The 40-hour workweek has been the American standard since the early 20th century, when Henry Ford discovered the sweet spot for productivity and scheduling. Yet, in recent years, more and more workers are committing to workweeks of 60 hours and above, pushing their minds and bodies to the limits — and incurring dreadful results, like the following 11 difficulties long-hours workers experience on a daily basis.
1. They Are Seriously Scared Of Office Chair Butt
When one spends untold hours parked at one’s desk, one has little opportunity to walk to the water cooler, let alone get the recommended daily dose of exercise! Unfortunately, that over-abundance of sitting can create office chair butt: a flat, saggy posterior that comes from the atrophying of the gluteal muscles. There are a handful of helpful tips to prevent bad cases of chair butt, but long-hours workers still have much to fear for their rear.
2. They Don’t Have Enough Makeup To Cover Their Eye Circles
Long days at work usually mean excruciatingly short nights of sleep, resulting in the dark circles of fatigue under one’s eyes. Despite the plethora of products on the market to cure and cover those under-eye circles, a long-hours worker’s bags are simply too deep to fill. Thus, they not only feel tired all the time — they look it, too.
3. They Look Forward To Their Long Hours Paying Off
There are plenty of people who seem to be made to work long hours — particularly those who aim to move up the corporate ladder. These people will put in the time to go back to school, take on complicated projects, or whatever else it will take to move ahead in a great management career. While life may not be a party right now, working a ridiculous number of hours is simply a stepping stone to the fulfillment they look forward to from their jobs.
4. They Feel Most At Home In The Break Room
The more time one spends at work, the less time there is to be at home. Eventually, the workplace just begins to feel like home — especially the break room, where one can eat, lounge, and sleep without ramifications.
5. They Live Off Vending Machine Goodies And Fast Food
Sure, one could pack an inexpensive, healthy lunch and dinner every day — but that would mean taking time for oneself instead of rushing to and from the office every waking minute. In contrast, food from the vending machine is convenient, which means one can grab a candy bar and immediately get back to work.
6. They Are Incessantly Teased By Co-Workers
Just because one member of the team is an overachieving long-hours worker doesn’t mean everyone in the office stays well past 5 p.m. every evening. Most employees give the bare minimum to their jobs, and like grade-school bullies, they will mercilessly make fun of those who put effort into their work. Unfortunately, co-workers’ laziness and tormenting only forces long-hours workers to work longer and harder.
7. They Have No Time For Romance
Conventionally, romance is about slow charm. Passion grows at its own pace, and it usually takes time for two people to develop feelings of love and commitment. Thus, most long-hours workers can’t tolerate traditional forms of dating and courtship. If one must find a mate, the Web is the best place to look, but more often, it is easier to simply go without.
8. They Never See Their Friends — And Always Feel Guilty About It
Of course, one wants to go see one’s friend on open mic night, and of course, one looks forward to trying that new Lithuanian food place with everyone — if only one could get a few hours away from the work desk. A long-hours worker’s friends are always annoyed by the work responsibilities that keep their friend away, and long-hours workers feel the same, but worse.
9. They Usually Miss Important Family Functions
Most successful people have their families to thank for providing support and stability — especially in the beginning, when long hours kept them away for most of the year. Graduations, anniversaries, and even birthdays are often lower priorities than the project that is due in mere hours. Fortunately, most family members will stick by their hardworking loved ones, no matter how many big events they miss.
10. They Hear Over and Over How Work Will Kill Them
Working long hours is a recipe for a death cocktail. Stress, lack of sleep, eye strain, and sitting for such an extended period of time has been shown to lead to all sorts of physical and mental disorders, from early heart attacks and strokes to dementia. One may be working hard now to enjoy a life of leisure that will never come.
11. They Are Constantly Terrified By News Stories
Every week or so, the media machine produces a new story on someone who has dropped dead from working long hours. The phenomenon is so common in Japan that it has its own name: “karoshi”, or death from overwork. However these poor souls die, we definitely don’t want our beloved long-hours workers to experience the same fate — but how in the world are we supposed to get them to stop working?
Featured photo credit: reynermedia via flickr.com