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The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work Hardcover – May 15, 1997

3.6 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In the early 1990s Arlie Hochschild exposed The Second Shift, revealing the housework and childcare inequities of working couples. In this book Hochschild exposes the disturbing time bind of American families: parents are putting more hours in at work to support their families, which creates more stress at home, which pushes parents into seeking more work time to escape the tension at home. The result of this time crunch is the unsettling development of the "third shift"--the time parents spend repairing the damage left in the wake of their compulsion to work. Hochschild's solution? Parents of America unite! The final chapters discuss how parents can start a "Time Movement," liberating themselves from work-driven tyranny.

From Library Journal

Hochschild, coauthor of the acclaimed The Second Shift (LJ 4/15/89), here reports on a study she conducted of a large company (name changed) to see why employees were not taking advantage of the "family friendly" options it offered. She found that employees were the "working scared"; despite options, management had conveyed the sense that employee devotion to the company was based on the number of hours at work. The hourly production workers who did not have access to the family benefits still opted for overtime and double shifts. They wanted to keep their jobs secure, although in the end, the employer laid off half the employees through downsizing. The author also contends that for many employees work was more rewarding than home life and a pleasant escape for parents, and they did not want to give it up. Hochschild gives some attention to the plight of the workers' children, but she could have gone into greater depth. Still, this is valuable study. Recommended for business collections.?Peggy Odom, Texas Lib. Assn., Waco
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1st edition (May 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805044701
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805044706
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,718,423 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on December 22, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Hocschild's book can be criticized for being limited to only one case study -- a real Fortune 500 Company. That aside, she presents disturbing findings that do ring true with other observations on contemporary corporate culture. Most significant is the way in which an organization manipulates total quality managerial approaches to create work groups that begin to provide greater levels of social satisfaction than our families do. This is not to say that Hochschild blames the corporate top brass entirely -- she also points out the ways in which parents and spouses have willingly shifted thier time allotment and devotional energies from familiy settings to work groups.
Hochschild's book not only asks what becomes of the family if such a trend is prevalent, but also what becomes of an entire generation that may be placing more and more value on work-related achievements than on the nurturing experiences of family life. While again it should be pointed out that Hochschild's findings are based on a singular case study, her observations have a disturbing resonance with other looks at the fast and furious pace of attaining the American Dream. I would recommend this book to anyone who has questioned the supposed virture of climbing career ladders, as well as to those who have suspected that families are being gradually shoved out of the mainstream of American social life. Another work that is very related, and amplifies many of Hochschild's findings (while taking a more general perspective) is Stephen Bertman's excellent "Hyperculture," also available at Amazon. Perhaps we see here the beginning of the most significant issue of the next millenium: how do we define what is of REAL value as the assault on our time continues?
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The Time Bind is not about work. The reason that Hochschild uses so much work based data is because she wants to show that there is nothing at work in particular that makes us HAVE to be there. She talks about the horrible lack of support for young families that ends up making work more pleasant than home because at least at work parents are supported and know when they are doing the right thing or the wrong thing. (At home you never know if taking or not taking the lollipop from your 2-year-old will render them into raving loonies in 20 years.) The only time she really gets into how work itself contributes is when she says that many family friendly policies are an illusion or are believed to be an illusion by the workers. However, this book is not quite as clear as the Second Shift, which I thought was brilliant. It is also clarified by a knowledge of the Second Shift; it's easier to see the family orientation if you're familiar with her other work.
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Format: Hardcover
The Time Bind was interesting in that it stops us long enough to examine the endless pressures that we believe are immutable. Ms Hochschild raises questions of how much pressure we may create for ourselves, how that is reinforced by the workplace and the economic, social, political climate that fosters it and the painful consequence of reduced quality of life. In attempting to raise our consciousness on this matter and to ask about our priorities we are invited to step briefly outside the current paradigm to consider saner possibilities. Since so many people seem so very dissatisfied, this can only be a good thing.
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Format: Paperback
Initially I approached this book thinking that it told the familiar (and not particularly interesting) tale of how the endless demands of the workplace are slowly eating way at the little time that we have to spend with our families or just ourselves. Well, this is NOT that tale. Rather, Professor Hochschild explores and succinctly describes how the workplace has become the dynamic community in our lives, to the exclusion of all else and at a price. The reasons have little to do with "work becoming unmanageable;" rather, it is "work becoming community." I find her ideas provocative, eye-opening and remarkably non- ideological, as it is simply reporting what is happening in our Country and to some extent throughout the world. Anyone who runs around 24/7 with a cell phone, beeper, blackberry, etc. knows what I am talking about. Highly recommended.
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I picked this book up just by chance. I found it truthful, enlightening and very thought provoking. It is clear that the battle for our time is present. How should we be judged? Are we to be judged based on the hours of servitude or our accomplishments? What is the ultimate effect of long hours on our lives and families? In the modern job shuffle, are the hours justified?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a required book for a sociology class I took in college. Before I started the book I looked at it like any other text book, boring... BUT once I read it I really enjoyed it. Maybe because of my social work/sociology path in life that I honestly enjoyed it, but I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who want's a look at dynamics between working parents (particularly women) and their children.
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Format: Paperback
Summary:
The book is essentially a report of the findings of a 3-year qualitative study by the author, Arlie Hochschild, of a Fortune 500 company's 'family-friendly' practices. The author interviewed people in all tiers of the organization, conducted surveys, followed employees, and did participant observations to try to understand how the company's family-friendly policies were being implemented.
The result is The Time Bind. Though the company wants to give the impression that it is family-friendly, certain factors are working against the company actually living up to its policies. One is that for many of the managers at the company 'face time' or actually being at work is more important than actually doing anything at work. If your understanding of 'family-friendly' includes the possibility of working fewer hours, this is going to work against anyone that wants to participate in an hour reduction program.
Another thing that the author posits that is working against family friendliness is that companies are turning the work environment into a safe and comforting environment (though doing this actually covers up the temporariness inherent in companies) and in essence are replacing the home environment or turning the home environment into something more akin to what work environments have traditionally been seen as being (e.g. scheduling time for kids and spouses, running from one thing to the next, not being able to rest, etc.). The result is that many people actually want to spend more time at work then they do at home because they feel more relaxed at work then they do at home. (Read the book to understand this argument more fully.)
My Comments:
I think the book is great.
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