40 Hours A Week


I’m sure you have read the joke sheets that break down a whole year, minus holidays, vacations, sick time and all the activities of others that leave you as the only one working and why you are so darn tired.  For the sake of a snicker or two (if I’m lucky) I thought I would try to break down a typical 40-hour work week for a hypothetical training manager.

When you think about 40-hours in a week to get work done, it sounds like a heck of a lot of time.  If you were a consultant charging even $100 an hour, that is $4000 for a week’s work.  Since our training manager is salary it is a lot less money, but still it is cash in exchange for 40-hours of work, correct?

Let’s assume our training manager begins work at 8:00am.  Well they arrive at 8:00am, put away the stuff they brought into work like a coat, briefcase, lunch in the refrigerator and maybe they have turned on the computer.  While the computer is booting up, and email is loading, a break for a first cup of coffee seems in order.  By 9:00am they are reading email, forwarding jokes to friends and catching up on the news at their favorite online news source.  After reading the email that has been sent this morning from others, and planning out their day, it is around 10:00am.

So from 8:00am to 10:00am each day the stage is being set.  That is 2 hours a day, and now we are down to 30 work hours left in the week.

After email, a restroom break and a stroll around the office to talk with staff (no doubt valuable coaching time) the first meeting of the day begins at 10:30 with a department head.  The meeting should have been 30-minutes, but didn’t start on time and ran over so it is now 12:00 and time for lunch.  Normally a 1-hour event, you stop for a quick look at email, and by the time you leave and return it is now 1:30pm.  Wow, what a productive morning!  Yet, another 2.5 hours has slipped by (not counting the lunch hour), and assuming a similar schedule each day, we are now down to 17.5 work hours left in the week.

From 1:30pm until 2:00pm we find our training manager listening to voice messages, reading email but rushed for time to return a single phone call or reply to a single email.  In fact the time is so limited they are unable to fit in a single delete of a junk or spam email to clear out the inbox.  My, my, another 2.5 hours gone for the week, and only 15 work hours left.

If there was a training event going on, the afternoon would be a good time to visit a classroom and observe a trainer’s facilitation.  If the training manager was actively working a training plan, they could be reviewing progress and looking for ways to remove barriers so the staff could get their work done.  Yet there is no training plan, and the staff seems to be busy doing something so we stay disconnected and look for busy work.

These last 3 hours a day, or 15 hours out of the week could be productive, but instead they are consumed with internet surfing for training products that have not even been identified as performance solutions.  Often they attend online free webinars for product demonstrations and to keep current with trends.  Yet these events often lead to more emails and phone messages from pesky sales people who stupidly thought they wanted to know more about the product or service.  Silly people, this was just a convenient way to kill time in the afternoons.

By 4:30 each day it is time to run to the restroom again, sign off the computer and gather personal items for the trip home.  Oh my, they forgot to wash their coffee cup out.  They will now “have to stay late again to finish up work.”

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