work 80-hour weeks, who I knew was working literally all the time and had no life or hobbies, was lying. Whereas the people who claim they regularly work 120 hours a week? Come the fuck on.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:06 PM
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I'm now billing for some work and I'm not used to it. I just sit down at the end of the week and think back about what I did.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:07 PM
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She didn't mean helping with preparation for a depo defense, which of course is legitimate. She meant literally sitting in the same room with a lawyer defending the deposition. I can't think of any circumstances in which that's a legit thing to do (or to bill for, it's fine as training). "No, I REALLY object to the form of the question."


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:09 PM
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Somebody should do a study to see if witnesses have their ability to lie altered by some function of the number of lawyers staring at them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:10 PM
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87 -- No I meant that. Stakes can be high enough, and knowledge esoteric enough, that pending an extra 5 grand or whatever to have someone who can flag an answer that wasn't subtle enough, or might prove inconsistent with the documents, can get corrected after a break. Especially if it's a 30(b)(6) and not a personal memory test.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:15 PM
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It is pretty funny (for some value of "funny") that the standard wisdom that "large law firms have the resources to offer junior associates much more training" nearly universally means "large law firms have clients cost-insensitive enough to allow junior associates lots of opportunity to basically hang around and observe more experienced lawyers working, while billing their time for doing so".


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:16 PM
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(But it's not worth buying a verb, or a final clause. One must have standards.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:16 PM
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88: I don't know about that specifically, but there's a pretty well documented connection between social pressure and confabulation.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:17 PM
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I was mostly joking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:17 PM
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(or to bill for, it's fine as training)

Going along a few times, to closings or depositions, or to hearings where orders were drafted, where the senior would explain what he was doing and why to you, was called "holding the bag" around here. You were paid for it but you couldn't bill for it.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:18 PM
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93: I know, but it's not terribly unreasonable to assume that presenting a wall of lawyers could just on its own push a witness (deposee?) one way or the other.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:20 PM
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"holding the bag"

Now, cough.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:22 PM
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89 -- I guess in a handful of extraordinarily long and important depositions, juuuust maybe could I see an argument. (Though I haven't seen it in some incredibly large by any standard cases). These weren't those kinds of cases.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:25 PM
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(1.) Re: lawyers' billing and the big firm model. I was talking to somebody who retired from urple's old firm. He told me that his billing hour had been $1000 when he retired. (He'd been in-house before.)

He said that a lot of the stuff that they had done previously was going in house, but there were still areas with a significant strategy component where clients were insensitive to price.

(2.) I knew someone who, I think, really worked 80 hours/ week, but he was legendary for his energy, and he was a managing partner. He served on a number of charitable boards, one of which was Boson University Medical Center. At that time, they had no CEO, so the chairman of the Board was essentially an unpaid president. So, basically, he had 2 highly demanding professional jobs at the same time. He was definitely in the office 7 days a week, well into his late 70's when he went Of-Counsel.

His first marriage ended in divorce, and he married his secretary.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:29 PM
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That's efficiency.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:30 PM
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I did a couple of months of 80-hour weeks at a tech job one summer, before it dawned on me that the success or failure of the project was not, in fact, my problem, but the problem of the people who had hired exactly one person to do the work.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:32 PM
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Did she continue to work as his secretary after they were married?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:32 PM
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Did she continue to work as his secretary after they were married?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:32 PM
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Jeez, that was hardly worth posting once.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:32 PM
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Now I wish there really was a Boson University. Can we rename it? And rename U of C Fermion University while we're at it.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:32 PM
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101: No, and she wasn't his secretary when I was old enough to be aware of anything. His new secretary was an annoying pill. I can't help thinking that his wife picked her.

She did send Christmas cards every year to all of his Trust and Estates clients.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:34 PM
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105 to 102.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:34 PM
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I don't think (in high-stakes litigation) billing for an associate to attend a deposition that a partner is defending is uncommon. We've certainly had clients pay for it where I had no doubt at all they were reading the bills carefully. (Including in some situations where we told them we had confidence in the associate and thought it would be more efficient to have the associate defend the deposition, but they wanted a partner there to object to the form of the questions.) Incentives get weird on really big cases where in-house counsel's job might be at stake depending on the outcome.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:36 PM
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140: It might help the new Ph.D.s get fellowships. Everybody needs a Boson for a fellow.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:36 PM
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Is addressing that to a future comment some sort of time travel joke?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:39 PM
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Golf clap for 108.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:40 PM
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109: don't be silly, that would be tachyon


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:45 PM
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That one is in Israel.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:46 PM
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and he married his secretary

And is that wrong?


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:53 PM
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Working too many hours can do bad things to a grad student's mental health.

In all seriousness, the most efficient, productive people I know are ones who insist on good work/life balance. They come in, do their stuff, don't screw around, and leave at a decent hour. The culture that doesn't reward that is awful.

Also, I can't handle 80 hour weeks. I turn into a total mess. I'm emotional and angry and exhausted, and I can't effectively solve problems. I admire people who can do that, in a wistful sort of way, but I don't think if I had that kind of energy I'd devote it all to work.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:57 PM
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107 -- I've certainly seen it (though not in direct correlation to the significance of the depo or the amount of money at stake). But it seemed like a very good example of a complaint about large law firms having people do useless work for the sake of billing, even if it's not quite fraudulent or deliberate overbilling because it's being done with the tacit agreement of the client who is being billed.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:00 PM
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I had a job where I had to bill, which is very odd in social work, and it was horrible. During my regularly scheduled November-April winter catatonic depression, I got very behind and it was a bit of a mess.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:02 PM
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Back when I worked for a federal contractor, you had to be scrupulous about recording blocks of time because there was always the looming specter of getting audited and, if as sometimes happened, it was revealed that you had been double-billing time (charging a day's work against two separate project) the hammer of Thor would fall on you. This did not magically lead me to be more productive, so your tax dollars helped subsidize me arguing with people on MetaFilter.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:13 PM
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115: I don't think I agree. It seems like everyone agrees it's appropriate to have the associate attend -- which we at least would do anyway even if the client didn't want to pay, because it really kills morale to have someone pour hours and hours into the prep and then not see the main event -- and the question is whether you bill the client for the associate's time. So the work isn't being done (or time isn't being spent, if you'd rather not call it "work") "for the sake of billing"; the question is only whether the time (which would be spent in exactly the same way regardless of billing concerns) goes on the bill. Which in turn seems perfectly appropriate to leave to explicit or implicit negotiation with the client.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:15 PM
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This is cracking me up, because I have second-chaired a whole bunch of deposition defenses in my time, and while I'm being all huffy about fraudulent overbilling, that literally never occurred to me as a particular problem. Of course it is a waste of effort, it just hit me in a blind spot -- wait, I wasn't adding value to the client sitting next to the guy actually objecting to the questions? I suppose I wasn't.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:20 PM
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118 -- look, I'm sorry, I get your point, but that's pretty ridiculous. "We will run things in needlessly overstaffed (for the case) ways in a manner that incidentally raises the overall bill, but hey it's OK because it's a form of training which you, the client, are implicitly agreeing to pay for and which we might do regardless of whether or not it we as a firm were being compensated for our time.*" That's exactly the kind of thinking that gives big law firms a bad name.

*Also, I doubt that the decision is not affected by the financial incentive. The number of multi-lawyer defended depositions where no one is being paid is ... not zero, but small. Maybe a few for training purposes only.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:22 PM
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"no one" should obviously be "the useless associate"


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:23 PM
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113: Of course it's wrong! If he only had worked less he would have been able to stay with his wife and negotiate a polyamorous relationship with the secretary. You're just not paying attention, are you idp?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:23 PM
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121: Can we make it "the potentially useful associate who happens to be wasting her time through no fault of her own"?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:24 PM
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119: Did you scowl intimidatingly at the opposing counsel? That might count as added value.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:24 PM
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Okay LB, you can be the PUA.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:25 PM
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123 -- yes!


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:25 PM
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119: You judged correctly that the intimidation factor you added was invaluable.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:26 PM
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||

Someone did an obsessive fact checking of Alice goffman's on the run

pastebin.com/BzN4t0VU

Lots of fishy stuff.

>


Posted by: Lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:28 PM
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If you want truly insane working hours, I'll see your American trainee doctors and raise you Japanese ones. My ex-husband is a surgeon, and when he was doing his internship I started recording the hours he spent in the hospital, so I could sue the management if he died of overwork. Another intern at the same hospital had done just that a couple of years before (after working an average of 114 hours a week), and the consensus among my ex and his friends was that he must have been a real wuss - he was a dermatologist, for chrissakes, and their hours are nothing compared with those of real doctors.

What got me most was that they were frequently forced to work night shifts in between two full day ones. So my ex would leave home at 7 a.m. and not come back until after midnight the following night, having slept perhaps 3 or 4 hours in a break room in the interim. The absolute worst time, he had to work six nights in a row, with all the days in between as well (although that was exceptional). Fortunately interns in Japan don't get to do any actual surgery.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:29 PM
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120: I don't think we're going to get to comity on this one. I don't concede that it's needless overstaffing, for the reasons given by CC, and also because the associate frequently has spent more time with the witness and has a better rapport with the witness than the partner does, which is not insignificant. And we have in fact done the same thing where we are being compensated on a contingency basis (fixed-percentage based on prior agreement with the client, not lodestar; no incentive to increase the bill), so we'd save money by keeping the associate home.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:34 PM
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he was a dermatologist, for chrissakes,

A doctor friend mentioned that whenever she addresses a group of med school students, she always advises them to read up on dermatology, even if it has nothing to do with their specialty, because for the rest of their lives people at parties are going to be asking them to look at weird rashes and funny spots.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:36 PM
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I'm not saying that there are no set of circumstances in which it's not overbilling, but come on, we live in the real world here.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:36 PM
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To the extent we can't live elsewhere, we do.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:49 PM
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123 -- To go back to the OP, maybe men are better at getting out of this stuff than women. Which means it was your fault!


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 3:16 PM
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So many things are.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 3:18 PM
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129: Well I'm sad to see that ANYBODY else does such a fucking stupid thing. Why would any responsible doctor ever set up a system that did that?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 3:19 PM
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136: It was effectively hazing by the senior doctors. They'd been through hell in their time, so their juniors could damn well man up and suffer through it too. There were almost no women going into surgery then; this was 15 years ago and the system has since been revised to limit interns' working hours to some extent, so there may be more now.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 3:30 PM
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Yes, I know "why" they do it, but not how they can, thinking critically about it, perpetuate a dangerous bullshit system like that.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 3:35 PM
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Is this the Baltimore thread?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 3:43 PM
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They don't perceive it as a dangerous system, or at least my ex didn't: he used to say that however exhausted he was, if he had to operate he was always able to focus on the job in hand and perform it safely. He was proud of that, as a skill acquired through arduous training. (I do wonder how he's treating his own juniors now.)


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 3:54 PM
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They don't perceive it as a dangerous system, or at least my ex didn't: he used to say that however exhausted he was, if he had to operate he was always able to focus on the job in hand and perform it safely. He was proud of that

They, and he, are wrong and are overestimating their ability to just "focus" their way through fatigue. A common error.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 3:57 PM
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I'm letting my son watch National Treasure. This is not a parenting highlight of mine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:02 PM
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Unless there is such a thing as a Nic Cage prophylaxis.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:03 PM
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141: correct--they were essentially subjecting patients to effectively drunk docs. That's the level of impairment shown in experiments re:sleep deprivation.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:08 PM
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Don't let drunk doctors provide you the nic cage prophylaxis.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:08 PM
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I was a little surprised that a job where I was working 10 hours/weekday was only 50 hours, plus enough night/weekend work to push the average up maybe to 52 hours/week. The math isn't complicated and yet it felt like more than that.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:16 PM
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It's interesting, though, that studies in the US of the association between doctors's sleep deprivation and medical outcomes haven't shown any significant difference for surgical patients after regulations on shorter working hours were introduced, compared with large differences on medical wards, or in outcomes for cardiac surgery patients irrespective of whether or not the surgeon had slept the previous night. I'm not defending the long working hours, and one explanation for the difference between the different types of ward is that surgeons may just disregard the regulations, but it does at least seem plausible that having a patient's life literally in your hands could generate enough adrenaline to overcome even intense fatigue temporarily.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:21 PM
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In my 20's I used to work 54 to 60 hours a week Monday through Friday then another 20 to 24 hours at a second job on the weekends. This was real work hours. That was more than 30 years ago. Now I am pretty worthless and can't even manage 40 productive hours a week.


Posted by: Amos | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:26 PM
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n=1, but the surgical residency I'm familiar with does pretty much just disregard the regulations.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:29 PM
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142: A friend of mine is still reeling from the fact that both son and daughter (9 and 7, I think) have firmly stated their opinion that National Treasure is superior to Raiders of the Lost Ark.

The horror.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:31 PM
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147: It's also plausible the surgeons are not following the new rules but doing the reverse of the tactic mentioned in the article in the OP. The joke I heard was about the surgical resident complaining his shift. He was on for 24 hours and off for 24 hours, which meant he missed half the cases.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:31 PM
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I took too long getting the joke right.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:33 PM
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And that's keeping in mind that the current maximum is 80 hours a week.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:33 PM
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And I still had a typo.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:36 PM
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It's worse than I thought.

"A significant bias to under report hours worked exists for two important reasons. One is that statutes do not provide whistleblower protections to residents who report work hour violations. Second, the penalty for work hour violation is loss of accreditation, which would adversely affect the medical resident since he/she would not be able to become board certified in his/her field of medicine."

I knew there was tons of pressure to falsify hours, but this is ridiculous.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 4:49 PM
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I'd guess with doctors you'd also see differences showing up based on what they're actually doing over the course of those long, sleep deprived hours. Without any knowledge whatsoever I'd be surprised if hand/eye coordination deteriorates as fast as judgment or concentration. All forms of medicine require a decent amount of the latter two and most bunch of the first as well, but I suspect there is still substantial variations involved in the proportions.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:10 PM
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156: no worse than being drunk.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:13 PM
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You would have to do a double-blind study with half the surgeons operating drunk, to be sure.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:18 PM
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What surgeons claim is that they are less susceptible to fatigue when they are actually performing surgery than studies involving laboratory tasks or simulated surgery would suggest.

Ellman and colleagues reviewed 6751 cardiac surgeries, and found that mortality and surgical complication rates were no higher in surgeries completed by surgeons who had been awake the previous night than those completed by surgeons who had slept the previous night.[22] In explaining these results, the authors postulated that certain procedural tasks have an incentive for good performance, and that these tasks are less susceptible to retardation with fatigue.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:18 PM
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Much like driving.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:19 PM
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158: It was called M.A.S.H.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:52 PM
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It does seem plausible that you can't accurately simulate in a laboratory the effects of knowing that the life or well-being a real person is actually depending on your choices.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:59 PM
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You're not my IRB.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:04 PM
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On the internet, nobody knows whose IRB you are.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:08 PM
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I wonder if the authors of 159 met the authors of 155?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:14 PM
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163: That's true, but if you've been putting people's lives or well-being at risk in the laboratory you may want my business card anyway.


Posted by: widget | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:16 PM
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This is an interesting thread given that I spent large chunks of the last nine years working ~55 hours a week, with some 65s thrown in, and am now in a 40-hour job.

Generally I found that hours 45-55 were really productive, because they typically came in the crucial 5-8pm window when others had gone home and I could do the important, large tasks that I kept getting interrupted on during the work day. Hours 55-65 were far less productive, because fatigue would cause me to space out and have to start over on things.

In general I do find that as the Brits say "A change is as good as a rest," and I have more easily worked 70 hour weeks when the 70 was split among three different types of jobs. Even now, with my 40-hour job, I still freelance between 4-12 hours/week, plus the library every other Sunday.

The thing that is the most exhausting for me is high-quality, original (meaning first-time-created, not reused from other tasks) creative writing. I can do about 1,000 words a day of fresh work, and after that everything is just editing and pondering.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:45 PM
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I'm heard once that the doctor-training hours were so bad in Japan that there was a significant and well-document rate of post-shift car accidents, many of which are quite dangerous.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 3:48 AM
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Not just Japan. From the same source I quoted earlier:

Sleep deprivation is the second leading cause of car and truck accidents.[12] Many studies have found an increased risk of accidents among residents working long hours. In a prospective cohort study of 2737 medical interns followed for 1 year, the rates of motor vehicle collisions after working an extended shift (> 24 h) were compared to rates after working a nonextended shift. The odds ratio for having a collision after working an extended shift rather than a non-extended shift was 2.3 (95% CI, 5.4-6.3). Residents who worked more than five extended shifts in 1 month had an odds ratio of 2.39 (95% CI, 2.31-2.46) for falling asleep while driving, or 3.69 (95% CI, 3.60-3.77) for falling asleep while stopped in traffic.[13] A study by Kowa­lenko and colleagues reviewed surveys from 697 emergency medicine residents and found that before these residents started their residency, only 4.1% reported being involved in a motor vehicle collision caused by falling asleep, compared with 19.3% who reported being involved in the same type of accident during their residency years (P

Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 4:19 AM
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My ex once fell off his motorbike on the way to work and broke his collarbone. He called in at the orthopedic surgery department when he got to the hospital, got it bandaged up, went straight on to work, and came home at midnight as usual. His boss just berated him for causing his colleagues trouble.


Posted by: Ume | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 4:26 AM
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Sleep deprivation is the second leading cause of car and truck accidents.

Woohoo.


Posted by: Opinionated Alcohol | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 5:11 AM
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I've complained about my job a fair amount, but this helps keep things in perspective. At my previous job, I worked a few 12-hour days, but probably never a 60-hour week. Now, I work no more than 80 hours every two weeks, no matter what. When I worked from home over the weekend, I literally got a medal.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 7:11 AM
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What does the medal say?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 7:12 AM
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173: It has the seal of the federal agency I'm a contractor in on one side, and the seal of the department I'm in on the other. It's more like a coin. And there was more going on than one particular weekend, my job was unusually busy and complicated for several months on a particularly messed-up project. And to diminish things even further, other people in the office work nights and weekends more often, just not people in my position.

But still, the point stands - for all that I'm tempted to complain about some aspects of my job, it's a hell of a lot easier than many.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 7:42 AM
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174.last is really not a very inspiring motto for the labor movement.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 7:50 AM
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176

||

Bittersweet last day working on my project at a very special place (the one with the two lions in front and all those books inside). I'll miss it terribly. I suppose I should enjoy it and get the hell off the internets for now.

|>


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 8:30 AM
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(the one with the two lions in front and all those books inside)

The most prestigious mullet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 8:33 AM
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Research scholar in the front, party in the back.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 8:35 AM
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When you're working there, do they tell you which one's Patience, and which one's Fortitude? I've never known.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 8:36 AM
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Maybe they switch off, like in Dead Ringers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 8:37 AM
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Or Patty Duke.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 8:40 AM
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It's interesting, though, that studies in the US of the association between doctors's sleep deprivation and medical outcomes haven't shown any significant difference for surgical patients after regulations on shorter working hours were introduced, compared with large differences on medical wards, or in outcomes for cardiac surgery patients irrespective of whether or not the surgeon had slept the previous night.

This would be consistent with a lot of what doctors do being just mucking about for the sake of our action bias, meaning so outcomes have less connection with skill than we like to think.

Less ambitiously, I'd think a large portion, maybe a majority, of surgical complications are linked to what the whole team does (like handwashing!) more than what the surgeon alone does. That would make it hard for these studies to identify the effects.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 8:42 AM
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175: In fairness, bad working conditions for lawyers and doctors isn't a hot issue for them either. I mean, in some sense it should be, especially given the data discussed above about overworked doctors making mistakes, but it isn't.

Me getting no paternity leave except for unpaid FMLA leave, and maybe not even getting that, is a better issue. Update: at this point it looks almost certain that I can get it, but not certain yet. I've got in touch with one lawyer and am waiting to hear back from her about details. But even if I do get it with no problems, that's still just FMLA.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 8:51 AM
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179 I can see Fortitude's butt from the windows of my division.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 8:54 AM
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(Which is on the North side)


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 9:01 AM
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184 has that hallucinatory quality that characterises things that have been badly translated into English from a non-Indo-European language by a computer. I find myself trying to work out what it means by substituting similar words to see if that makes more sense.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 9:07 AM
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"butt" means "arse", if that helps.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 9:09 AM
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184: That still doesn't tell me if Fortitude is the uptown or downtown virtue.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 9:13 AM
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Uptown is north, isn't it?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 9:15 AM
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Is "Fortitude" the same as "Grit"?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 9:16 AM
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"Fortitude's up and the Battery's down."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 9:17 AM
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186 I suppose I'd better cut down on the spice. I'll indulge when I get to Arrakis in a week and a half.

Fortitude is uptown.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 9:20 AM
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"80 Hour Week? This Is How She (or He) Does It" seems like a willfully misleading headline.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 12:09 PM
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I can't believe it but I finally finished the project. Or at least I got it into enough shape that I can now comfortably leave it.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 1:42 PM
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||

Driveby commenting in a dead thread: I mentioned a while back having a job offer somewhere in the Midwest. I was hoping I could at least use it to negotiate something better from my current employer. But they offered me an amazingly shitty amount of funding, while they see if they can convince another nearby institution to offer my SO a job. I've wrote to them asking for what I think is a more reasonable offer and telling them I wanted to discuss it more by phone, and they haven't replied. I'm pretty sure that they're intentionally giving me a lowball offer until they see if there's a job for my SO so that I can't use their offer as a bargaining chip if I'm going to turn them down anyway. I feel like it's paranoid to think that, but I can't figure out anything else that makes sense. It just seems weirdly vindictive of them.

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 1:42 PM
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Oh. I thought it was a dead thread as I was writing that. Sorry, Barry.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 1:43 PM
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-'ve


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 1:43 PM
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That is weird. If you're actually interested in attracting the person, why would you piss them off?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 1:44 PM
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198 could go in at least three of the active threads.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 1:48 PM
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198: The neg.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 1:49 PM
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196, no problem essear.
(I think about to step on a live thread to vent about something myself anyway).


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 5:18 PM
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Congrats, Barry, or some suitable sentiment for getting a project into shape to leave, even if it's not completely done.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 7:19 PM
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essear, that is sucky. and weird.

Barry, good on you, you gritty person you!


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 7:25 PM
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Thanks. And as you well know, fa, this kind of work is never really finished. Just get it in shape for the next iteration.

I will get something published on the site about the project which is satisfying and will be good for the old CV.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 7:43 PM
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195: do they know you have a more-or-less congenial solution to hand in approximately your current location?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 8:08 PM
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Lemmy caution, thanks for sharing 128's notes of discrepancies and other problems in Alice Goffman's book. I still haven't ready the book, but most of the criticisms strike me as reasonable. There's probably an interesting conversation to have about to what degree a scholar could or should disguise, say, the details of a shooting when those details will be accessible and identifying thanks to police and newspaper information available online to everyone, but it sounds like she's not having it.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 7-15 11:48 AM
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