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The Sweet Pursuit

Former Associate editor Margret Aldrich on the hunt for happiness, community, and how humans thrive


You Work Too Hard

Paperwork 

Work finds a way to slip under our front doors and into our personal lives. We check email while making dinner and return phone calls on the weekend; we think about our jobs as we’re falling asleep at night and when we’re washing our hair in the morning. It’s no secret that Americans are overworked. What’s surprising is how overworked we are—and how much corporations benefit from our around-the-clock labor.

According to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, corporate profits are up 22 percent since 2007, report Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery in Mother Jones, even as jobs are cut and American workers put in longer hours for static salaries. What were once manageable 40-hour-a-week appointments have morphed into “superjobs,” overladen with increased tasks when staff is downsized.  

Workers are left scrambling to get everything done at the office and at home, often ignoring spouses, skimping on family time, or avoiding community commitments—shortcomings that may feel like failures. But: “Guess what: It’s not you,” says Mother Jones.

These might seem like personal problems—and certainly, the pharmaceutical industry is happy to perpetuate that notion—but they’re really economic problems. Just counting work that’s on the books (never mind those 11 p.m. emails), Americans now put in an average of 122 more hours per year than Brits, and 378 hours (nearly 10 weeks!) more than Germans.

Take time to check out Mother Jones’ infographic collection “Overworked America: 12 Charts that Will Make Your Blood Boil.” And then, take a look at your calendar…aren’t you due for a day off?

To read more articles on work in America, see our January-February 2011 issue on the topic.  

Source: Mother Jones  

Image by luxomedia, licensed under Creative Commons.