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#1
02-16-2012, 07:57 PM
 Sir Rhosis Guest Join Date: Oct 2000
I'm Not Giving You the Only Work Day of the Year Off! Cliche

Years ago I read a little bit of so-called humor regarding an employee asking for a day off. The boss shows that given all the weekends, holidays, etc., that there is only one actual work day per year, and declines to let the fellow off. I never read it closely but have always figured there was a basic math error in the piece that most people did not get.

Anyone know the bit I'm talking about? Can you link to a copy? Anyone know where the fault lies in the boss' calculations?

Sir Rhosis (who thinks this should have a clear-cut factual answer)
#2
02-16-2012, 08:03 PM
 GuanoLad Charter Member Join Date: Sep 1999 Location: Where the wild roses grow Posts: 18,126
Here, let me Google that for you.

Quote:
 There are 365 days this year. There are 52 weeks per year in which you already have 2 days off per week, leaving 261 days available for work. Since you spend 16 hours each day away from work, you have used up 170 days, leaving only 91 days available. You spend 30 minutes each day on coffee break. That accounts for 23 days each year, leaving only 68 days available. With a one hour lunch period each day, you have used up another 46 days, leaving only 22 days available for work. You normally spend 2 days per year on sick leave. This leaves you only 20 days available for work. We are off for 5 holidays per year, so your available working time is down to 15 days. We generously give you 14 days vacation per year which leaves only one day available for work and I'll be damned if you're going to take that day off!
#3
02-16-2012, 08:05 PM
 Sir Rhosis Guest Join Date: Oct 2000
Thanks! So it looks to me that the biggest error is counting the hours off each day as actual work days.

Sir Rhosis
#4
02-16-2012, 09:00 PM
 RadicalPi Guest Join Date: May 2009
Yeah, the math doesn't work out really all that well. I think it's mostly because the joke is intentionally confusing the 8-hour day of work with the 24-hour calendar day.

Here's the numbers I get.

Days of the year: 365

Nonweekend days: 365-23*52 = 261. So far so good.

16 hours per day not spent at work implies that 8 hours per day are at work, leaving 261*8 = 2,088 hours of work per year, which is actually 2,088/24 = 87 days, less than the 91 the joke mentions.

Lunch and coffee break equal 1.5 hours per day of the 261 days, which basically just means you're at work for 6.5 hours a day instead of 8, meaning we should have here 6.5 * 261 = 1,696.5 hours or about 70.7 days, which is way more than the 22 the joke mentions. And I have no idea where the joke is getting its numbers at this point.

(Although, just for the coffee break part, 23 days of 0.5-hour coffee breaks means that there is 15 times more work time than coffee break time, and multiplying that out gives 368 days, which means that the boss is giving you a coffee break on your day off. So maybe that's how it's doing it. Terrible rounding, here, too.)

Anyway, taking the math further, 2 sick days, 5 holidays, and 14 vacation days is another subtraction of 21*6.5 hours, which gives 1,696.5 - 136.5 = 1,560 hours or 65 days, and here it's clear the boss is conflating the 6.5-hour work days with actual 24-hour days.
#5
02-17-2012, 11:41 AM
 Toucanna Guest Join Date: May 2011
The first problem I noticed with the math is that the one hour off for lunch should be counted among the 16 hours one isn't working, rather than be deducted from the 8-hour work day. One works 7.5 hours per day (8 hours, less two 15-minute breaks).
#6
02-17-2012, 11:49 AM
 RealityChuck Charter Member Join Date: Apr 1999 Location: Schenectady, NY, USA Posts: 32,948
Quote:
 Since you spend 16 hours each day away from work, you have used up 170 days, leaving only 91 days available.
The most egregious mistake. This counts hours off work as hours at work. If we apply this to a single day, you will spend 16 hours away from work but only 8 hours at work, thus spending -8 hours at work.
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#7
02-17-2012, 11:56 AM
 purplehorseshoe Guest Join Date: Jun 2009
Quote:
 Originally Posted by RealityChuck .. thus spending -8 hours at work.
Sign me up!
#8
02-17-2012, 12:05 PM
 hogarth Guest Join Date: Apr 2009
The error, of course, is in double counting of days/hours.

Here's the Abbott and Costello version:
http://monologues.co.uk/Sketches/Dollar_a_Day.htm
#9
02-17-2012, 12:11 PM
 muttrox Member Join Date: Dec 2000 Posts: 2,021
Hogarths got it. If you are sick and sleeping on a weekend holiday, that is still only 1 day, not 4.
#10
02-17-2012, 04:55 PM
 JBDivmstr Bad example Member Join Date: Jun 1999 Location: Texas... Need I say more? Posts: 1,269
Analyzed or anal-ized?

With all due respect acknowledging the math skills of the Dopers that 'crunched the numbers'.

The missive referred to in the OP was mildly amusing (the key word being 'was')
until y'all analized the bejesus out of it.

Some types of humor require that "logic and intelligent reasoning' be set aside for the moment, IMHO.

<grumble... grumble> Is it really necessary to be so dang pedantic, all of the time?
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#11
02-17-2012, 05:09 PM
 Bosstone Member Join Date: Mar 2001 Location: Phoenix, AZ Posts: 15,368
One, the OP did ask for the flaw in the reasoning.

Two, this is the kind of joke that's really only funny when you understand why it's flawed.
#12
02-17-2012, 06:03 PM
 Sir Rhosis Guest Join Date: Oct 2000
^^^Agreed. I did ask to see it and the flaw. And, honestly, I used "mildly amusing" generously. It really isn't amusing in the least.
#13
02-17-2012, 06:34 PM
 gaffa Guest Join Date: Feb 2008
This reminds me of the old National Lampoon meta-humor column Professor Kennilworth Vivisects The Joke, which featured an academic closely examining a classic joke. Here's a bit of it:

Quote:
 For the unenlightened reader I shall demonstrate.... Q: How do you get (an ethnic person) out of the bathtub? A: Throw in a bar of soap. The dimensions of a bar of non-institutional soap, after computing the size variations between complexion, deodorant, and family-size-deodorant soaps, is 21/2"' X 4 1/2" X 1/4'' taking into consideration two weeks of use accounting for a 21 percent reduction in the bar's volume. Therefore, when this bar of soap is immersed in said bathtub. it could displace matter not exceeding...

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