Study: Americans Don't Know How to Leave Work at Work


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Sociologists never get tired of showing us how screwed up our priorities are. In the latest “big duh” study of 2010, they went trolling for gainfully employed Americans with dramatic work-life imbalances and, as one might predict, netted a motherload.

Researchers surveyed 1,800 American workers to determine the degree to which work interferes with their family, social or leisure lives.  They found that almost 50 percent of the participants failed to keep work from stomping on other parts of their existence.

The worst offenders: professionals, the wealthy, and the highly educated. Ironically, the people who report the most control over their work schedules, and who have the most money, also report the worst work-life imbalance. Job-related demands contributing to the problem include: interpersonal conflict at work, job insecurity, noxious environments, and high-pressure situations.

A few of the study findings as summarized in LiveScience:

People with college or postgraduate degrees tend to report their work interferes with their personal life more than those with a high school degree.

Professionals tend to report their work interferes with their home life more than all other workers.

Working long hours (50-plus per week) is associated with more work interference at home; and the more control people have over the timing of their work, the more likely they are to find it disrupts home life.

Add a stout dose of recession, and the situation is that much worse. But aside from economic pressures, these findings–surprising though they’re not–point to a chronic situation related to a slew of health problems and social maladies (heart disease, divorce, et al). There’s got to be a better way.


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