A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 18, 2011
“Entrepreneurs work only half-days—12 hours”

Entrepreneurs of small businesses often work very long hours. The old joke is that they work only half-days—twelve hours. (The joke being that half of a 24-hour day is twelve hours, but one expected to hear half of an eight-hour work day, or four hours.)

Kemmons Wilson (1913-2003), the founder of the Holiday Inn hotel chain, used the joke in interviews from at least 1981.


Wikipedia: Kemmons Wilson
Charles Kemmons Wilson (January 5, 1913 – February 12, 2003) was the founder of the Holiday Inn chain of hotels.

Google Books
The Miracle of Motivation:
The action guide to happiness & success

By George Shinn
Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers
1981
Pg. 229:
During a television interview, I asked Kemmons Wilson, founder of Holiday Inns, if there was a key to his company’s success. He replied: “I believe, to be successful, that you have to work at least a half a day— it doesn’t make any difference which half, the first twelve hours or the last twelve hours.”

Google NewsArchive
29 May 1981, Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review, pg. 2, col. 3:
“Work only half a day. It can be either the first 12 hours or the last 12.”
(Advice from Holiday Inns founder Kemmons Wilson—ed.)

Google Books
The Reader’s Digest
Volume 120
1982
Pg. ?:
“The key to the whole thing,” he said, “is to work only half-days. ‘ My mouth dropped. Could it be so simple? “The real beauty of the system,” he continued, “is that it doesn’t even matter which twelve hours you work.”

Google Books
Nothing But Winners:
Over 6,000 one-liners, alphabetized and categorized for easy reference

By Pat Williams and Ken Hussar
Wilmington, DE: TriMark Pub. Co.
1984
Pg. ?:
A super salesman remarked, “When times get tough, I only work half days. And you know, it never seems to matter which twelve hours I work.”

Google Books
An Enemy Called Average
By John L. Mason
Tulsa, OK: Harrison House
1990
Pg. 56:
The founder of Holiday Inns, Kemmons Wilson, when asked how he became successful, replied, “I really don’t know why I’m here. I never got a degree, and I’veonly worked half days my entire life. I guess my advice is to do the same, work half days every day. And it doesn’t matter which half. The first twelve hours or the second twelve hours.”

16 January 1992, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “The Sounds of Stylus For Fountain Valley man who collects old phonographs” by Jim Washburn, pt. E, pg. 1:
In his upstairs office is a placard reading, “The advantage of owning your own business is you only work half-days and it doesn’t matter which 12 hours.”

Google News Archive
7 February 1994, Owosso (MI) Argus-Press. “Too busy for politics?” by Jack Faris, pg. 4, col. 2:
Some say that small-business owners have the tendency to only work half days, more or less. Growing up in my father’s service station, I remember hearing him say, “Son, I just work half days. Twelve hours a day should be enough time for a person to get the job done.”

New York (NY) Times
EARNING IT; Should I Have Left An Hour Earlier?
By JUDITH H. DOBRZYNSKI
Published: June 18, 1995
(...)
Scott A. Smith described the evenings and weekends he worked as a salesman for the New York Life Insurance Company a few years back and complained, “If you don’t put in those hours you’ll get eaten alive.” Now with a Denver financial planning firm, he feels guilty if he leaves at 6 P.M. “We joke around here that we work half days—12 hours,” said Mr. Smith, 36, who is raising two small children with his wife, a magazine executive.

New York (NY) Post
Pecora takes helm of ‘sleeping giant’ Fordham
By BRIAN LEWIS
Last Updated: 2:13 PM, March 26, 2010
Posted: 3:11 AM, March 26, 2010
Fordham started the city’s biggest reclamation by landing the area’s winningest coach. The struggling Rams pried highly-touted Tom Pecora away from Hofstra and charged him with returning them to what school president Joseph McShane, S.J., called their “frightening glory” of a generation ago.

“My father used to say work half-days—12 hours—and you’ll always be successful. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Peoria (IL) JournalStar
Eric P. Bloom: The work/life balance.
By Eric P. Bloom
GateHouse News Service
Posted Sep 09, 2011 @ 07:00 AM
(...)
Regarding you, there is an old joke that CEOs and entrepreneurs often say, “I only work half days, my issue is which 12 hours it is.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • (0) Comments • Sunday, September 18, 2011 • Permalink