About the Blog

A 15 Hour Work Week is like a dream come true for most people.

Imagine a 3 hour shift instead of the daily 9 to 6 grind. On such a schedule, you could go for a morning jog and then enjoy a home-cooked hearty breakfast before reporting for work at 10am.

Or if you stay quite far away from your workplace, you could opt to work for 5 hours on three days instead to save time spent commuting. At the same time, you will create an enticing 4 day weekend to look forward to every week!

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This idea is still a dream (that’s why you are here reading, isn’t it?) but it should have been realised by now, at least according to the famous economist John Maynard Keynes.

In 1930, he predicted that within a hundred years, technological advances would support the luxury of 15 hour work weeks for citizens from developed nations. Advanced machinery, sophisticated tools and developed communication systems would result in higher productivity for the human race. Instead of toiling the entire day away to feed ourselves, Keynes argued that 15 hours a week would be enough to provide for our “absolute needs”, unless one chooses otherwise.

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These were bold predictions indeed in the year the Great Depression started (I reckon a 15 hour work week probably wasn’t that appealing to the swathes of unemployed). However, even his “eight times better off in the economic sense” forecast has proven to be a tad conservative from the evidence of GDP growth in the past 80 years.

Since that’s the case, you must be asking why aren’t we working 15 hour work weeks now?

“While Malthus was too pessimistic, disregarding technological advances, Keynes was just too optimistic at what technological advances could do. A much shorter work week is just another of those failed predictions. The vast majority just isn’t earning enough and Keynes failed to take into account the growing economic inequality. Why would anyone choose to work more unless we HAVE to? A 15 Hour Work Week has not happened and I seriously doubt I will ever see it in my lifetime.”

Or that’s what all the critics say. I mean, Keynes can’t be right since it’s impossible for ALL OF US to CHOOSE to work 40 hours a week.

Sad to say, from my interpretation of his work, I believe Keynes to be absolutely spot on, with the desire to satisfy our “relative needs” being his ultimate caveat. In this time and age, you (the fact that you have spare time and the access to the infrastructure to read this blog) and I should only need to work for 15 hours a week to afford our “absolute needs”, which is basic food, shelter and security. The next 25 hours are then spent chasing after “relative needs”, the bigger house, the more luxurious car and the more exotic vacation, expenditure that’s supposed to make us “feel superior to our fellows”, as Keynes puts it.

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The fact is, we have unconsciously opted to participate in a 40 hour work week to meet our insatiable and growing desires, or simply to keep up with the Jones.

Aha! Liberation! But before you approach your boss to demand a 60% reduction in work hours immediately, I do urge some restraint. Unless you are already above 50/in poor health/have a young child/got found out surfing the Internet 60% of the time in your job, you are likely going to get a “Are you joking?” look from your supervisor. If you insist, they could even wonder if you’re just too lazy to submit an official resignation letter.

Unfortunately in modern society, there’s really little incentive for employers to reduce work hours since most employees are paid on a monthly basis. Requesting for a job that only requires a 15 hour weekly shift would likely restrict one to either part-time work or self-employment, unless you are very lucky to find an enlightened employer.

Also, in comparison to a full-time job, you will likely be drawing a much smaller paycheck (at least initially), and my hunch is that new readers are probably not prepared for this Cold Hard Truth. 

Fearing the worst, the most conservative would even advise you to be financially independent or able to retire comfortably before attempting such an audacious move. However, my view is that since you will still be earning and bringing back some dough, we could set a prudent, but lower target of semi-retirement as the pre-requisite, a license to enjoy the 15 HWW earlier.

In short, this blog will chronicle my journey to create My 15 Hour Work Week and also illustrate an alternative path to guide others along, making it easier for anyone who is also aiming to attain semi-retirement earlier.

 

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    9 thoughts on “About the Blog

    1. PR

      Interesting to see you mention this. I myself believe that it is not necessary to work for more than 4 hours a day (a little bit more than your 15hour/week) – a bit too radical a thought to spread to my fellow business colleagues. And it requires a fundamental change of mindset in the way all of us work and run the business; in fact it requires a complete make-over of the concept of “work”. But in principle it is do-able.

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi PR,

        Yes, 4 hours a day is indeed pretty radical. That’s half day actually!

        But it is indeed possible if we have shorter lunches, less coffee breaks at each others’ workstations, eliminate useless courses and reduce teambuilding sessions etc.

        Guess the danger is that if we reduce the work hours by half, the proportion of time spent on these “non-productive” activities will actually remain the same. And as a result, the amount of work done will also reduce by half.

        1. Love

          For a woman, I think 4 hours in a four day work week is beautiful. Imagine Friday being devoted to your family and the children. (3 rest days).

          On weekdays, you can use the rest of the time to ferry children and coach them in their studies, while not missing the joys of the all important first times.

          There is always this tension of managing kids and career giving it your all especially if you are in a particular competitive sector, in an age where there is still subtle gender discrimination in the board room.

          In a previous place, I was not given a choice about working sat and sun, public holidays in a stretch. There is nothing except compensation. The point is after one has worked long hours past midnight, you will reflect back after some years and consider whether you have made sacrifices in the right direction. I do know for certain things it involved a sacrifice but if this energy is for something mundane, then it missed the point. Bosses have to take note of this. There will be times where woman pull all nighters to finish an important project, there will come times where work takes a back seat to focus on the family (not be penalized or gossiped), especially times when the woman’s child is still very young.

          1. My 15 HWW Post author

            Hi L,

            I do believe that a mother would benefit more from a 15HWW as compared to her other half. =p

            Therefore it’s likely that the Mrs will be in permanent semi-retirement mode earlier than me.

            With mothers being the predominant carers of their kids, it’s little wonder that subtle gender discrimination exists in the office. It’s quite ironic that sometimes, it’s the lady bosses (those without children) that discriminates most.

    2. chopra

      Brought here from monoeagle blog.

      May I know which job will have a 15hr work week? I’m a full time employer plus taking 2 to 3 weekend tuitions. Hardly 15hr….

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi chopra,

        I guess one can either work part-time or be self-employed to have more control on the amount of time spent working.

        For me, I plan to become a “full-time” tutor working 15 hours a week. Before that happens, I hope to accumulate enough assets to supplement the wages from self-employment.

    3. fighting4ff

      Hello M15HWW!

      Happy New Year to you! I’ve been following your blog for a while now. Good stuff you’ve got there! =)

      In fact, you replied to one of my emails (using a different email account from this comment) before, and encouraged me to start writing as well. hahaha. I took your advice and have started blogging a few months ago, though not as frequently as I hope to. Still, thanks for urging me on to start!

      Can I ask how do you embed your SGXCafe portfolio on your blog? Is it some iFrame code or something? Where do we extract that piece of code from SGXcafe?

      Thanks much in advance!

      fighting4ff

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi fighting4ff,

        Oh, that’s great!

        Always happy when I have been a positive influence.

        With regards to the portfolio embedding, I guess a quick email to Evan (SGXCafe) would be good. I think he would be glad to help you embed your portfolio on your blog. =)

    4. fiinsingapore

      Hi M15HWW, your blog is pretty inspiring. I especially enjoy your open and honest sharing about your philosophy and investment strategy.

      I wonder if you have written anything about whether to buy or rent a home in Singapore? I’m new to blogging and recently shared my thoughts about whether it makes more sense to buy or rent. Would you be able to comment on what I’ve written? You can find my post here: https://fiinsingapore.wordpress.com/2017/02/24/should-i-buy-or-rent-a-home-in-singapore/

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