Hochschild

Hochschild - Arlie Russdl Hochschild The TIME BIND W667 Work Becomes Home and Home 366074265 W718 METROPOLITAN BOOKS H e n r y H o I t a n d C o m

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Unformatted text preview: Arlie Russdl Hochschild The _ TIME BIND W667? Work Becomes Home and Home 366074265 W718 METROPOLITAN BOOKS H e n r y H o I t a n d C o m p a n y N e w Y o rk CHAPTER '4 Family Values and Reversed l/Vorlds If working parents are “deciding” to work full time and longer, what experiences at home and work might be influencing them to do so? When I first began the research for this book, I assumed that home was “home” and work was “work”—that each was a sta— tionary rock beneath the moving feet of working parents. I assumed as well that each stood in distinct opposition to the other. In a family, love and commitment loom large as ends in themselves and are not means to any further end. As an Amerco parent put it, “I work to live; I don’t live to work.” However difficult family life may be at times, we usually feel family ties offer an irreplaceable connection to generations past and future. Family is our personal embrace with history‘ Jobs, on the other hand, earn money that, to most of us, serves as the means to other ends. To be sure, jobs can also allow us to develop skills or friendships, and to be part of a larger work commu— nity. But we seldom envision the workplace as somewhere workers would freely choose to spend their time. Ifin the American imagi— nation the family has a touch of the sacred, the realm of work seems profane. 35 — 36 THE TIME BIND In addition, I assumed, as many of us do, that compared to the workplace, home is a more pleasant place to be. This is after all one reason why employers pay workers to work and don’t pay them to stay home. The very word “work” suggests to most ofus something unpleasant, involuntary, even coerced. If the purpose and nature of family and work differ so drastically in our minds, it seemed reasonable to assume that people’s emo— tional experiences of the two spheres would differ profoundly, too. In Haven in a Heartless World, the social historian Christopher Lasch drew a picture of family as a “haven” where workers sought refuge from the cruel world of work.l Painting in broad strokes, we might imagine a picture like this: At the end ofa long day, a weary worker opens his front door and calls out, “Hi, Honey! I’m home!” He takes offhis uniform, puts on a bathrobe, opens a beer, picks up the paper, and exhales. Whatever its strains, home is where he’s relaxed, most himself. At home, he feels that people know him, understand him, appreciate him for who he really is. At home, he is safe. At work, our worker is “on call,” ready to report at a moment’s notice, working flat out to get back to the customer right away. He feels “like a number.” If he doesn’t watch out, he can take the fall for somebody else’s mistakes. This, then, is Lasch’s “heartless world,” an image best captured long ago in Charlie Chaplin’s satiri— cal Modern Times. In that film, Charlie acts the part ofa hapless fac— tory hand on an automated assembly line moving so fast that when he takes a moment to scratch his nose, he falls desperately behind. Dwarfed by the inhuman scale of the workplace, pressured by the line’s relentless pace, Charlie quickly loses his humanity, goes mad, climbs into the giant machine that runs the conveyor belt, and becomes a machine part himself. It was just such images of home and work that were challenged in one of my first interviews at Amerco. Linda Avery, a friendly thirty—eight—year—old mother of two daughters, is a shift supervisor at the Demco Plant, ten miles down the valley from Amerco head— quarters. Her husband, Bill, is a technician in the same plant. Linda and Bill share the care of her sixteen—year—old daughter from a pre— vious marriage and their two—year—old by working opposite shifts, as Family Values and Reversed Worlds 37 a full fifth of American working parents do. “Bill works the 7 A.M. to 3 P.M. shift while I watch the baby," Linda explained. “Then I work the 3 PM. to 11 P.M. shift and he watches the baby. My older daughter works at Walgreens after school.” When we first met in the factory’s breakroom over a couple of Cokes, Linda was in blue jeans and a pink jersey, her hair pulled back in a long blond ponytail. She wore no makeup, and her manner was purposeful and direct. She was working overtime, and so I began by asking whether Amerco required the overtime, or whether she volunteered for it. “Oh, I put in for it,” she replied with a low chuckle. But, I wondered aloud, wouldn’t she and her husband like to have more time at home together, finances and company policy permitting. Linda took offher safety glasses, rubbed her whole face, folded her arms, resting her elbows on the table, and approached the question by describing her life at home: I walk in the door and the minute I turn the key in the lock my older daughter is there. Granted, she needs somebody to talk to about her day. . . . The baby is still up. She should have been in bed two hours ago and that upsets me. The dishes are piled in the sink. My daughter comes right up to the door and complains about anything her stepfather said or did, and she wants to talk about herjob. My husband is in the other room hollering to my daughter, “Tracy, I don’t ever get any time to talk to your mother, because you’re always monopolizing her time before I even get a chance!” They all come at me at once. To Linda, her home was not a place to relax. It was another workplace. Her description of the urgency of demands and the unarbitrated quarrels that awaited her homecoming contrasted with her account of arriving at herjob as a shift supervisor: I usually come to work early just to get away from the house. I get there at 2:30 P.M., and people are there waiting. We sit. We talk. Wejoke. I let them know what’s going on, who has 38 THE TIME BIND to be where, what changes I’ve made for the shift that day. We sit there and chit—chat for five or ten minutes. There’s laughing, joking, fun. My coworkers aren’t putting me down for any reason. Everything is done with humor and fun from beginning to end, though it can get stressful when a machine malfunctions. For Linda, home had become work and work had become home. Somehow, the two worlds had been reversed. Indeed, Linda felt she could only get relief from the “work” of being at home by going to the “home” ofwork. As she explained, My husband’s a great help watching our baby. But as far as doing housework or even taking the baby when I’m at home, no. He figures he works five days a week; he’s not going to come home and clean. But he doesn’t stop to think that I work seven days a week. Why should I have to come home and do the housework without help from anybody else? My husband and I have been through this over and over again. Even if he wouldjust pick up from the kitchen table and stack the dishes for me, that would make a big difference. He does nothing. On his weekends off, I have to provide a sitter for the baby so he can go fishing. When I have a day off, I have the baby all day long without a break. He’ll help out if I’m not here, but the minute I am, all the work at home is mine. With a light laugh, she continued, “So I take a lot of overtime. The more I get out of the house, the better I am. It’s a terrible thing to say, but that’s the way I feel.” Linda said this not in the manner of a new discovery, a reluctant confession, or collusion between two working mothers—“Don’t you just want to get away some— times?”—but in a matter—of—fact way. This was the way life was. Bill, who was fifty—six when I first met him, had three grown children from a contentious first marriage. He told me he felt he had already “put in his time” to raise them and now was at a stage oflife L'— Family Values and Reversed l/Vorlds 39 in which he wanted to enjoy himself Yet when he came home afternoons he had to “babysit for Linda.” In a previous era, men regularly escaped the house for the bar, the fishing hole, the golf course, the pool hall, or, often enough, the sweetjoy of work. Today, as one of the women who make up 45 percent of the American workforce, Linda Avery, overloaded and feeling unfairly treated at home, was escaping to work, too. Nowa— days, men and women both may leave unwashed dishes, unresolved quarrels, crying tots, testy teenagers, and unresponsive mates behind to arrive at work early and call out, “I—Ii, fellas, I’m here!” Linda would have loved a warm welcome from her family when she returned from work, a reward for her day of labors at the plant. At a minimum, she would have liked to relax, at least for a little while. But that was hard to do because Bill, on his second shift at home, would nap and watch television instead of engaging the chil— dren. The more Bill slacked off on his shift at home, the more Linda felt robbed of rest when she was there. The more anxious the chil— dren were, or the messier the house was when she walked in the door, the more Linda felt she was simply returning to the task of making up for being gone. For his part, Bill recalled that Linda had wanted a new baby more than he had. So now that they were the parents of a small child, Bill reasoned, looking after the baby should also be more Linda’s responsibility. Caring for a two—year—old after working a regularjob was hard enough. Incredibly, Linda wanted him to do more. That was her problem though, not his. He had “earned his stripes” with his first set of children. Early Saturday mornings, while Linda and the kids were rustling about the house, Bill would get up, put his fishing gear and a six— pack of beer into his old Ford truck, and climb into the driver’s seat. “Man, I slam that truck door shut, frraaammml, and I’m ready to go! I figure I earned that time.” Both Linda and Bill felt the need for time off, to relax, to have fun, to feel free, but they had not agreed that it was Bill who needed a break more than Linda. Bill simply climbed in his truck and took his free time. This irritated Linda because she felt he took it at her 40 THE TIME BIND expense. Largely in response to her resentment, Linda grabbed what she also called “free time”——at work. Neither Linda nor Bill Avery wanted more time at home, not as things were arranged. Whatever images they may have carried in their heads about what family and work should be like, the Averys did not feel their actual home was a haven or that work Was a heart— less world. Where’did Linda feel most relaxed? She laughed more, joked more, listened to more interesting stories while on break at the fac— tory than at home. Working the 3 P.M. to 11 P.M. shift, her hours off didn’t coincide with those of her mother or older sister who worked in town, nor with those of her close friends and neighbors. But even if they had, she would have felt that the true center of her social world was her plant, not her neighborhood. The social life that once might have surrounded her at home she now found at work. The sense of being part of a lively, larger, ongoing community—that, too, was at work. In an emergency, Linda told me, she would sacri— fice everything for her family. But in the meantime, the everyday “emergencies” she most wanted to attend to, that challenged rather than exhausted her, were those she encountered at the factory. Frankly, life there was more fun. How do Linda and Bill Avery fit into the broader picture of American family and work life? Psychologist Reed Larson and his colleagues studied the daily emotional experiences of mothers and fathers in fifty—five two—parent Chicago families with children in the fifth to eighth grades. Some of the mothers cared for children at home, some worked part time, others full time, while all the fathers in the study worked full time. Each participant wore a pager for a week, and whenever they were beeped by the research team, each wrote down how he or she felt: “happy, unhappy, cheerful—irritable, friendly—angry.” The researchers found that men and women reported a similar range of emotional states across the week. But fathers reported more “positive emotional states” at home; mothers, more positive emotional states at work. This held true for every social class. Fathers like Bill Avery relaxed more at home; while mothers like Linda Avery did more housework there. Larson sug— Family Values and Reversed Worlds 41 gests that “because women are constantly on call to the needs of other family members, they are less able to relax at home in the way men do.”2 Wives were typically in better moods than their husbands at home only when they were eating or engaging in “family trans— port.” They were in worse moods when they were doing “child— related activities” or “socializing” there.3 Men and women each felt most at ease when involved in tasks they felt less obliged to do, Larson reports. For women, this meant first shift work; for men, second. A recent study of working mothers made another significant dis— covery. Problems at home tend to upset women more deeply than problems at work. The study found that women were most deeply affected by family stress—and were more likely to be made depressed or physically ill by it—even when stress at the workplace was greater. For women, current research on stress does not support the common view of home as a sanctuary and work as a “jungle.” However hectic their lives, women who do paid work, researchers have consistently found, feel less depressed, think better of them— selves, and are more satisfied with life than women who don’t do paid work.4 One study reported that, paradoxically, women who work feel more valued at home than women who stay home.5 In sum, then, women who work outside the home have better physical and mental health than those who do not, and not simply because healthier women go to work. Paid work, the psychologist Grace Baruch argues, “offers such benefits as challenge, control, structure, positive feedback, self esteem . . . and social ties.”6 Reed Larson’s study found, for example, that women were no more likely than men to see coworkers as friendly, but when women made friendly contact it was far more likely to lift their spirits.7 As a woman quoted by Baruch put it, “Ajob is to a woman as a wife is to a man.”8 For Linda Avery self—satisfaction, well—being, high spirits, and work were inextricably linked. It was mainly at work, she com— mented, that she felt really good about herself. As a supervisor, she saw herjob as helping people, and those she helped appreciated her. She mused, 42 THE TIME BIND I’m a good mom at home, but I’m a better mom at work. At home, I get into fights with Tracy when she comes home late. I want her to apply to a junior college; but she’s not interested, and I get frustrated with her, because I want so much for her. At work, I think I’m better at seeing the other person’s point ofview. People come to me a lot, because I’m good at helping them. Often relations at work seemed more manageable. The “chil— dren” Linda Avery helped at work were older and better able to articulate their problems than her own children. The plant where she worked was clean and pleasant. She knew everyone on the line she supervised. Indeed, all the workers knew each other, and some were even related by blood, marriage, or, odd as it may sound, by divorce. One coworker complained bitterly that a friend of her hus— band’s ex—wife was keeping track of how much overtime she worked in order to help this eX—wife make a case for increasing the amount of his child support. Workers sometimes carried such hos— tilities generated at home into the workplace. Yet despite the common assumption that relations at work are emotionally limited, meaningful friendships often blossom. When Linda Avery joined coworkers for a mug of beer at a nearby bar after work to gossip about the “spy” who was tracking the deadbeat dad’s new wife’s overtime, she was among real friends. Research shows that work friends can be as important as family members in helping both men and women cope with the blows oflife. The gerontologist Andrew Sharlach studied how middle—aged people in Los Angeles dealt with the death ofa parent. He found that 73 percent of the women in the sample, and 64 percent of the men, responded that work was a “helpful resource” in coping with a mother’s death.9 Amerco regularly reinforced the family—like ties of coworkers by holding recognition ceremonies honoring particular workers or entire self—managed production teams. The company would deco— rate a section of the factory and serve food and drink. The produc— tion teams, too, had regular get—togethers. The halls of Amerco were hung with plaques praising workers for recent accomplish— Family Values and Reversed Worlds 43 ments. Such recognition luncheons, department gatherings, and, particularly in the ranks of clerical and factory workers, exchange of birthday gifts were fairly common workday events. At its white—collar offices, Amerco was even more involved in shaping the emotional culture of the workplace and fostering an environment of trust and cooperation in order to bring out every— one’s best. At the middle and top levels of the company, employees were invited to periodic “career development seminars” on personal relations at work. The centerpiece of Amerco’s personal—relations culture was a “vision” speech that the CEO had given called “Valuing the Individual,” a message repeated in speeches, memori— alized in company brochures, and discussed with great seriousness throughout the upper reaches of the company. In essence, the mes— sage was a parental reminder to respect others. Similarly, in a new— age recasting of an old business slogan (“The customer is always right”), Amerco proposed that its workers “Value the internal cus— tomer.” This meant: Be as polite and considerate to your coworkers as you would be to Amerco customers. “Value the internal cus— tomer” extended to coworkers the slogan “Delight the customer.” Don’tjust work with your coworkers, delight them. “Employee empowerment,” “valuing diversity,” and “work— family balance”—these catchphrases, too, spoke to a moral aspect of work life. Though ultimately tied to financial gain, such exhorta— tions—and the policies that followed from them—made workers feel the company was concerned with people, not just money. In many ways, the workplace appeared to be a site of benign social engineering where workers came to feel appreciated, honored, and liked. On the other hand, how many recognition ceremonies for competent performance were going on at home? Who was valuing the internal customer there? After thirty years with Amerco, Bill Avery felt, if anything, overqualified for his job, and he had a recognition plaque from the company to prove it. But when his toddler got into his fishing gear and he blew up at her and she started yelling, he felt impotent in the face of her rageful screams—and nobody was there to back him up. When his teenage stepdaughter reminded him that she saw him, not 44 THE TIME BIND as an honorable patriarch, but as an infantile competitor for her mother’s attention, he felt humiliated. At such moments, he says, he had to resist the impulse to reach for the whiskey he had given up five years earlier. Other fathers with whom I talked were less open and self—critical about such feelings, but in one way or another many said that they felt more confident they could “get the job done” at work than at home. As one human resource specialist at Amerco reflected, We used to joke about the old “Mother of the Year Award.” That doesn’t exist anymore. Now, we don’t know a mean— ingful way to reward a parent. At work, we get paid and pro— moted for doing well. At home, when you’re doing the right thing, chances are your kids are giving you hell for it. If a family gives its members anything, we assume it is surely a sense of belonging to an ongoing community. In its engineered cor— porate cultures, capitalism has rediscovered communal ties and is using them to build its new version of capitalism. Many Amerco , employees spoke warmly, happily, and seriously of “belonging to the Amerco family,” and everywhere there were Visible symbols of this belonging. While some married people have dispensed with their wedding rings, people proudly wore their “Total Quality” pins or “High Performance Team” tee—shirts, symbols of their loyalty to the company and of its loyalty to them. In my interviews, I heard little about festive reunions of extended families, while throughout the year, employees flocked to the many company—sponsored ritual gatherings. In this new model of family and work life, a tired parent flees a 'world of unresolved quarrels and unwashed laundry for the reliable orderliness, harmony, and managed cheer of work. The emotional magnets beneath home and workplace are in the process of being reversed. In truth, there are many versions of this reversal going on, some more far—reaching than others. Some people find in work a respite from the emotional tangles at home. Others virtually marry their work, investing it with an emotional significance once Family Values and Reversed Worlds 45 reserved for family, while hesitating to trust loved ones at home. If Linda and Bill Avery were not yet at that point, their situation was troubling enough, and by no means restricted to a small group. Overall, this “reversal” was a predominant pattern in about a fifth of Amerco families, and an important theme in over half of them. We may be seeing here a trend in modern life destined to affect us all. To be sure, few people feel totally secure either at work or at home. In the last fifteen years, massive waves of downsizing have reduced the security workers feel even in the most apparently stable workplaces. At the same time, a rising divorce rate has reduced the security they feel at home. Although both Linda and Bill felt their marriage was strong, over the course of their lives, each had changed relationships more often than they had changed jobs. Bill had worked steadily for Amerco for thirty years, but he had been mar— ried twice; and in the years between marriages, he had lived with two women and dated several more. Nationwide, half the people who marry eventually divorce, most within the first seven years of marriage. Three—quarters of divorced men and two—thirds of divorced women remarry, but remarried couples are more likely than those in first marriages to divorce. Couples who only live together are even more likely to break up than couples who marry. Increasing numbers of people are getting their “pink slips” at home. Work may become their rock. The Time Bind The social world that draws a person’s allegiance also imparts a pat— tern to time. The more attached we are to the world of work, the more its deadlines, its cycles, its pauses and interruptions shape our lives and the more family time is forced to accommodate to the pressures of work. In recent years at Amerco it has been possible to detect a change in the ways its workers View the proper use of their time: Family time, for them, has taken on an “industrial” tone. As the social worlds ofwork and home reverse, working parents’ experience of time in each sphere changes as well. Just how, and 46 THE TIME BIND how much, depends on the nature ofa person’s job, company, and life at home. But at least for people like Timmy’s parents, engineers at Amerco, it’s clear that family time is succumbing to a Cult of effi— ciency previously associated with the workplace. Meanwhfle, work time, with its ever longer hours, becomes newly hospitable to socia— bility—periods of talking with friends on e—mail, patching up quar— rels, gossiping. In this way, within the long workday of Timmy’s father were great hidden pockets of inefficiency, while, in the far smaller number of waking weekday hours he spent at home, he was time conscious and efficient. Sometimes, Timmy’s dad forgot the clock at work; despite himself, he kept a close eye on the clock at home. The new rhythms of work are also linked to a new sense of self— supervision. Managers, professionals, and many workers in produc— tion teams describe feeling as if they are driving themselves ever harder at Amerco, while at home they feel themselves being driven by forces beyond their control. Under Total Quality’s “just—in—time production” system, workers try to respond immediately to a cus— tomer’s wishes. Goods are no longer supposed to lie around in warehouses; they cost too much to store. This means that an employee is always vulnerable to emergency calls to meet an order for which sufficient product inventory does not exist. Amerco work teams go from one collective emergency to another, producing goods “just in time.” Periodic ship dates loom large, giving a hic— cough—like rhythm to work time. In between demand—based emer— gencies, it is the worker who is, in effect, “warehoused” at work. (The rise ofa contingency workforce in the American economy as a whole simply moves the warehousing from workplace to home.) The miracle of Amerco’s engineered culture is that the company has managed to give employees, who labor according to a schedule imposed on them by others, the sense that they are still in control. This achievement has turned what might otherwise be a continual, heart—pounding, tension—provoking crisis at work into a kind of endless flow of communal problem—solving time. So Timmy’s dad, for instance, lurched from one project deadline to the neXt at the office, but only when he came home did he feel truly pressed. He Family Values and Reversed Worlds 47 then tried to jam many necessary activities into his domestic life: a block of time for Timmy, another for Timmy’s sister, another for his wife——all arranged like so many office hours, but without a sec— retary to control his flow of visitors and tasks. Working parents’ experience oftime has changed, but relative to what? Let’s return to Cassie’s mother, Gwen Bell, and imagine two of her ancestors. Gwen’s great, great, great, great—grandmother might well have tended a New England farmhouse in 1800. She probably lived a harder life than Gwen does, had many more chil— dren, and did tougher physical work, scrubbing laundry, tending cows, hoeing fields. But because her farm was both family and work in one, time with family overlapped and interwove with time at work. Getting the hay in before a rain could be a matter of great urgency. But a typical day would rarely have had any of the exactly timed, carefully coordinated, closely calibrated arrivals and depar— tures that Gwen experiences as she mixes business meetings, profes— sional appointments, and Cassie’s piano lessons with a trip to the hairdresser or auto repair shop. Events would have been more loosely arranged, more diffusely, informally related. Gwen’s ancestor would have intuitively divided time into workweeks and Sundays, but not into a work year with a specific number of vacations days. She would have given birth many times, but not allocated time to the baby according to a company’s six—week maternity—leave policy. She would have grieved for the dead but not in the three—day bereavement leave a company supervisor could authorize. Time was less geared to standardized, bureaucratic rules and more oriented to local custom. The hour on a neighboring town’s clock tower might have differed from that on her town’s, and it would not have mat— tered much, because the intricate coordination ofa whole industrial order did not yet rest on the need for exactly synchronized time. Deadlines, opening and closing times, customer demands were all matters of informal agreement made according to community custom. ' Little meaning would then have attached to the phrase “Time is money.” Time was life. Much of life was work, but neither 48 THE TIME BIND work nor time was so precisely measured in units of money. Without a meter to tick, time on a New England farm in 1800 was a little slower, and the cultures of work and home were not “reversed” for the simple reason that they had not yet been separated. In the 19205, Gwen’s great—grandmother might well have been a housewife married to an urban factory worker. Historians tell us that people were, by then, becoming more self—conscious accountants of time. Gwen’s city ancestor might have worked in a factory as a young woman but later quit to care for her children, a household, a garden, and perhaps a paying boarder. Though housework was arduous and unmechanized for a working—class homemaker, a woman could largely control the pace of her work. She lived according to what the historian Tamara Hareven has called “family time,” while her husband in his factory geared himself to “industrial time.”10 It is this image of the domestic woman and the industrial— ized man that Christopher Lasch used as a model in Haven in a Heartless World. During this time, the very nature of industrial work was trans— formed thanks to an engineering genius named Frederick W. Taylor. He introduced to factory life the principles ofwhat he called “scientific management,” imposing on the workplace and indi— vidual workers a rigorous standard of emciency. Because time was now more exactly equated with production and therefore with money, time was also more precisely measured and bits of it more carefully saved. The most notorious application of Taylor’s idea of scientific management took place at the Bethlehem Steel Company in 1899. There, Taylor studied a Dutch—American employee named Schmidt as he shoveled twelve and a half tons of pig iron. He measured the exact speed of each move Schmidt made (Taylor’s watch was cali— brated in seconds) and quantified every detail of Schmidt’s job— “the size of the shovel, the bite into the pile, the weight of the scoop, the distance to work, the arc of the swing, and the rest periods Schmidt should take.”“ Taylor taught Schmidt to shovel forty—seven tons of pig iron in the same amount of time he used to Family Values and Reversed Worlds 49 shovel twelve and a half. He went on to apply his principles to machinists, bricklayers, and other craftsmen. Managers at Amerco today are not measuring the “bite into a pile” or the “weight of a'scoop” of anything. Instead, under the Total Quality system, the worker is “empowered” to measure it all herself and be efficient in her own way. Meanwhile a low—grade Tayloresque cult of efficiency has “jumped the fence” and come home. Home has become the place where people carry out neces— sary tasks efficiently in the limited amount of time allotted. No effi— ciency experts stand by to calibrate Gwen and John Bell’s work; the Bells have become their own efficiency experts, gearing all the moments and movements of their lives to the workplace. For Gwen’s ancestor in 1920, the workplace was heartlessly Taylorized and home might indeed have seemed a haven from it. But for Gwen, her workplace has a large, socially engineered heart while her home has gained a newly Taylorized feel. Even if they didn’t intend to, Gwen and John regularly applied principles of efficiency to their family life. For them, as for so many other Amerco parents, saving time was becoming the sort of virtue at home it had long been at work. Gwen regularly squeezed one activity between two others, narrowing the “time frame” around each. Sometimes she brought the cellular phone into the bathroom while Cassie splashed in the tub. She checked the telephone answering machine messages and her e—mail while the dishwasher ran. Whenever she could get a lot done at home in less time, Gwen congratulated herself for solving a time problem. But except when she and John self—consciously applied the brakes, they found them— selves “keeping the engine running all the time.” Numerous activities formerly done at home now go on outside the house as a result of domestic “outsourcing.” Long ago, the basic functions of education, medical care, and economic production, once based in the home, moved out. Gradually, other realms of activity followed. For middle~class children, for instance, piano lessons, psychological counseling, tutoring, entertainment, and eating now often take place outside the home. Family time is chopped into pieces according to the amount of time each 50 THE TIME BIND outsourced service requires—fifty minutes for a psychiatric appoint— ment, sixty minutes for a jazzercise class. Each service begins and ends at an agreed—upon time somewhere else. This creates a certain anxiety about being “on time,” because it is uncomfortable (and often costs money) when one is late, and precious time is squan— dered if one is early. The domestic time that remains may come to seem like filler between one appointment and another. Sometimes television, which through advertising creates the need for further services, fills in the temporal space. Gwen and john Bell responded to their time bind at home by trying to value and protect “quality time.” A concept unknown to Gwen’s ancestors, quality time has become a powerful symbol of the struggle against the growing pressures on time at home. It reflects the extent to which modern parents feel the flow of time running against them. Many Amerco families were fighting hard to preserve outposts of quality time, lest their relationships be stripped of mean— ingful time altogether. The premise behind quality time is that the time we devote to relationships can somehow be separated from ordinary time. Relationships go on during “quantity time,” of course, but then we are only passively, not actively, wholeheartedly, specializing in our emotional ties. We aren’t “on.” Quality time at home becomes like an office appointment. One wouldn’t want to be caught “goofing off around the water cooler” when one is engaged in serious quality time. If childcare, summer camps, and psychiatry are kinds of domestic outsourcing, then quality time falls into a new category we might call domestic “in—sourcing.” Quality time holds out the hope that scheduling intense periods of togetherness can compensate for an overall loss of time in such a way that a relationship will suffer no loss of quality. But this, too, is a way of transferring the cult of efficiency from office to home. Instead of nine hours a day with a child, we declare ourselves capable of getting the “same result” with one more intensely focused total quality hour. As with Frederick Taylor and the hapless Schmidt, our family bonds are being recalibrated to achieve greater productivity in less time. Family Values and Reversed Worlds , 51 Feeling themselves in a time bind, most Amerco working par— ents wanted more time at home, protected time, time less intensely geared to the rhythms of the work world outside, time they simply did not have. They also yearned to feel different about the time they did have. But the lack of family time and the Taylorization of what little of it remained was forcing parents to do even more of a new kind of work: the emotional work necessary to repair the damage caused by time pressures at home. If Gwen considered her work at the office her first shift and her work at home her second, she also found herself engaged each day in an anguished third shift, cop— ing with Cassie’s resistance as well as her own exasperation and sad— ness at living such a Taylorized family life. When workers protest speed—up, industrialists can replace them. But when children react against a speedup at home, parents have to deal with it. Children dawdle. They sulk. They ask for gifts. They tell their parents by action or word, “I don’t like this.” They want to be having quality time when it’s a quantity time of day; they don’t want quality time in the time slot parents religiously set aside for it. Parents, for their part, displace struggles for time they might be having with managers at work onto children and spouses at home. As if she were Cassie’s manager, Gwen would say early in the morning, “It’s time to get ready for the Spotted Deer Center.” “I don’t want to get ready for the center,” Cassie would whine. To which Gwen would respond in an anxious, coaxing way, “It’s time. Hurry up. We’re late.” The emotional dirty work of adjusting children to the Taylorized home and making up to them for its stresses and strains is the most painful part of a growing third shift at home. Parents now increasingly find themselves in the role of domestic “time and motion” experts, and so more commonly speak of time as if it were a threatened form of personal capital they have no choice but to manage and invest, capital whose value seems to rise and fall according to forces beyond their control. What’s new here is the spread into the home of a financial man— ager’s attitude toward time. Few people feel that they simply “sell” their time to a workplace, which then manages it for them. More feel as if they manage a temporal portfolio there themselves. But this ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/22/2012 for the course SOC 1010 taught by Professor Angelikagulbis during the Spring '08 term at Toledo.

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Hochschild - Arlie Russdl Hochschild The TIME BIND W667 Work Becomes Home and Home 366074265 W718 METROPOLITAN BOOKS H e n r y H o I t a n d C o m

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