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    Ten-day workweek for ophthalmologists

    Carlos Slim is the richest man in Mexico. He became a billionaire in the telecommunications industry. He owns about one fifth of shares of stock in The New York Times. And he has an out-of-the-box idea about how much people should work.

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    Instead of the traditional five days of work per week, interrupted by two days to spend with family and curse at little white balls that won’t go straight on the golf course, Mr. Slim proposes that we switch to working only three days per week.1 In addition, instead of retiring at age 65, we would work at least a decade longer. He believes this system offers many advantages, including:

    1. Decreasing unemployment, especially among young people, by creating new job openings.

    2. Better expertise from the older workers who would not retire at a time when they have a lot of experience and wisdom to benefit their companies.

    3. We workers would no longer become physically worn out and would stay active in the work force throughout most of our ever-increasing life spans.

    4. Helping sectors of the economy with “excess personnel . . . such as government agencies.”

    Related: Why pediatric ophthalmologists don't go to late night parties

    Apparently, this has been done in a few instances, with reportedly good results. In Mr. Slims’ company, he began offering this option to employees in 2014 and 40% of his staff have chosen the three-day option. In Gothenberg, Sweden, a Toyota manufacturing facility made the switch 13 years ago, and we are told the results include “happier staff, a lower turnover rate, and an increase in profits.” Sounds pretty good, no?

    More: 5 reasons why physicians still have the best profession

    I, on the other hand, am not the richest man in my country, my state, my city, or my block. I am not even sure I am the richest man in my household, now that my son has become a man of business. Nonetheless, I feel inspired to offer my own vision for the working future:  the ten-day workweek for ophthalmologists. 

    Dramatic shifts

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

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