Have you noticed I post much less than I used to? It's true. I'm running around like mad. I once thought that as my career matured, I'd have time to do the things I gave up as I crawled up the tenure track, that I'd be able to paint again, or take piano lessons again, to work on my photography, or really develop my writing. Fat chance. I'm running faster and faster. And I'm not alone:
From The New Republic:
Today, whether you’re male or female, if you’re taking home an upper-middle-class salary you’re expected to work an average of 50 hours, and probably more, a lot of it after you’ve gone home. ...Try to imagine what that 100-hour workweek looked like to a child: that’s five 10-hour days, plus commutes, for both parents. And those are just averages—for people at the top of their fields, the numbers were a great deal bigger.
That the workweek is ballooning for America’s educated, salaried classes, even as it’s shrinking for less educated, hourly workers, or turning into part-time work, has been called the “time divide”....
Confirming the sense that those at the top of the heap are feeling the pinch of our increasingly competitive world are studies reporting that they’re more stressed out than they used to be. They juggle more tasks more quickly and with more interruptions, do more work after hours at home to get it all done, and take more out-of-town trips.This relentless demand for more and more work is a major reason that bright, talented women "step off" the ladder of professional achievement to stay at home or choose other alternatives. Such as step has become deeply counter-cultural.
To reject a high-flying career... is not to reject aspiration; it is to refuse to succumb to a kind of madness. Professional accomplishment shouldn’t and doesn’t have to look like this. ...Other countries have laws that protect against overwork even for professionals, such as standard or maximum number of hours anyone can work in a week.Now if you'll excuse me, I've got three meetings and a grant to write.
And then there’s the way we talk about the problem, which makes it hard to see that the culture of overwork hurts everyone, not just those who can’t hack it.