Once, my husband and I met in the store his friend, whom he had not seen for five years. And the first thing that he told him about his life is the number of hours worked that week, writes Voice of America journalist Tatyana Vorozhko.
We never found out whether he married or maybe bought a house. However, there is nothing to be surprised at. When these hours 60, and even all 100 – on anything else in the life of time simply does not remain.
On average, according to Gallup, Americans work 47 hours a week. But these are only those who work full-time. If you take into account also those working half a day and seasonal workers, then the working week of the average American lasts 34.4 hours, which is more than in France or Germany, but inferior to 15 countries, including all the Baltic countries, Greece and Mexico.
A fifth of US residents work 60 or more hours per week
At the same time, 18%, or almost a fifth of US residents, invest 60 hours or more per week. Who are these people and why are they doing this? Among them there are quite a few small business owners, workers in medicine, public catering, law and finance. However, “Stakhanovites” can be found everywhere, including with the federal government.
The husband of my former neighbor Sharon is a resident doctor. It works 80 hours a week, 24 hours a day and one weekend. Vacation – 2 weeks a year and a couple of nationwide holidays. And this is not the limit. The title “resident”, which roughly corresponds to the Ukrainian resident, means, “lodger”. Historically, resident doctors lived directly in the hospital and were available at any time of the day or night.
Another friend of mine, Daria, 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 the project, she can work 90 hours a week, includes all weekends and a couple of all-weather.
Researchers Sylvia Gewlet and Carolyn Buck Luce conducted a large study of the so-called “extreme workers”, the results of which were shared on the pages of the Harvard Business Review.
They defined “Extreme workers” as those who not only work 60 hours or more per week, but also perform responsible work and earn a lot.
One of them, Sudgir, works in a large commercial bank in New York. Time is 120 hours a week. For sleep, food and shower, he can afford to spend only 48 hours a week. But it suits him. Sugir is an immigrant from India, who is only 23 years old. And he earns more than 94% of US residents.
And, as Gyulet and Luce found out, most extreme workers (66%) love their work, devoting all their thoughts and strength to it. Even those who are married and have children receive more positive emotions and inspiration at work, and families often see only on weekends. Few of them feel like a victim and two-thirds say that such conditions, when much is required of you, but is also given a lot, suits their personality type.
Happy and not very “extreme”
And the high salary is not the most important factor of job satisfaction. For men, he is only in third place. The call and adrenaline, as well as ingenious colleagues, they appreciate more. And for women – money and quite at the end of the list. Most of all in such work they are attracted by the fact that it is possible to achieve real changes, influence important processes and be a world-class player.
However, not everyone is delighted. Many of the “extremals” believe that this harms their health, does not leave time for meaningful relationships with children, spoils relations with their spouses and does not even allow them to have a normal sexual life.
Women who make up 20% of “extreme” workers are among the least satisfied, mainly through the negative consequences that their employment affects children.
Extreme working culture, make the conclusion of the researcher, gives an advantage in the short term, but it is expensive for a long time, both the “extremals” and companies.
But at the same time, the hours of work and the workload per worker continue to grow. Even the participants in this study said that 5 years ago they had not worked so hard. But why does this happen?
Five reasons for incredible employment
The researchers offer the following reasons.
First, because of the merger of companies and outsourcing competition is growing. The positions are getting smaller, competition for each workplace is growing, and each employee has more responsibilities. In addition, medical insurance and other benefits in the US are mostly provided by the employer, and the law in many cases allows not to pay for overtime. So companies are very expensive for each employee – it is better to pay one a lot than to hire a few for a lower salary.
Secondly, the so-called extreme ethics thrives in the United States. Squeeze out the latest juices, take risks and show what you really are capable of – all this is constantly being propagated in a popular culture. Top-bankers and top-managers compare themselves with participants of ultra-marathons and “Iron Man” competitions.
Thirdly, – a new level of communication makes employees available at any time of the day or night.
Fourthly, professionals of the highest class, as a rule, are surrounded by the same talented employees. To spend time with them becomes more interesting than with friends of childhood or even with spouses.
Fifth, globalization forces leading campaigns to be open 24 hours a day. When you have clients in Delhi and Bogota, it’s difficult to stay within the 8-hour day.
Favorite writer Donald Trump is also for “extreme ethics.” & Nbsp; I would add, in a broader dimension, the Protestant ethic, according to which work is one of the highest values , And also – the influence of a native of Petersburg, and later – the inhabitants of the Crimea Alisa Rosenbaum.
Born in the early 20th century, she was able to leave the Soviet Union in 1925, where her family lost their relatives’ pharmacies and almost died of hunger. In the US, she married a Hollywood actor and, under the pseudonym Ayn Rand, published several books that preach her philosophical concept of “objectivism” – the opposite of her hated Bolshevism and collectivism. Her books have made a huge impression on the Americans and it can be called one of the pillars of conservative ideology in the United States.
I diligently read her book “Atlas straightened her shoulders”, pages for 800. In my opinion, its philosophy can be maintained until you give birth to a child not getting sick. She was accused of praising selfishness, and her positive heroes, like herself in real life, had no children and worked very hard. Complete dedication to work, in accordance with objectivity, is the main goal and value of human life. And you do not need to share your earnings with anyone.
By the way, according to the Washington Post, Ayn Rand is the favorite writer of Donald Trump, Rex Tillerson and several other members of his new Administration.
Many work not only bankers and lawyers. But many work not only as highly paid professionals. Writer Barbara Ereinreg, as an experiment for a book in her own skin, experienced the lives of workers in low-skilled labor. In order to pay a minimum for housing and food, she writes, it is necessary to work on two jobs or overtime on one and in no case be sick, break down cars, give birth to children and get into any trouble. Today the US labor market, in the first place, this category does not change significantly, which has huge consequences for the family and political life of the United States.