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Old 10-15-2019, 07:29 AM
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Has our work schedules hurt our ability to make friends?


I was reading an article in The Atlantic (sorry I cant link to it because it requires subscription) but it states that because people jobs schedules nowadays are so erratic, it makes it harder to make friends.

The idea is that years ago when everyone basically worked 9-5 people had their evenings and weekends off so a better chance for say bowling leagues or having people over. But now they say about 1 in 5 people work a non-traditional shift and even more work on-demand jobs (like Uber) so they really have no steady shift so they often dont know when they will be off so hence - they dont make plans.

And when they do they look for people on a similar work schedule - very hard to find.

Then add onto that if you have kids that means going to games and practice is often your only chance to socialize with other adults.

So people have a smaller social circle.

What do you all think? I know my parents did more things with other couples and had time for things like my Dad was on a softball team and did Lions club.
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Old 10-15-2019, 07:53 AM
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From someone who seasonally works weekends, yes it can. At first I thought it would be nice having weekdays off, which it is for some things, short lines and such. However I quickly found out that it really hurts being involved in social events which mainly happen on weekends.
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:31 AM
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I think that even when you work a relatively steady schedule, there are more expectations that you are available for unscheduled overtime or travel, so that you're not often able to stick to a regular schedule like our fathers could.

Plus, if you have kids, there seems to be a lot more stuff scheduled later in the evenings that either wasn't done back when I was in school, was scheduled on a weekend, or in the late afternoon. I mean, we didn't have STEM nights for learning engineering type stuff, we didn't have multiple open house type things, our school carnival was mid-day on a Saturday, and our Cub Scout meetings were in the late afternoon. ALL that crap is now scheduled between 6 and 7:30 after work now.

So the upshot is that if I want to get together with people, I'm having to work around our work schedules, our work travel schedules, and whatever stuff their kids' schools and extracurriculars have scheduled.

On top of that, I think that when everyone worked at the same place for extended periods it was easier as well. I mean, if my Dad wanted to hang out with his buddy from work where they'd worked for 15 years, they just hung out after work close to the office. If I want to hang out with a former co-worker, I have to negotiate some kind of thing to find some kind of four-way mid-point between where he lives and works and where I live and work, and have all that fit into the other time constraints.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:26 AM
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I think it is harder for parents to socialize now than back in the day. In addition to everything that bump mentioned, there is also an expectation that parents not leave their kids without adult supervision. Back in the day, it wasn't scandalous to let the 11-year-old watch the six-year-old for a few hours while their parents hung out with friends. Or maybe Grandma would come over. But now she lives far away. So babysitters have become an expensive necessity in a way they weren't back in the day.

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Old 10-16-2019, 05:07 PM
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I noticed over the years, as our company tried to do more with less, overtime and irregular schedules became normal. When I started at GM, we had golf, bowling, softball leagues. A lot of guys, including myself, carpooled with coworkers. All that went away, nobody had the time or schedule for it.
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Old 10-16-2019, 05:23 PM
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My dad worked shift work in the 60's and 70's. I had scout meetings, baseball practice, etc. in the evenings growing up. We also had a 1 acre garden that had to be tended regularly during the spring and summer. Yet my parents found time to have a social life and had many friends.

So I don't think that those types of things have contributed to a retrenchment of social spheres in this generation over the past few. The things that I see that have changed are the use of social media, plethora of entertainment options, etc. Which I believe result in people reducing their real time social interactions with others.
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Old 10-16-2019, 05:50 PM
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I agree with Omar. When I was in law school I was working 9-5 and attending school 6-9 M-T (and I had about 40 hours of reading to do each week). I'd still go out for "happy hour" with my classmates most nights and hang out with other friends on Fridays and over the weekend, plus spend time with my wife, obviously. I wanted to do stuff, so I made time to do it.
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Old 10-18-2019, 12:45 AM
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I've spent virtually my entire working life on the second shift, with weekends that have hardly ever been the usual configuration. But I don't think it's necessarily hurt my ability to have a social life so much as it underscores the fact that having a social life isn't all that important to me. I've had years to find a job with a more conventional schedule. If I wanted the extra chances to meet people that that would afford me, I would have gotten around to doing something about it by now. But here I am, zigging when the world is zagging like I always do.
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Urbanredneck View Post
I was reading an article in The Atlantic (sorry I cant link to it because it requires subscription) but it states that because people jobs schedules nowadays are so erratic, it makes it harder to make friends.

The idea is that years ago when everyone basically worked 9-5 people had their evenings and weekends off so a better chance for say bowling leagues or having people over. But now they say about 1 in 5 people work a non-traditional shift and even more work on-demand jobs (like Uber) so they really have no steady shift so they often dont know when they will be off so hence - they dont make plans.
I'm curious about whether this bit is true. I've read the replies in this thread, and those make sense to me. I have taken care to try to find jobs that have a good work/life balance, and work more regular hours than most people, and even in those jobs there have been times when I've been asked to stay late or work weekends.

However, I'm curious about the shift to non-traditional shifts or on-demand jobs. I'm sure I'm just revealing my ignorance here, but I imagine most jobs where you're asked to work non-traditional shifts are ones that need to be customer facing, like working in retail, or maybe providing some sort of service like working in a salon. And I would have thought that those sorts of jobs have had non-traditional hours for a while. Am I wrong? Did you used to have to leave your office in the middle of the day if you wanted a haircut?

I am reading "non-traditional shift" and "on-demand jobs" as different from "working extra hours." Am I interpreting it wrong? If not, what jobs require off-set hours, as opposed to (possibly unpaid) overtime that didn't used to require it?
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by The wind of my soul View Post

I am reading "non-traditional shift" and "on-demand jobs" as different from "working extra hours." Am I interpreting it wrong? If not, what jobs require off-set hours, as opposed to (possibly unpaid) overtime that didn't used to require it?
Many manufacturing jobs have shifts, if its a 12 hour shift there will be 2, one in the day and one overnight. If its an 8 hour shift, there will be 3, generally 7-3, 3-11, and 11-7. Shifts not on the day shift are typically referred as a non-traditional shift.
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Old 10-18-2019, 10:48 AM
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Many manufacturing jobs have shifts, if its a 12 hour shift there will be 2, one in the day and one overnight. If its an 8 hour shift, there will be 3, generally 7-3, 3-11, and 11-7. Shifts not on the day shift are typically referred as a non-traditional shift.
And are there more manufacturing jobs today than there used to be? I thought there were less.
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Old 10-18-2019, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by The wind of my soul View Post
I'm curious about whether this bit is true. I've read the replies in this thread, and those make sense to me. I have taken care to try to find jobs that have a good work/life balance, and work more regular hours than most people, and even in those jobs there have been times when I've been asked to stay late or work weekends.

However, I'm curious about the shift to non-traditional shifts or on-demand jobs. I'm sure I'm just revealing my ignorance here, but I imagine most jobs where you're asked to work non-traditional shifts are ones that need to be customer facing, like working in retail, or maybe providing some sort of service like working in a salon. And I would have thought that those sorts of jobs have had non-traditional hours for a while. Am I wrong? Did you used to have to leave your office in the middle of the day if you wanted a haircut?

I am reading "non-traditional shift" and "on-demand jobs" as different from "working extra hours." Am I interpreting it wrong? If not, what jobs require off-set hours, as opposed to (possibly unpaid) overtime that didn't used to require it?
I thought I replied, but apparently I didn't. It has never been the case that
Quote:
everyone basically worked 9-5 people had their evenings and weekends off
It seems to me that people don't notice all the people who are different from them in their world - so they don't notice the bowling alley/restaurant/retail/emergency services ( not just fire/police/hospital, but gas and electric companies etc, too) who are working something other than MF 9-5. After all, if bowling alleys were only open MF 9-5, people wouldn't be able to bowl in the evenings. . And then of course there are warehouse and manufacturing and others who work nights/weekends/holidays.

But there are a couple of other factors that haven't been mentioned- One is that kids activities are given greater importance. There is no way my parents would have decided not to see their friends just because my brother had a baseball game Friday evening - and if they wouldn't schedule around a game, no way they would schedule around a practice.

Another is that for a period of time, a family schedule didn't really have to take the wife/mother's schedule into account. So she could do a lot of the ordinary shopping and errand running which meant a lot of small retail stores closed by 6 on weekdays and opened for a maybe few hours on Saturday. Maybe not a large supermarket , but drug stores, card shops, butchers, the post office, hardware stores, the bank. I still l know places that do this today - but when I say a " few hours on Saturday", I mean a few hours , like 8 am to noon. Getting off work at noon on Saturday does not kill your chances of socializing for the whole day.

Last edited by doreen; 10-18-2019 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:38 AM
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The entire system in the US has changed, as far as I can tell.
More businesses are working with overseas entities and can't shut down at 5pm. Media, and especially news, must have people working 24/7/365.
As has been discussed, manufacturing has always had shifts, but now many have switched to a "temporary worker" model that allows them to move people around frequently. My husband's factory has mandatory overtime on Saturdays, some scheduled months in advance, and some that are announced Thursday evening.
I know people in jobs such as IT who are "on call" all the time.
Then there's retail. Retail sales and cashier are the #1 and #2 most common jobs in the US, respectively. And from my experiences and others I know in the field, those jobs mean you cannot make plans ahead of time and cannot expect to be off to socialize when those outside the field are.
I am in education, and even that is no longer a set schedule. In addition to when school is in session, there's parent nights, PTA meetings, required Professional Learning, and all the work that needs to be done that won't fit into planning periods.

I think when employees became "Human Resources" many businesses decided they were to be used up, and work-life balance means nothing.
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:48 AM
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Modern schedules are pretty hard on parents of school age and younger children. I hear that off hours day care is virtually non-existent, and at school age kids aren't allowed to do anything alone taking more time on top of the extra shopping, doctor's appointments, after school activities. However, it's easy for parents to find friends among other parents, they need each other's help to survive.
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Old 10-21-2019, 12:57 PM
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[...]years ago when everyone basically worked 9-5 people had their evenings and weekends off[....]
I question this premise. When did this ever happen?

We do have different expectations now with the ability to connect to work 24/7 wherever you are, but I think the 9-5 job was a myth except for maybe some service jobs.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:12 PM
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Decline of church attendance is another factor. When I was a girl, we weren't super involved in our church community, but it seemed like the lives of half the people I knew revolved around their church--not just services on Sunday, but Sunday school, and Wednesday nights, and Young Life, and on and on and on. Whatever your schedule, your church provided a set of people you would get to know, and I would imagine closer friendships grew out of them.

There's also the general decline in Big Hobbies--things like golf or boating or bowling. People used to make friends to do these activities with.

Finally, it's also a lot easier to hold on to old friends than it used to be. Free long distance, Facebook, texting, on-line gaming--there's no reason for your friends from high school or college to drift away. This can be pretty cool in a lot of ways, but it means there's less time or need to form new friendships.
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:43 PM
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However, I'm curious about the shift to non-traditional shifts or on-demand jobs. I'm sure I'm just revealing my ignorance here, but I imagine most jobs where you're asked to work non-traditional shifts are ones that need to be customer facing, like working in retail, or maybe providing some sort of service like working in a salon. And I would have thought that those sorts of jobs have had non-traditional hours for a while. Am I wrong? Did you used to have to leave your office in the middle of the day if you wanted a haircut?
The scheduling of customer-facing jobs has gotten less livable in recent years. Scheduling software, rigid business analysis, and a willingness to treat humans like machines have led to "innovations" like zero-hour contracts, in which workers are basically constantly on call, with no minimum number of hours guaranteed. Where a salesperson could at least count on working a few hours in their shift even if they were sent home early for lack of work, now an employee might not know if they're working eight hours or none until they call in the day before. This unpredictability makes it difficult to plan social activities (not to mention childcare, education, or other work opportunities).
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:01 PM
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I question this premise. When did this ever happen?

We do have different expectations now with the ability to connect to work 24/7 wherever you are, but I think the 9-5 job was a myth except for maybe some service jobs.
No, it used to be pretty much the norm in the first few decades after WWII. Lots of businesses weren't even open much beyond those core hours.

Unions were sufficiently prevalent that even non-union employers couldn't treat their employees much worse than a union employer had to, so there was that.

Also, most women weren't in the workforce 50 years ago. The idea, at least among middle-class families, was that the husband would work, and the wife would raise the kids, do the shopping, and all that. Most retail businesses didn't need to be open in the evenings.

Also, blue laws in many states kept most businesses closed on Sundays.

It was a very different world.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:13 PM
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The discrimination against women that kept them out of the workplace did have a positive effect on social life, though. Stuff that people did as couples, the women would coordinate all that. If you wanted to have a dinner party Thursday night and invite the Smiths and the Joneses, the wife would check with the other wives and see if that date worked, and would make sure the house was clean, food and drink purchased, and was ready to go when the evening came around. And with one spouse to handle the domestic end of things, evening and weekend time was far more free to get together with other people than it is now, rather than being filled with errands and household chores and the like.
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Old 10-21-2019, 02:41 PM
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No, it used to be pretty much the norm in the first few decades after WWII. Lots of businesses weren't even open much beyond those core hours.

Unions were sufficiently prevalent that even non-union employers couldn't treat their employees much worse than a union employer had to, so there was that.

Also, most women weren't in the workforce 50 years ago. The idea, at least among middle-class families, was that the husband would work, and the wife would raise the kids, do the shopping, and all that. Most retail businesses didn't need to be open in the evenings.

Also, blue laws in many states kept most businesses closed on Sundays.

It was a very different world.

It was a very different world- but even in that one, plenty of people didn't work M-F, 9-5. I remember when most retail stores didn't stay open in the evenings and most were closed Sundays ( even though there weren't blue laws where I lived ). But most of those retail stores were open Saturdays even in the 70s , and so were gas stations and service stations and restaurants and movie theaters and bowling alleys. And by 40 years ago, lots of retail stores (especially those in malls ) were open until 9pm every night except maybe Sunday, when they closed at 5 or 6. Aside from retail/restaurants/entertainment , you had factories and emergency services and even some jobs that people never think of, like telephone operators and front desk clerks at hotels.

The premise isn't " was it the norm to work 9-5, Mon to Friday" . The premise was "everyone basically worked 9-5 people had their evenings and weekends off". It may have been the norm* , but it wasn't ever close to "everyone" in my lifetime.





* and something close it may still be the norm today if you exclude the types of jobs/businesses I mentioned above and those who work a different schedule by choice. I know plenty of people with office- based, non-customer facing jobs who can work 8-4 or 9-5. The difference may be mostly based on a very different distribution of jobs.

Last edited by doreen; 10-21-2019 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 10-21-2019, 03:12 PM
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So, I’ve spent most of the last seven years working second or third shift and yes, it’s damn hard to meet people except for bartenders or restaurant workers.

I’ve got a subscription to the Atlantic so I’ll check out the article. But, I will say that things in general have changed and not just because of work shifts. A bowling league, even if you’re not really into bowling, sounds a lot more appealing when the alternative is watching some made for TV disease of the week movie on a tube tv. Nowadays with massive flat screens and surround sound and the ability to watch almost anything, it’s easier to stay home.

Also, draconian DUI laws have made the night out socializing not as appealing, especially if you’re in a suburb without good public transit. Swilling pitchers of Bud at the bowling alley vs picking up a 6 pack of craft beer and staying at home are two options and many would go for the latter.
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Old 10-21-2019, 04:20 PM
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So, I’ve spent most of the last seven years working second or third shift and yes, it’s damn hard to meet people except for bartenders or restaurant workers.

I’ve got a subscription to the Atlantic so I’ll check out the article. But, I will say that things in general have changed and not just because of work shifts. A bowling league, even if you’re not really into bowling, sounds a lot more appealing when the alternative is watching some made for TV disease of the week movie on a tube tv. Nowadays with massive flat screens and surround sound and the ability to watch almost anything, it’s easier to stay home.

Also, draconian DUI laws have made the night out socializing not as appealing, especially if you’re in a suburb without good public transit. Swilling pitchers of Bud at the bowling alley vs picking up a 6 pack of craft beer and staying at home are two options and many would go for the latter.
Back in the long-ago day (at least in the South), folks would come home after a long day's work and chill out on their front porch. Friends would stop by and sit on the porch and visit for a spell. And you were kind of forced to sit on the porch because 1) it was hot indoors during the summer and 2) there wasn't much to do inside that you couldn't do on the porch anyway.

With the invention of AC, radio, and TV, people stopped sitting on their porches as much. People likely stopped "dropping by" to visit as much because they too wanted to enjoy their individual forms of entertainment.

I think what we are seeing is a progression of this. I am a homebody who enjoys her solitude, but I have no doubt in my mind that I would be more drawn to people and social activities if I didn't have high-speed internet access and on-demand TV viewing and a climate-controlled living room. I have plenty of leisure time to accommodate a social life. I just don't feel the need to have one because of all the luxuries of modern life I have.

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Old 10-21-2019, 11:40 PM
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No, because I've recently made several friends at work. For context, I am a man in my late 30s with severe social anxiety and I had not previously made a new friend (For me that is someone I keep in touch with and see when I am around, rather than an acquaintance) in over 20 years. I went to 2 huge universities. Graduated from the 2nd one and not a single person spoke to me in 3 years on campus. I've had the same handful of friends since high school. Now I have a few more, only BECAUSE of my work. I don't really know how to make friends otherwise. I'm not picking them up at the grocery store or anything and I don't go to bars (or I do and don't speak to anyone).
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:06 AM
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I question this premise. When did this ever happen?

We do have different expectations now with the ability to connect to work 24/7 wherever you are, but I think the 9-5 job was a myth except for maybe some service jobs.
Well yes and no. Yes people that worked say at hospitals or night cleaning crews worked nights. But banks, doctors and dentists offices, county courthouses, and retail pretty much shut down at 5. Now doctors/dentists have evening and weekend hours. I've seen court houses where one goes before a judge about a traffic fine - open at night. Banks often keep their drive thrus open late. Fast food goes till midnight. Many WalMarts are 24 hours.

Now I've talked to my coworkers who go to bars and they many bars have a late happy hour which starts around midnight for those who work late shifts.
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:15 AM
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Decline of church attendance is another factor. When I was a girl, we weren't super involved in our church community, but it seemed like the lives of half the people I knew revolved around their church--not just services on Sunday, but Sunday school, and Wednesday nights, and Young Life, and on and on and on. Whatever your schedule, your church provided a set of people you would get to know, and I would imagine closer friendships grew out of them.
.
Yeah I remember when sunday and wednesday nights were church related nights and oddly, monday nights were for scouts (boys and girls). Schools would plan around those nights.
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Old 10-22-2019, 08:24 AM
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My work scheduke impacts my ability to make dinner.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:14 AM
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The Atlantic article doesn't really define a "nowadays" to place in comparison with a specific time frame in the past. So it can't cite any evidence that people are socializing "less," because--less than what? At least with regard to schedules, you can't draw any meaningful conclusions when you're taking about so many different kinds of work and social strata. It could be that many people just socialize in very different ways now. (Since when have bowling teams and ice cream socials been the standard for social interactions?)

However, most of what the article actually says is the obvious: as families, people collectively just have to put in more total work hours, which isn't news to anyone. That inevitably cuts into time available for socializing.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:26 AM
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Yeah I remember when sunday and wednesday nights were church related nights and oddly, monday nights were for scouts (boys and girls). Schools would plan around those nights.
That might be regional. Not really a factor where I grew up.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:42 AM
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That might be regional. Not really a factor where I grew up.
Also--for schools to effectively coordinate with religious organizations you are presuming a very small and homogeneous community, or probably are ignoring people who have entirely other ways to socialize without realizing it.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:46 AM
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I think that depends on an individual. If all you do is go to work, stop by stores after work, and go home, then "yes". How could it not? On the other hand, if you make it a point to GO OUT to places and meet people, it won't.
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Old 10-24-2019, 03:35 PM
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I think that depends on an individual. If all you do is go to work, stop by stores after work, and go home, then "yes". How could it not? On the other hand, if you make it a point to GO OUT to places and meet people, it won't.
Well I think the issue is not do you just work alot, but does your work schedule and the schedules of others impair your ability to make and keep relationships.
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Old 10-25-2019, 01:57 PM
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Unless you work in investment banking or consulting or a big law firm, how many people really work crazy hours or travel so much that they don't have time for a social life? Most of the companies I visit as my clients, their employees jet out the door at 5:00 or earlier.






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Originally Posted by RTFirefly View Post
The discrimination against women that kept them out of the workplace did have a positive effect on social life, though. Stuff that people did as couples, the women would coordinate all that. If you wanted to have a dinner party Thursday night and invite the Smiths and the Joneses, the wife would check with the other wives and see if that date worked, and would make sure the house was clean, food and drink purchased, and was ready to go when the evening came around. And with one spouse to handle the domestic end of things, evening and weekend time was far more free to get together with other people than it is now, rather than being filled with errands and household chores and the like.

It's funny, but I'm friends with a couple who are like that. She doesn't work, but always seems to be the one organizing all their parties and social activities.
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