Skorheim: Ready for the 3-1/2-day work week? No, thanks

Oct 5, 2023, 4:46 PM | Updated: 4:47 pm

3 1/2-day work week...

Customers line up at the cashier area at a Macy's store. (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

(Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, I caught a snippet from an interview that ABC News did with Jamie Dimon, the Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. — it’s boring, but you can see it here — and it really grounded my gears. (Is that a thing? Let’s agree it is.)

The interview discussed the effects of AI on both the business world and its employees. Dimon claimed his company has studied the many benefits AI tech can bring and had some thoughts on what it will mean for the future.

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Dimon said it will have some drawbacks, of course, but mostly made it sound like some sort of utopia where “your children will live to 100 and not have cancer because of technology and literally they’ll probably be working 3 1/2 days a week.”

The part that got my hackles up, specifically,when he started talking about what AI will mean for my kids’ and your kids’ future.

Now, I have no qualms with the cancer part. I’m all for cancer going the way of the buffalo — or polio. I’m happy to have that disease eradicated. The part I think he’s dead wrong about is the benefits of the 3-1/2-day work week. You may think I’m crazy or some sort of glutton for punishment, but stick with me here.

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When I was a kid, I used to watch “Little House on the Prairie” with my mom. Remember that show? You might think it’s silly, but I love it and it still holds up. Anyway, the father on the show, Charles Ingalls (played by Michael Landon), said something that has stuck with me my entire life. I’m paraphrasing, but the gist of it was, “God put sweat in a man’s body so he could work hard and to know that he’s done a good day’s work.”

The value of working hard is something we need as humans. Think of how you feel after you have completed something that is hard. That feeling that only comes after you’ve conquered a difficult task. That feeling is pride. I don’t care what your job is, if you work hard at it, when the work day is done, doesn’t it feel good?

Now let’s imagine this CEO, Jamie Dimon — he’s worth about $2 billion — is right and in the magical future where benevolent machines do the hard stuff, our kids will only have to work for half the week. What will life look like for these super young retirees, or trust fund babies? (That always turns out well.) What are they doing with the rest of their time? Look at all the cities in our country where work is scarce. Specifically, look at what happens to young men when they don’t feel like they have value. Where are they getting the pride and purpose that happily comes with a good day’s work?

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I don’t know, maybe I’m way off (It wouldn’t be the first or last time.), but I don’t want my sons to spend their adult years just hanging out, killing time. That will go south and fast, especially if they’re going to live to 100. No, thanks!

Listen to KIRO Nights weeknights from 7-10 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the KIRO Nights with Jake Skorheim podcast here, on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.

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Skorheim: Ready for the 3-1/2-day work week? No, thanks