WHY SHOULD YOU CARE? Are you, or your friends or relatives, working more now but enjoying it less? Does your family’s schedule feel like a road race? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans are overworked, over-scheduled and just plain stressed out.
- We’re putting in longer hours on the job now than we did in the 1950s, despite promises of a coming age of leisure before the year 2000.
- In fact, we’re working more than medieval peasants did, and more than the citizens of any other industrial country.
- Mandatory overtime is at near record levels, in spite of a recession.
- On average, we work nearly nine full weeks (350 hours) LONGER per year than our peers in Western Europe do.
- Working Americans average a little over two weeks of vacation per year, while Europeans average five to six weeks. Many of us (including 37% of women earning less than $40,000 per year) get no paid vacation at all.
Contemporary Americans complain of unprecedented levels of busyness in everyday life. They worry about frenetic schedules, hurried children, couples with no time together, families who rarely eat meals together, and an onslaught of “hidden work” from proliferating emails, junk mail, and telemarketing calls. The Girl Scouts recently introduced a “Stress Free” merit badge for today’s harried young girls.