Say goodbye to the unofficial last weekend of summer, say hello to the longest stretch of the year without a holiday.
Labor day weekend is the last opportunity to have a summer barbeque, take a road trip or to just sit in the sun and do nothing. One lousy day off in the name of the working class is all we get a year.
Now it’s back to work and Americans work more than people from any other industrialized nation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we work an average of nearly 2,000 hours each year; this is at least 100 hours more than our nearest competitors: the Japanese, English, French and Germans.
Many European countries have national laws that require workers who are employed for at least a year to have a long paid vacation. In Spain, Norway, and the Netherlands their government mandates one full month vacation be given to workers. In France and Denmark their vacations are required to last at least five weeks. The U.S. has no law requiring long paid vacations.
So why do Americans have a love affair with labor? Why are we the world’s worst workaholics?
Maybe it is because we are living under the fallacy that the more we work the more productive we will be and the more money we will make. Thus, we should be happier right?
My own experiences prove this wrong. I sometimes wish that during my time at CSU I had not worked so much and spent more time getting involved in more clubs on campus or just hanging out with friends. I worked a lot and had money, but it didn’t necessarily make me happy.
Instead, I’m on my last semester wondering where the time went. I didn’t notice that just being a student is almost like having a full time job in itself.
After all, when you get out of college what are you going to remember more, the time you spent at work or the time you spent getting an education or enjoying life with your friends? I doubt one of your fondest memories will be waiting tables at your nearest restaurant or unlocking the fitting room for fifty pre-pubescent girls at some retail clothing store.
I wonder how a lot of my friends, who insist they love working almost constantly, feel about the decision they have chosen of missing almost everything else life has to offer as a consequence.
At least not everyone in the country is a workaholic. We could all take a hint from our president who is just wrapping up a month-long vacation in Crawford, Texas. Bush has been chillin’ at his ranch all August except for an occasional appearance to call Saddam Hussein an “evil-doer,” lobby for Republican congressional wannabes and look like he was actually trying to do something to rev up an economy that needs a tune up more than Jed Clampett’s jalopy.
Workaholic, corrupt CEOs may still running rampant in our country, but at least we can rest easier knowing the leader of the free world is going to be rested-up when we start dropping bombs in Baghdad.
Take some advice from the president and a stressed, workaholic journalist; life is better when you take some time off once in a while.
Hopefully, you’ll still have earned enough money to retire comfortably when you’re eighty despite all the vacations you took.