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Ending the 40-hour workweek is possible, but it'll require sacrifices from all of us

Dan DeFrancesco   

Ending the 40-hour workweek is possible, but it'll require sacrifices from all of us
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Hi! Nature truly is the best canvas. The winners of this year's Nature Conservancy's photo contest are proof of that. Check out the amazing photos here.

In today's big story, we're looking at the internet calling for changes to the "soul-crushing" and "depressing" 9-to-5 workday.

What's on deck:

But first, it's time to clock out.


The big story

What a way to make a livin'

Last Friday marked 43 years since Dolly Parton's iconic workplace ballad "9 to 5" came out, and what a fitting time for an anniversary.

The 40-hour workweek is facing a reckoning after a recent grad's viral TikTok emotionally questioning how people have time for a personal life while working a full-time job.

Before we proceed, I know some of you are ready to dunk on this take.

Really?? Welcome to adulthood, Gen Z! Suck it up!

But Brielle, the grad behind the video, told Insider's Sawdah Bhaimiya it's not about being entitled. Instead, she wants an open discussion about "reforming the work schedule."

Much of the internet agrees, with people questioning why we follow something established over 80 years ago.

It's all part of a wider upending of the workplace by Gen Z that's long overdue, writes Insider's Tim Paradis.

I've never been a big fan of doing the same thing simply because "we've always done it that way." But it's important to remember the effects of making significant changes to the workplace.

When you imagine a world where you don't work 40 hours a week, does everyone else get a break too?

Wholesale changes to the 9-to-5 won't occur in a vacuum. The job market is strong, so people won't be waiting in the wings for all the hours of work we're looking to shed.

While your role might be easily adjustable, that's not the case for everyone. Some businesses will likely need to run shorter operating hours, and services might take longer (or cost a premium). Say goodbye to two-day shipping and apologies, but the gym is closing early for the foreseeable future.

I don't bring this up as a bad thing. God knows I could wait a few more days to get the stuff I purchased on Amazon. But it's a scenario worth considering.

Take the four-day workweek, which has gained considerable momentum over the past few years. For it to work, we'd probably need people to take their extra day off throughout the week instead of just on Fridays or Mondays.

And lest we forget the overachievers willing to stick to the 9-to-5. Like it or not, they're bound to fall into the good graces of management and climb the corporate ladder quicker, a dynamic we've already seen with in-person work.

So yes, upending the 9-to-5 is possible — and worth considering — but only with a bit of sacrifice from all of us.

P.S. - If you're now reconsidering things, here are some tips from a career expert on how to stop hating your job.


3 things in markets

  • Ray Dalio once interrogated his pregnant protégé in front of his top execs until she cried. That's according to an excerpt from Rob Copeland's book "The Fund: Ray Dalio, Bridgewater Associates, and the Unraveling of a Wall Street Legend." Read more here from the book, which a spokesperson for Dalio described as a "trivial gossipy book."

  • The big takeaways from earnings season. The S&P 500 crushed earnings, with 82% of companies that reported so far having beat expectations. Here's what that means for the broader economy, according to Bank of America.

  • Big takeaways from Berkshire Hathaway's earnings. Warren Buffett's conglomerate reported earnings Thursday that offered some clues to the famed investor's thinking. Here are the best nuggets, from a shift into Treasurys to selling some of its stake in a high-profile oil company.


3 things in tech

  • ChatGPT will soon include more up-to-date information. The announcement was made during its parent company OpenAI's first-ever developer day. CEO Sam Altman demoed the chatbot's new custom features — also putting on display his possibly subpar typing skills.

  • Leaked message: Slack will announce a new CEO next week. Current CEO Lidiane Jones is leaving the company at the end of the year to lead Bumble. The leadership announcement is set to happen next Monday.

  • Tesla might finally produce an affordable electric vehicle. It could reportedly build a new car for $27,000. Tesla has been discussing an under $30,000 EV for years, and the affordable option could bring a boost to EV adoption.


3 things in business

  • WeWork filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. On Monday, WeWork's stock trading was halted ahead of the opening bell. During its peak, the company was valued at $47 billion as a private company. But the startup has been in turmoil ever since its plans to go public in 2019 fell apart.

  • The return-to-office fight is getting dirty. The weakness of RTO data isn't going to stop bosses from ordering workers back into the office. But it indicates a refusal to do the work necessary to create a positive company culture.

  • Former VP of HR at Microsoft says it shouldn't matter if people work multiple jobs. What employees choose to do when they're not working for their employer isn't their employer's business. Besides, working multiple jobs is pretty common, especially in the bottom third of the labor market.


In other news


What's happening today

  • Happy Election Day! Dozens of states are headed to the polls. The governor races in Kentucky and Mississippi are among the biggest to watch today.
  • The Billie Jean King Cup finals kick off today. The World Cup of Tennis is being held in Sevilla, Spain this year. The 12 teams are: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the US.
  • Earnings today: Uber, eBay, H&R Block, Nintendo, and other companies.

For your bookmarks

Rejuvenation Olympics

A woman who spends $108 per month on health expenses is beating the millionaire who spends $2 million per year. Her largest expense is for a $79 supplement subscription.


The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.


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