Sometimes I wonder about our country’s state of mind and attitude towards work. The US of A is a great country and a free country, but I think we have a really twisted way of looking at work. Sure, the whole “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” idea is fantastic, and there are a lot of people who are living proof that it’s possible. Still, what’s wrong with taking a break every once in awhile?
I say this because it’s December 26th and I’m at work. I was also at work on December 24th. In fact, last week I was pulling 9 hour days, waiting almost 7 hours for my lunch break, and then I worked half a day on Saturday the 22nd too. It totally sucks. I’ve sort of been telling myself, “I’m young. This is the time to work overtime, work holidays, etc. because I don’t have a husband or a family. I’ll take time off when I’m older.” However, I’m not even sure that taking time off work will be acceptable when I’m older.
This year Walmarts and McDonalds encouraged their stores to stay open on Christmas day. The sanctity of holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving as absolutely unquestionable days off for pretty much everyone (unless you work in a hospital, healthcare, emergency response) is gone. When Black Friday now starts at 7pm on Thanksgiving Day, I think it’s time for our country to take a look at our priorities.
I spent 2011 living in Costa Rica, and one of the major things I noticed about that country is how often they stop and celebrate. They have WAY more national holidays than we do, and they really know how to throw a party. There are parades and fireworks and little festivals constantly throughout the year. The week leading up to Easter is called “Semana Santa”, Holy Week, and everyone goes to the beach and parties. Literally, EVERYONE. The public bus system in San Jose, the capital city, didn’t even run that week. Costa Rica is a third world country (even if they’d like to pretend that they aren’t), but there’s a reason they are one of the top 10 countries on the world’s “Happiness Index”. They don’t live to work—they work to live.
I know that, right now, I’m just an entry-level secretary. I’m on the bottom of the totem pole, and I’ve used up pretty much all of my 10 alotted vacation days this year. Working more or less nonstop is the status quo for the working world now. I’m just wondering if it’s a healthy mindset to have.
I’m just feeling really burned out right now.