Friday, May 12, 2006

Take it Easy

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about what is being called the Slow Down Movement. I probably have some of my facts wrong, as I haven’t done that much research, but it seems like this all started with the Slow Food Movement, which was formed by Carlo Petrini in 1986 in Italy after a McDonald's opened in Rome's famous Piazza di Spagna.

Here’s a very good article from August 2001 that goes into some detail about the organization which, according to the official Slow Food website, “boasts 83,000 members worldwide [in over 100 countries] and offices…in Italy, Germany, Switzerland, the USA, France, Japan and Great Britain.” Their aim is to “protect the pleasures of the table from the homogenization of modern fast food and life. Through a variety of initiatives, it promotes gastronomic culture, develops taste education, conserves agricultural biodiversity and protects traditional foods at risk of extinction.” I can get behind that. But I do love the Crunchwrap Supreme.

The good folks at have put together a great list of resources for those of us in need of inspiration. And yes, they have a blog! If you click on the Slow Animation link it will bring up a cartoon that is right on the money. This leads me to Take Back Your Time, which is a “major U.S./Canadian initiative to challenge the epidemic of overwork, over-scheduling and time famine that now threatens our health, our families and relationships, our communities and our environment."

I can also get behind this, in a big way. As you might recall if you’ve been following along, I am an independent financial consultant with multiple clients, but still manage to work part-time most of the time. I feel that I am able to provide better work product in less time by having the ability to work from home and working flex hours. Does it make sense to leave at 6am to be at work by 8am? No, not in my book. By leaving at 8:30 and arriving at 9:30, I spend less time in the car and have a better attitude when I get there. How many people do you know that never use up all of their vacation hours? You won't find that happening in this house!

I find it hard to argue with their “Time to Care” public policy agenda:

1. Guaranteeing paid leave for all parents for the birth or adoption of a child. Today, only 40% of Americans are able to take advantage of the 12 weeks of unpaid leave provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.

2. Guaranteeing at least one week of paid sick leave for all workers. Many Americans work while sick, lowering productivity and endangering other workers.

3. Guaranteeing at least three weeks of paid annual vacation leave for all workers. Studies show that 28% of all female employees and 37% of women earning less than $40,000 a year receive no paid vacation at all.

4. Placing a limit on the amount of compulsory overtime work that an employer can impose, with our goal being to give employees the right to accept or refuse overtime work.

5. Making Election Day a holiday, with the understanding that Americans need time for civic and political participation.

6. Making it easier for Americans to choose part-time work. Hourly wage parity and protection of promotions and pro-rated benefits for part-time workers.

Here’s an exerpt from MSN of an article in Marie Claire, an interview with “former speedaholic and London-based journalist Carl Honoré" who wrote about the movement in his best seller In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed. He's got some great ideas on how to make time for the really important things.

And finally, just to prove there are asshats out there covering every topic, I give you,the Cult of Speed (which, in all fairness, is pretty damn funny).

I do believe it's time for a cup of tea then a nap.


  1. Yes, yes, yes!!! I fully concur about the Time to Care agenda. I have spent the past three years creating and defending my 24-hour work week at my super huge employer, and it's always an uphill battle. When deadline time looms, it never matters that I'm expected to work 40-80 weeks but exempt from overtime pay to be sure. Ridiculous, I say. I would vote for item 4 and 6 no question!

  2. Well consider my morning derailed. Clicking links. . .

  3. Love the post!!

    My life's secret motto has always been, The meaning of life is to increase one's leisure time.

    Over the years I've strived to work less, and earn enough to live well. I see so many people working 50 and 60 hours a week. Sure they earn more than me, but those hard earned dollars will never buy them the time back that they lost in the office. :-)

    Let's hear it for slowing waaaaay down!

  4. I love a slow dinner and have been to slow eating establishments, it's been a great experience.

  5. I recently got feedback from a couple of people I work with who told me that I was a good role model on lifestyle. That made me really happy. I could still work a lot less, adn have a very long way to go to reach your kind of hours, but I've just got better at setting boundaries in my life. MOving slowly, I'm not so good at.

  6. Hell, yeah! I can get behind that too!

  7. Such interesting stuff, Donna. Much of which I haven't thought of before.

    I wish I could get David's employer to think about it.

  8. I understand now how enlightened UK working practices are in comparison to the US. Those giant corporations need a lot of bang for their buck eh?

    The whole slow food movement really interests me and I try really hard to just buy local produce. It does not work all the time but I do my bit. I also cook a lot from scratch.

  9. This makes so much sense to me. All of the running around, long work hours and limited time with family and friends is so unhealthy. I will have to spend some time looking around this website. I am also in favor of shorter work weeks and/or longer vacations, like in Europe.

  10. I so wish we had more vacation time and family leave like they do in more enlightened countries. I also wish it followed you when you changed jobs. There's something horrible about going back to just a couple of weeks of vacation in a new job.