It seems that folks are working at their jobs longer and harder all the time. It is not uncommon for families with two parent households to have one of the adults (usually the father) working 80 to 100 hours per week. It is also not uncommon for single heads of households (usually women) to spend most of their waking hours at work. This has happened because somewhere in the last fifteen years or so, it has become the norm and acceptable to work these horrendous hours.
The advantage to working so many hours is the possibility of making a ton of cash and increased class status in your community. The disadvantages are:
- little time to spend with kids and significant other
- sleep deprivation
- increased stress
- increased likely hood of developing health problems
- always feeling a time crunch
- an expectation of satisfaction that is never met (despite a high salary), and a sense that life is passing you by
Now in many instances, parents have no choice but to work an ungodly amount of hours. They are from families who are barey surviving in an expensive area such as the San Francisco Bay Area and need every dollar they make.
But for those who are fortunate to make enough money to have a large amount of discretionary income, I ask you: Is it all worth it? If you look at the quality of your life, are you happy or does something seem to be missing? What price are you paying by having so little time to hang out with you children or your partner? What price are they paying by seeing you so infrequently? How well do you really know your kids and what activities do you share when you do have time to get together? Do you have a connection with your family? Or, in your drive to succeed in the business world, have you lost the concept of what connection means? How do you define success? Is it more important to make millions of dollars or to have a close bond with your children? Is it possible to do both?
Author Bob Livingstone is a psychotherapist from San Mateo, CA.