I read with interest Michael T. Snyder's piece a few days ago "Americans are literally being worked to death." Here is a snippet--
"Are you constantly tired and do you feel incredibly stressed almost all the time? Well, that means that there is a really good chance that you are a typical American worker. Even though our incomes are going down, Americans are spending more time at work than ever before. In fact, U.S. workers spend more time at work than anyone else in the world. But it was not always this way. Back in 1970, the average work week for an American worker was about 35 hours. Today, it is up to 46 hours. But there are other major economies around the globe that are doing just fine without burning their workers out. For example, the average American worker spends 378 more hours working per year than the average German worker does."
"Sadly, for many Americans work is not even finished once they leave the office. According to one recent survey, the average American worker spends an extra seven hours per week on work tasks such as checking emails and answering phone calls after normal work hours have finished. Other Americans are juggling two or three jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet. Americans are busier than ever and work is often pushing the other areas of our lives on to the back burner. What this also means is that "family vacations" are becoming increasingly rare in the United States. In fact, Americans spend less days on vacation than anyone else in the industrialized world. While some would applaud our "work ethic", the truth is that the fact that we are being overworked is having some very serious consequences. In fact, as you will see below, Americans are literally being worked to death."
For the first time in a while I'm only working 40 hours per week. It is still stressful though, because of a reduction in our staff numbers. So we were told we have to work smarter and stretch. This means we are all taking on more duties, and working in a more rushed fashion than ever before to complete an ever-growing list of tasks during those 8 hours. Add to that a growing bureaucratic regulations that must be attended to and the list of things to accomplish during the day gets quite long.
Many Americans are working two and three jobs, and still, pay has gone down and our money buys less. The treadmill is outpacing us.
We had some rules though. We understood that with fatigue, comes mistakes. On a sailboat, mistakes could cost us our lives. We respected what our bodies were telling us and we didn't try to stretch things. We never made a passage that took more than 48 hours, knowing that our bodies would not adjust well to a prolonged two-hour on, two hour sleep rotation very well. When we're tired, we can't think as clearly.
Fatigued driving is akin to drunk driving, it affects our brain so much. "The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says over 55,000 accidents happen each year due to fatigued driving, and they say most of those could be prevented just by getting a good night's sleep." (source)
When you're exhausted you cannot think, react, calculate, decide or do many other cognitive functions as well as when you're fresh. Add to the normal exhaustion that most parents feel, an extra job or two and you've got a fatigue permeating society that affects overall performance.
Let's say that you're on the road and you encounter a tired cop, a weary EMT, a fatigued transit conductor, a tired delivery driver, an exhausted bus driver. When people in jobs that affect others are tired, they make mistakes. Their mistakes affect others. They may have a harder time handling tension, stress, anger, or irritations that normally would not affect them.
It is one invisible way that society comes apart: depressed economy leads to overwork leads to fatigue that leads to mistakes that turn violent or deadly. It is one of the threads that stresses a society and overwork and fatigue pulls the thread apart from the seams. We're all feeling that stress and societal disintegration. We can't see fatigue, but we see its effects in reduced productivity and high exhaustion rates. Mistakes soon appear, then more and then even more. A wrongly filled out prescription, stepping on the gas instead of the brake, inattentive crossing guard... Think about it. Think about the number of people you depend on each day to make decisions that directly and indirectly affect you and your family. They may be in fact working three jobs and operating on 3 hours' sleep.
When the Tribulation arrives, people left behind will encounter an already angry, discontent fatigued population ever vying for resources that are becoming scarcer by the day. It will get ugly fast.
I know it is hard now for many of you. But Jesus knows the importance of rest. When He sent the Apostles out on mission, and they returned to report to Jesus of their labors,
"And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves." (Mark 6:31-32).
"Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep." (Psalm 127:1-2)
Our permanent rest is coming soon. Until then, I entreat in as loving a fashion as I can for us all to make wise decisions for yourself and your family that will allow you all some down time, as well as quiet time to worship Him. I hope you all have a good, and restful, weekend.
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