Why do Americans work for wear and tear and pay for workaholism
Once, my husband and I met in the store his friend, whom he had not seen for about five years. And the first thing that he told him about his life was the number of hours worked last week. We never found out if he got married or maybe bought a house. However, there is nothing much to be surprised at. When this watch is 60, or even 100, there is simply no time left for anything else in life.
On average, according to Gallup, Americans work 47 hours a week. But these are only those who work full time, writes Tatyana Vorozhko for VOA. If we also take into account the working people of the south and seasonal workers, then the average American’s work week lasts 34,4 hours, which is longer than in France or Germany, but gives way to 15 countries, including all the Baltic countries, Greece and Mexico.
One fifth of US residents work 60 or more hours a week
At the same time, 18%, or almost a fifth of US residents, invest in 60 and more than a few hours a week. Who are these people and why do they live like that? Among them are many small business owners, workers in the field of medicine, catering, law and finance. However, “Stakhanovites” can be found everywhere, including the federal government.
The husband of my former neighbor Sharon is a resident doctor. He works 80 hours a week, often around the clock and with one day off. Holidays - 2 weeks of the year and a couple of national holidays. And this is not the limit. The resident position, which roughly corresponds to the Ukrainian resident, is transferred as a "guest". Historically, resident doctors lived directly in the hospital and were available at any time of the day or night.
Another friend of mine, Darina, works as a financial consultant in a large American company. For her, a forty-hour work week is a lull. And when she works on a project, she can devote 90 hours a week to this, including all weekends and a couple of nights.
Sylvia Gyulet and Carolyn Buck Luce have done a lot of research on the so-called "extreme workers." Its results were published in the Harvard Business Review.
“Extreme workers”, by their definition, are those who not only work 60 and more than hours a week, but also do responsible work, earn a lot.
One such Sudgir is working in a large commercial bank in New York. His work week is 120 hours per week. He spends only 48 hours a week on sleep, food and shower. But Sudgira is happy with that. He came from India, and he is 23 of the year. And he earns more than 94% of US residents.
And, as Gewlett and Luce found out, the majority of “extreme workers” (66%) love their work and give it all their thoughts and energy. Even married people and people with children get more positive emotions and inspiration at work, and the family is often seen only on weekends. Few of them feel like a victim, and two-thirds say that conditions, when a lot is required, but also a lot is given, suits their personality type.
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Happy and not too extreme
Moreover, a high salary is not the most important factor in the pleasure of work. For men, he is only in third place. Challenge and adrenaline, as well as ingenious colleagues, they value more. For women, money is at the end of the list. Most of all in such work they are attracted by the fact that you can achieve real changes, influence important processes and be a world-class player.
However, not everyone is delighted. Many of the "extreme people" believe that work harms their health, there is no time for meaningful relationships with children, relationships with spouses deteriorate, even a normal sex life suffers.
Women, who make up 20% of “extreme workers”, are among the least satisfied, mainly because of the negative impact their employment has on children.
The extreme working culture, the researchers conclude, gives an advantage in the short term, but it is expensive in a long time both for the "extremes" themselves and for companies.
According to Harvard studies, between $ 125 and $ 190 000 000 000 are spent annually in the United States on medical expenses associated with the physical and psychological effects of exhaustion due to work stress and burnout.
But at the same time, working hours and workload per employee continue to grow. Even the participants in this study said that 5 years ago did not work so hard. But why is this happening?
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Five reasons for incredible employment
Researchers suggest the following reasons.
Firstly, competitiveness is growing due to mergers and outsourcing. There are fewer positions, competition for the workplace is growing, and each employee has more responsibilities. In addition, health insurance and other benefits in the United States are predominantly provided by the employer, and the law in many cases eliminates the need to pay for overtime work. So, companies are very expensive for every employee. It is better for one to pay a lot than to hire several for a lower salary.
Secondly, the so-called extreme ethics flourishes in the USA. Squeeze the last juices out of yourself, take the risk and show what you really are capable of - all this is constantly promoted in popular culture. Top bankers and top managers compare themselves with participants in the ultra-marathons and Iron Man competitions.
Thirdly, a new level of communication makes employees available at any time of the day or night.
Fourth, professionals of the highest class, as a rule, are surrounded by the same talented employees. Spending time with them becomes more interesting than with childhood friends or even with spouses.
Fifth, globalization is forcing leading companies to be open 24 hours a day. When you have clients in Delhi and in Bogota, it’s hard to stay within the eight-hour day.
Favorite writer Donald Trump - also for "extreme ethics"
I would also add, already in a wider dimension, the Protestant ethic, according to which labor is one of the highest values, as well as the influence of a native of St. Petersburg, and later a resident of the Crimea, Alisa Rosenbaum.
She was born at the beginning of the 20 century, in the 1925 year she left the Soviet Union, where her family lost family pharmacies and almost died of starvation. In the USA, Alice married a Hollywood actor and, under the pseudonym Ain Rand, published several books that preach her philosophical concept of “objectivism” - the opposite of the Bolshevism and collectivism that she hates. Ain Rund’s books made a huge impression on Americans and can be called one of the pillars of conservative ideology in the United States.
I carefully read her book Atlas Shrugged, pages on 800. In my opinion, her philosophy can be maintained until you have a baby or become ill. She was accused of praising selfishness, and her goodies, like herself in real life, had no children and worked very hard. Full dedication to work, in accordance with objectivity, is the main goal and value of human life. And you don’t need to share earnings with anyone.
By the way, according to the Washington Post, Ayn Rand is the favorite writer of Donald Trump, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and several other members of his new administration.
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Not only bankers and lawyers work hard
Not only highly paid professionals work too much. The writer Barbara Ereinreg, as an experiment for a book in her own skin, felt the life of low-skilled workers.
In order to pay a minimum for housing and food, she writes, it is necessary to work two jobs or work overtime on one, and in no case should one be sick, beat cars, give birth to children and get into any trouble.
Today in the United States, the labor market, especially in this category, is definitely changing, which has enormous consequences for both the family and political life of America.
The original column is published on the website. Ukrainian service "Voices of America".
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