Work today: longer hours + more time with kids = burn-out

Update: Wanna be less busy? There’s still time!

No “Skype Walk-in” this Thursday or Saturday, but there are still openings for the upcoming “Skype Workshop.”

Would another day work for “Skype Walk-in”? Let me know!

Sighting yesterday: Black woman walking in Central Park. Pink cell phone under bra. On top of left breast.

Symptom of busyness. Sign of vanity.

In her essay entitled “Family” (1996) from her collection The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought, the writer Marilynne Robinson observes,

An employed American today works substantially longer hours than he or she did twenty-five years ago [around 1970], when only one adult in an average household was employed and many more households had two adults. The recent absence of parents from the home has first of all to do with how much time people spend at work. Some of them are ambitious businesspeople or professionals, but many more patch together a living out of two or three part-time jobs, or work overtime as an employer’s hedge against new hiring. Statistically the long hours simply indicate an unfavorable change in the circumstances of those who work. If an average household today produces more than twice as much labor in hours as an average household did twenty-five years ago, and receives only a fraction more in real income, then obviously the value of labor has fallen–even while the productivity of labor in the same period has risen sharply. So, male and female, we sell ourselves cheap, with the result that work can demand always more of our time, and our families can claim always less of it. (91-2)

What was true in 1996 is even more so in 2011. And yet, what Robinson could not have foreseen was the paradoxical result that parents today are spending more time, not less, with their children. According to a USC study reported on in The New York Times, over the period from 1965 to 2007, “the amount of child care time spent by parents at all income levels–and especially those with a college education–has risen ‘dramatically’ since the mid-1990s.”

So many demands, so little time, not much relief. Hence, professionals are in a “time-crunch”: too busy, quite often depressed, and self-reportedly burnt-out. Can we blame them?

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