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Family

Why we got obsessed with France's fake email ban.

We need better boundaries between work and play.

You probably saw a bunch of these headlines cropping up recently: “France bans work e-mail after 6 p.m.

French law makes weekend work emails illegal…

France Is About to Make After-Hours Work Email Illegal


France Has Banned Work Emails on the Weekends, And So Should We

Even if you didn’t buy that, more grounded stories were promising something that still sounded pretty great.

Allegedly, French President Francois Hollande’s administration had introduced new labor legislation that would give workers the “right to disconnect” after office hours.

According to the reports, companies with more than 50 employees would be legally required to draft “policies of conduct” that stipulate when work email could be sent or answered after normal business hours (which, for most people, is nights, weekends, and vacations).

To put it simply, after a French employee finished a full day at the office, their employers couldn’t require them to read or respond to any work emails until they got back to their desks the next day.

Can you imagine the freedom!?

GIF via "Broad City."

The story went viral for months, but it turns out it wasn’t 100% correct.

Apparently, the law only applies to employees who work hourly, and it doesn’t even kick in until after they’ve worked a 13-hour shift. That’s a far cry from “banning work emails after 6 p.m.”

The dream of a government really tackling work-life balance slowly died, and The Economist even issued this eulogy on April 14.

There’s a bigger question, though: Why did this French “right to disconnect” policy strike such a nerve with Americans?

Benoit Hamon’s quote for the BBC explains it well:

"All the studies show there is far more work-related stress today than there used to be, and that the stress is constant. Employees physically leave the office, but they do not leave their work. They remain attached by a kind of electronic leash — like a dog. The texts, the messages, the emails — they colonize the life of the individual to the point where he or she eventually breaks down.”

Sound like you or anyone you know?

Right now, Americans are working more hours than ever before.

A 2014 Gallup poll found that white-collar workers employed full-time in the U.S. were working an average of 47 hours per week, dwarfing the office time of their peers in every other industrialized nation, including Japan!

Another poll that same year found that a third of these workers frequently checked their email after hours, too, so their long workdays didn’t end even after leaving their cubicles.

Meanwhile, employees in France enjoy a 35-hour week with sweet, sweet overtime pay guaranteed if they work more than that (although exceptions to this rule were just legalized).

How I imagine life in France.

With smartphones and email, we can now be productive even after we leave the office.

But this revolutionary level of freedom is also eroding protective boundaries ... boundaries we didn’t even know we needed.

Jennifer M. Grygiel, assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University, studies the impact that email has on American work culture.

She says: “The trend toward mobile means that communications are tied to people regardless of their location. The workforce is now always on because of the connectivity of devices and people. Without guidance from the government, or employers, people could technically work around the clock. Humans are giving away more and more of their time for free because of technology.”

And tech entrepreneurs like Alex Moore, the founder of Boomerang, are finding out just how badly people want to take their schedules and personal time back from email.

He explains, "We've had dozens of customers write in to let us know that they signed up for Boomerang to try to implement [their own 'right to disconnect' policies].”

GIF via Rihanna's "Work."

Plus, it turns out that the efficiency and convenience of email might actually be slowing down our productivity.

Even with all that extra time we’re spending working (and burning out), we’re not getting very much done.

According to Diane Passage, a life coach based in New York City and fan of the French measure, “When a work-day has flexible parameters, there is a lack of urgency to get tasks completed by a reasonable hour. [However,] there is improved productivity when deadlines are in place, and there is a sense of accomplishment when deadlines are met.”

Americans clearly yearn for the “right to disconnect,” or at least some good boundaries between work and play.

But for now, it may be up to each of us to work on attaining it in lieu of government intervention.

So channel that joie de vivre and remember that your time outside of work should be yours and yours alone.

Vive la révolution!

"The Carol Burnett Show" had one of the funniest outtakes in TV history.

"The Carol Burnett Show" ran from 1967 to 1978 and has been touted as one of the best television series of all time. The cast and guest stars of the show included comedic greats such as Tim Conway, Betty White, Steve Martin, Vicki Lawrence, Dick Van Dyke, Lyle Waggoner, Harvey Korman and others who went on to have long, successful comedy careers.

One firm rule Carol Burnett had on her show was that the actors stay in character. She felt it was especially important not to break character during the "Family" scenes, in which the characters Ed and Eunice Higgins (a married couple) and Mama (Eunice's mother) would play host to various colorful characters in their home.

"I never wanted to stop and do a retake, because I like our show to be ‘live,’" she wrote in her memoir, as reported by Showbiz Cheat Sheet. "So when the ‘Family’ sketches came along, I was adamant that we never break up in those scenes, because Eunice, Ed, and Mama were, in an odd way, sacred to me. They were real people in real situations, some of which were as sad and pitiful as they were funny, and I didn’t want any of us to break the fourth wall and be out of character.”

It was a noble goal, and one that went right out the window—with Burnett leading the way—in a "Family" sketch during the show's final season that ended with the entire cast rolling with laughter.

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Family

More parents are taking 'teen-ternity leave' from work to support their teenage kids

Parenting through the teen years takes a lot more time and energy than people expect.

Photo by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

Raising kids through adolescence is not for the faint of heart.

When you have a baby, it's expected that you'll take some maternity or paternity leave from work. When you have a teen, it's expected that you'll be in the peak of your career, but some parents are finding the need to take a "teen-ternity leave" from work to support their adolescent kids.

It's a flip from what has become the traditional trajectory for modern parents. Despite the fact that the U.S. is the only developed nation in the world to not have mandated paid parental leave, most parents take at least some time off when a baby is born to recover physically from pregnancy and birth and to settle into life with their tiny new human. Many parents then opt to have one parent stay home full-time during their children's younger years, as full-time childcare is often cost prohibitive, and raising babies and toddlers requires an enormous amount of time, attention and energy.

Parents often return to work when their kids are in school full-time, and many feel a bit of a respite from the relentlessness of parenting as their kids become more independent and capable of doing things on their own. It's not that older kids don't need their parents, but their needs are different. Physical parenting gives way to more complex emotional parenting as kids get older, and for a while, those emotional challenges are somewhat simple.

Then the tween years come along. Then the teens. And for some parents, a realization hits that parenting kids through puberty takes almost as much time, attention and energy, as toddlers do. Only now, those needs are much more complicated and consequential.

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Image from Pixabay.

Under the sea...

True
The Wilderness Society


You're probably familiar with the literary classic "Moby-Dick."

But in case you're not, here's the gist: Moby Dick is the name of a huge albino sperm whale.

(Get your mind outta the gutter.)

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Family

People are debating the merits of a 24-hour daycare and the discussion is eye-opening

There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding about the need for this.

StableDiffusion

Are 24-hour daycares a good idea?

Millions of American parents utilize daycare centers while they work. Since most people work during the day, most daycare center hours fall somewhere between 7:30am and 5:30pm. It's rare to find a daycare that's open after normal working hours.

But one "24-hour" daycare in Houston captured people's attention—and sparked a debate—when a mom posted about it on TikTok.

Adventure Kids Playcare in Houston isn't actually open 24 hours a day but it does offer childcare up to 10:00pm during the week and until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. In the video, the mom drops her daughter off and we hear the employee tell her they close at midnight. The mom later says she picked her daughter up at 11:55pm.

Reactions to the video rand the gamut from "24-hour daycares are a brilliant idea for parents who work odd shifts" to "Moms shouldn't be leaving their kids at a daycare late at night just so they can go out," sparking a fascinating and eye-opening discussion.

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A dad is looking for a little more respect at home.

The title of dad or father is a sweet and respectful way to acknowledge a child's special bond with their male parent. It signifies love and respect and shows appreciation for his role in their life. But the title works both ways. The term dad reminds fathers of the responsibility to guide and protect their kids.

The importance of the unique role dads play in their kids’ lives is why a father named Steve was upset with his wife for repeatedly using his first name when referring to him with their preteen children.

The father vented about the situation and asked if he was wrong in a Reddit post with over 10,000 responses.

“My wife recently started using my first name when referring to me to our preteen kids, as in ‘Steve's gonna pick you up from school tomorrow,’” the father wrote on Reddit’s AITA forum. “I asked her not to when I first heard it, saying I don't really like when you use my first name to the kids. Can you say ‘your dad’ or ‘dad’?”

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Husband's portrait of wife is so bad that she nearly stops breathing

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but what if what your eyes behold is objectively...not good? In what appears to be a creative way to spend quality time together for a married couple, things go hilariously wrong. Ted Slaughter, uploaded a video to his TikTok page of an activity he and his wife did together.

Slaughter's wife seems to be holding the phone so you can clearly see what appears to be a painting of Slaughter, who is sitting at the other end of the table in front of an easel. The text overlay on the video says, "husband and wife paint portraits of each other (gone wrong). But what could possibly be wrong, sure his wife's attempt isn't art gallery ready just yet but it's not bad.

Based on the critiques the man had of his wife's painting, surely his looks much closer to professional level work. Right?...Right?

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