Here’s an inescapable fact — every day is special in America, and we mean that literally.
For example, this is National Employee Appreciation Day, but it’s also national Dadgum That’s Good Day, Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, Horse Protection Day, Fruit Compote Day and eight other special days. And those were just the ones we could find.
For today, let’s focus on National Employee Appreciation Day. It’s just easier this way.
But not for American workers, who are among the most job-addicted people on the planet.
The personal website WalletHub recently surveyed the nation to determine which cities have the hardest-working Americans. A total of 116 cities were studied for things such as overall employment rate, to hours worked, and the percentage of people holding down multiple jobs.
Here’s the spoiler alert — only one California city, San Francisco, made the top-20 list, but it was in a solid second place behind Anchorage. That makes sense, given that the sun makes only a brief appearance during winter months in Alaska, so local residents have only two options — watch TV or work, and we all know you can watch only so much TV.
Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, has the lowest share of households in which no adult works, at 12.4 percent, compared to Detroit, which has the highest unemployed households at nearly 43 percent.
If you want to spend a lot of time commuting to work, New York City is the place for you. The average commute time in and around Gotham City is just more than 40 minutes per trip. If commuting is not your thing, Cheyenne, Wyoming, is the place for you. But even in the high plains, work travel time is 14 minutes per trip. The WalletHub researchers apparently have never studied workers in the Los Angeles area. Our advice, get some reading material.
Baltimore has the most willing volunteers, while Jacksonville has the least willing to work for free. Des Moines has the lowest percentage of idle youth, while Bakersfield has the highest percentage of young slackers.
Americans are, in a general sense, a very hard-working bunch, averaging nearly 1,800 hours a year on the job, which is 70 hours more than in Japan, 266 more than the United Kingdom, and 424 more than German workers.
Hard work is what made, and continues to make America great, but it may not be the best paradigm for those who put in the long hours.
Increased working hours can cause less sleep, the effects of which include fatigue, increased anxiety and weight gain. Higher stress levels come with long working hours, and stress can lead to heart conditions, mental health disorders, high blood pressure and more.
Working more than 40 hours a week is associated with increased alcohol and tobacco consumption, unhealthy weight gain in men and depression in women. Experts also say very little productive work is done after 50 hours per week. Americans who work 60 hours per week have a 23 percent higher injury rate.
Once you work beyond that 60-hour threshold you face increased risk of heart disease by 42 percent. Working 71-80 hours increased it by 63 percent.
These habits have provided America with the most powerhouse economy on Earth, but the long, sometimes-hard hours take a heavy toll on our lives.
All of which makes one wonder what the real purpose and meaning of life is, and perhaps question the wisdom of working ourselves into an early grave. Subjects for another day.
For today, thank goodness it’s Friday.