Dialog? another “solution” that won’t work – “The 120% Solution”


Since the comments are closed on that blog posting, I felt compelled to write my answer to it here.  I admire the poster’s attempt at a solution and fully agree with him about the need to quit pointing fingers and buckle down to find a solution, but his proposal that we go to a 6-day work week is ill-thought out.

If I could, I’d ask him how he proposes that families handle child-care for his silver bullet?  Having worked multiple jobs and lived the “6-day workweek” in my 20’s, I can tell you that the energy needed to pull it off is considerable.  Perhaps he sees that only the portion of time spent working in a business contributes to the economy, that the raising of children and maintenance of a home are not a part of that equation.  He would be wrong beyond belief.

The time I spend with my children, at home, teaching them is paying it forward.  I truly hope they will learn from the mistakes my husband and I have made over the years, but I also believe that the time I am investing in teaching them academics and problem-solving will pay off for society in the long run.

And I don’t believe that parents are the only ones that the author is failing.  Single people and the couples without children also contribute to the fuel that propels the economy. 

I’d have to stop for a bit and think on that a bit more because, honestly, I am still so apalled at his notion of the long work week and what that would do to our families, I haven’t taken the time to really mull it over.

But there’s one other issue that his plan doesn’t address:  increasing the work week increases the costs to the company.  The extra day means additional costs for heating and electricity.  Sounds small enough in the face of increased productivity, but there are no guarantees that a company will reap much in the way of increased productivity from a very tired workforce.

I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing his notion, because on the face of it that would certainly seem to be the case.  Rather, I’d suggest that the author step back and rethink his simplistic solution in real-world, real-person terms.  A 120% solution possibly should exist.  It’s a case of determining a real and workable way to make it happen.  Create opportunities for employees to do some telecommute for work that can be done on flex-time (much like many universities have done with distance and online courses).  Go as paper-free as possible.  Develop incentives and recognition for cost-cutting ideas and implementation. 

I’m rattling things off the top of my head and will likely mull this over more, returning with yet more ideas.  The point is that what should be fostered is, as he noted, opportunities for thoughtful discussion.  I’m sure the comments were closed due to rather heated comments – speaking as a parent, my first thought was “HOLY HELL!  Get a clue.”  Then I realized, that he’s got ideas – I’ve got ideas – and I’d sure as hell bet there are a ton more of us out here who have ideas.  What if, instead of knee-jerk reactions to those ideas, we all got together for a TRUE exchange… no matter how crazy the idea might seem… what if we brainstormed and started thinking creatively on how to get some serious changes made in the way we think and view the situation?

How much could we accomplish then? 

One of the things I admire greatly about the human race is our ability to be flexible and adaptable.  Yes, I may not agree with everything said by others, but if I could step out of that solid, brick room I’ve built for myself (and if a few or more others could do the same), couldn’t we come up with some amazing solutions?

Absent the chance to make an exchange with the author, I say this:  keep thinking and revising.  No plan is perfect.  No plan is 100% fits all, all the time.  And remember, too:  We all come from our own biased experiences and opinions… recognize that first – have some humility when you recognize it and THEN get to work.  Ideas are what will drag us out of this mess…  don’t give up. 

In the meantime, I’ve got a couple of future leaders/inventors to mentor.  I’m depending on those two to support me in my old age since social security will probably allow me to afford milk and not much else.



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