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Trends and Challenges for Work in the 21st Century

futurework: Chapter 4 - Box 4.2

B O X 4.2


American workers are increasingly buying time-saving products (dinner from the local deli comes complete with vegetables and disposable utensils) and hiring others to perform household services such as gardening, live-in child care, and housekeeping. Among recent clients at Maria America, a Southern California agency that places housekeepers, nannies, and other domestic help—a plumber, a fast food manager, and a supermarket cashier.

Across income levels and occupations, workers’ reasons for hiring help are the same: they are buying time. Ken Dees, who is a software engineer, and his wife Diane, a hospital executive, employ a nanny and a part-time gardener. Says Mr. Dees, "My grandfather must be turning in his grave that there are people mowing our lawn. We never had help when we were growing up. Up until a few years ago, I mowed my own lawn . . . . But I dreaded racing home from work, scrambling to make dinner for the kids. Our careers have accelerated and this makes life so much easier."

S O U R C E : Adapted from The Wall Street Journal, June 23, 1999

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