Living to Work

May 14, 2009

This past weekend one of my husband’s co-workers passed away.  He was in his 50’s, in seemingly good health and fit.  It made me think of all the professionals I know that spend 10 or more hours a day, not including their commute, in the prime of their lives (their 30’s) and the youth of their children’s lives, at an office away from their families.  Many miss important milestones hoping that some day, all their hard work will pay off and some day they will have time to relax, travel and experience fun.  Some day typically means retirement.

I have to ask…… why?  At the end of the day, the golden years often aren’t very golden.   In fact, if we are lucky enough to make it to retirement, not having been stopped by the two biggest killers in the US  heart disease or cancer, we will likely not have the energy or the money to just do what we want.    Why wait until our kids have kids to enjoy spending time with a child? 

I say work less now, pare down expenses to live on less, take time out for our children now while they are young and developing, take time to travel now while you can enjoy the experience without fear of health issues and fixed incomes weighing on your minds. 

I hate to break the bad news but you can’t bank time and experiences to be saved up and used when you are ready for them.  You either live now….or you don’t.

Time Deficit

January 20, 2007

Did you know that Americans work, on average, 350 hours longer annually than their European counterparts?   Did you know that the United States one of the only countries in the industrialized world that does not have mandatory annual leave requirements and encourage workers to not take vacations?   Did you know that European countries have annually 5 weeks leave, Canada and Japan each have 2 weeks leave mandated by the government? (Information provide by Take Back Your Time at http://www.timeday.org).

What do the other countries know that we do not?  They know that a rested worker is a productive worker.  They know that to keep an employee they have to value employees and that includes employees’ time away from the job.

People complain daily that their lives are too busy to exercise, to eat right or to just hang out with their families.  Families feel pressure more than ever before, with kids having unprecedented stress levels.  Convenience foods loaded with fats, chemicals and toxins are chosen over healthy whole foods that take longer to prepare because families and parents just do not have time to prepare wholesome quality meals.  Our waist lines are growing along with our dependence on caffeine and mood stabilizing drugs such as antidepressants. Work hours are increasing while Americans are reporting unprecedented levels of dissatisfaction with their lives. 

 

 

Why are we working so hard? The American Dream?  What is that anyway?   Is it the latest game console or the latest $40,000 vehicle?    Does it mean having to park your expensive vehicles in the driveway because your garage is packed with stuff acquired and discarded?  Does any of that stuff make you feel more or less satisfied? 

 

 

The meaning of life – is to live it – unknown.