Are You Stressed Out?
AROUND the world, the conflict between work and family life is a major issue. As one source indicates, ‘globalization, new technology, and a high-pressure, 24/7 economy have blurred the traditional line between home and work.’ These changes have created unprecedented wealth. But this success has come at a price. Says one author: “Millions of us are overworked, overscheduled, overwhelmed. We’re just plain stressed out.”
Now add to this the demoralizing effects of the recent economic recession. Workers worldwide, both white collar and blue collar, have lost their jobs and their homes. They probably wish they could be working hard.
Let us consider the scope of these problems:
▶ Among European workers, 6 out of 10 suffer from work stress.
▶ Among U.S. employees, 1 in 3 feels chronically overworked.
▶ More than 2 of every 3 Canadians find it difficult to balance family life with work.
▶ It is estimated that over 600 million workers, or 22 percent of the global workforce, spend more than 48 hours a week at their job.
These statistics reflect an immense human tragedy. Some studies link long and irregular working hours with bad health, strained relationships, poor parenting, separation, and divorce.
What about you? Are you working too hard? Or are you among the millions who are presently unemployed? Do you yearn for a better balance between work and family life? If so, how can you find it?
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THE “SECOND SHIFT”
“When I come home,” says one woman worker, “I must prepare supper, clean the house, wash clothes, pick up the kids from their daily activities, help with homework, and see that they are bathed and put to bed. By then I’m dead tired.” Millions of the world’s estimated 1.2 billion working women face this daunting “second shift,” as do many men. However, surveys show that men often resist doing domestic work. Women typically bear the brunt of all of this, whether they work outside the home or not.