A Day in the Life of a Common Office Worker 美国上班族的一天生活

住在美国德克萨斯州达拉斯市的几百万居民中,差不多有20万是在市中心附近上班的。对一个普通的在市中心工作的白领来说,他们的工作日从很早就开始了。绝大部分的人并不住在市中心,而是住在离市中心有一段距离的郊区。(其实,郊区就是与达拉斯市相连的一些小城镇。比如我家就离开达拉斯市中心约有34公里的距离。)

住在我们这个社区的上班族在早晨7:30的时候就得离开家,才能在九点钟的时候坐在他的办公桌上。我知道一些当管理的白领,在早晨六点的时候就离开了家,七点钟就到办公室了。问题是绝大部分上班族差不多都是在同一个时候离开家,于是高速公路上的交通就变得很拥挤。在早晨和旁晚上下班的时候,交通堵塞也常常发生。一般的上班族通常都在8:309:00之间要到办公室报到,而下班的时间也基本都在下午5:006:00之间。通常午餐的休息时间是在中午的一个小时。每个办公室的上下班时间根据不同的的公司也会有些差异。在德克萨斯州,法律没有规定工人的休息时间,工人休息的时间完全是公司给工人的福利。但是通常的习惯是上午有15分钟的休息,中午至少有30分钟的午餐休息时间,下午还要15分钟的工作中的休息时间。当然,这都是因公司不同而有所变动的,工人们都非常有智慧地会在接受这份工作的时候就与公司协商好有关休息的规定。

通常上班族,无论男女,都是自己开车上下班,单程大约需要45分钟。近来,达拉斯正在改进她的公共交通设施 电动火车和公共汽车。尽管如此,大部分人还是宁可自己驾车。他们提前在办公室为开始工作做好准备,大多数的经理和主管不希望有人在到了正式上班的时间还没有把准备工作都做好。在规定的时间,人们就按时下班,然后自己驾车约45分钟以后到家,那时差不多已经是旁晚了。绝大部分的办公室的办公日期是从礼拜一到礼拜五,而周末礼拜六和礼拜天是不上班的。在达拉斯的上班族的平均工资约是16.50美金一小时,每个礼拜工作40小时。(对一个单身贵族,这个薪水是可以凑合了,但是要负担整个家庭的话,就比较紧了。)所有的白领都必须在上班的时候使用电脑,而且要懂得使用一些电脑软件。微软公司开发的办公软件套裝是最常用的软件,很多公司都要求白领都必须会熟练使用。

因为整天工作,所以当旁晚他们到家的时候都已经很累了。他们期待着周末可以与家人和朋友做一些有趣的事情。这么些年了,在美国语言中出现了这样一句话,“我仅仅是为了周末才工作的。”还有一个就是缩写“T.G.I.F.”,意思就是“感谢上帝,终于是礼拜五了!”


讨论问题:

1.      美国的上班族的平均每礼拜做多少时间的工作?中国上班族的平均每礼拜做多少时间的工作呢?

2.      在中国,人们是否对周末和节假日有些有趣的说法?

3.      通常人们要花多少时间在上下班的路上?

4.      在中国工作,人们是否需要提早到达工作岗位?

5.      在中国,工人在一天的工作中是否有规定休息的时候?


Of the several million residents in the
Dallas, Texas area nearly 200,000 work near the downtown area. For the typical office worker who works in the downtown area, their day begins quite early. Most workers do not live in the downtown area but live out from the city in suburbs. (Suburbs are smaller cities and towns that connect to the larger Dallas city area. For example, my home is about 34 kilometers from downtown Dallas.)

A worker who lives in my community would need to leave their home around
7:30 am to arrive and be at their desk by 9:00 am. Several of the office managers that I know leave their homes at 6:00 am to arrive at work by 7:00 am. Unfortunately, because the majority of people leave their homes at the same time the traffic on the highway system is very congested. There are often traffic jams each morning and each evening. The typical office worker will clock in around 8:30 or 9:00 am and clock out at 5:00 pm or 6:00 pm. They will often take a 1 hour break for lunch around noon time. Each office is different, as is each company, so times fluctuate depending on the company. In Texas there are no laws that mandate breaks for workers. These are simply benefits given to a worker by the company for which he works. However, tradition is that a worker is allowed a 15 minute break in the morning, at least a 30 minute break for lunch, and a 15 minute break in the middle part of the afternoon. Again, this all depends on the company and a worker is wise to negotiate these things at the beginning of their employment.

The typical office worker will drive his or her car from home to work which takes about 45 minutes.
Dallas is improving its public trains and buses, but most people still prefer to drive themselves. They arrive at their office and are ready to work by their start time. Many managers will frown upon workers which are not at their desks before time to start. The worker will clock out at the appropriate time and take the same 45 minute drive home in the evening. Most offices are open Monday through Friday and are closed on Saturday and Sunday, the weekend. The average office worker in Dallas makes $16.50 per hour and will work 40 hours per week. (A single person may be able to survive on this salary, but for a family it would be quite difficult.) Most office personnel must be able to work with computers and operate a variety of software applications. Microsoft Office software is the most common and is often required by companies.

Due to the long days that most workers have to work they are very tired upon arriving home in the evening. They look forward to the weekend where they can have some fun and do things with family and friends. Through the years this has given rise to some popular phrases in American culture: “I’m just working for the weekend.” And (T.G.I.F.) which means “Thank, God, it’s Friday.”


DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1. What is the average work week for American office workers? What is the average working week for Chinese office workers?

2. Are there any popular phrases about the weekend or days off in China?

3. How long is the average commute for workers from their home to their job?

4. Are workers in China expected to arrive early at their stations or offices?

5. Do workers in China receive breaks from work during the day?

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