The Time Bind by Arlie Hochschild Short Summary

Table of Content

            In today’s modern world time is a precious commodity and it is hard to balance our professional lives and our personal lives. In her book The Time Bind, Arlie Hochschild explores the ways in which work is becoming like home and home is becoming like work. The purpose of this paper is to give a summary of all 16 chapters.

Chapters 1 and 2

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            Many working parents are in a hurry to get to work on time. These busy and professional parents must put their children in daycare and must wave at them through the day care’s front window as they run to their cars to go off to work. Once at work, it is essential to create a company’s culture. According to Hochschild, the company called Amerco firmly believes that you don’t have to leave your values at home. This company also had work environment based on the values of both cooperation and accommodation (1997: 20-21).

Chapters 3 and 4

            Some companies had introduced the concept of flextime which is a work policy that allowed working parents and other workers to come into work early and to leave work late. However, the concept of more family time was just abstract idea. This was because more working parents weren’t taking advantage of flextime. According to Hochschild, this is because people can’t afford to do it. Home and work aren’t as separate from each other as we might think. According to Hochschild, these two supposed separate worlds actually combine frequently. Home flowing into work and work flowing into home is called the time bind.

Chapters 5 and 6

            The executives at Amerco were working long hours and maybe getting ahead in their professional lives a little bit. These executives would work twelve hours a day and also taking work home with them. There was pressure to extend the working day.

            There are moms who stay at home and there are moms who work outside of the home. Therefore, there has been a challenge between the two sets of mothers. This is due to the fact that the moms that stayed at home felt like they were not getting enough personal fulfillments. In addition, mothers who worked outside of the home felt bad that they were neglecting their kids and their husbands.

Chapters 7 and 8

            The idea of bringing photos to work tells the other people at the job that you have a family. In other words, bringing photos into the office tells your work colleagues that you have a life outside of work; according to Hochschild, when working parents are working outside the home feel like their job is a second marriage. Plus, the workers feel that their first marriage was done for love and the second marriage is done for money (1997: 95). In this case, the second marriage is their job.

            It seems as if working parents are rushing through the worlds of work and play. When they were at work they wanted to get home to have a glass of wine with their spouse. In addition, when they were at home they rushed through their leisure activities so that they could answer e-mail.

Chapters 9 and 10

            This book is good in explaining how and when work and home collide and Chapter 9 is a good example of this because it talks about fathers who take paternity leave when their kids are born. However, when the fathers were on paternity they felt like they were in the way because there wives both wanted them home and didn’t want them at home with their babies. In addition, mothers seem to have a problem with their bosses when they ask they ask for time off to be with their kids. Therefore, working moms are once again torn between their personal and professional lives.

Chapters 11 and 12

            The tale of single moms is the story in chapter 11. Single moms are trying to insert a level of independence in their young daughters. These single moms are trying to tell their daughters that it is okay not to be married. In other words, today’s young girls don’t need a man to be successful. In addition, chapter 12 enlightens the reader that it is not easy to balance home and work. This uneasy balance between work and home, according to Hochschild, is called the overextended family (1997: 163). She goes on to claim that the reason that there is the concept of the overextended family is due to the fact that most men will welcome help from others with their chores and problems. On the other hand, most women want to work out their issues and work for themselves (1997: 167).

Chapters 13 and 14

            The questions of how much money is enough and what is the meaning of success to people are the focus of Chapter 13. The answer to the first question seems to be no amount of money is enough and the answer to the second question seems to be success equals earning much money. According to Hochschild, many working parents are self- proclaimed “overtime hounds”. In other words many working parents love to work, despite the fact that Amerco had ways to help working parents spend more time with their kids (1997:190). Moreover, in Chapter 14, there is a discussion about all the programs that Amerco offered its employees so that they could balance their lives better. However, the employees didn’t wish to take any alternatives to full time work. The reason for this, according to Hochschild, is due to the fact that there seems to be devaluation in raising children (1997: 191).

Chapters 15 and 16

            The illustrations of the time bind take center stage in Chapter 15. There are images of Charlie Chaplin depicting the life of the factory worker. Also, there are pictures of quick Quaker Oats, and TV dinners. Plus, there is a cartoon about overworking. Finally, in Chapter 16, it is stressed over and over again that despite the fact that working parents are often pulled between their professional and their personal lives it is critical that working parents take time and make time for both worlds. Also, perhaps it is time for working parents to reassess their priorities.


            In today’s modern world, we all know that time is a precious commodity. This is due to the fact it is very hard to balance both our professional and personal lives. The book called The Time Bind talks about the pull that working parents feel between their personal and their professional lives. The purpose of this paper was to give a summary of all 16 chapters.

Works Cited

Hochschild, A.  (1997). The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work. Metropolitan Books, New York.


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