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The American worker, surveys clearly show, is becoming overwhelmed, over-tired, and fed up. Access rates for outpatient mental health services rise steadily each year. Family disruptions include increased estrangement, divorce, emotional child neglect, and domestic violence. Health problems multiply, fueled by fatigue, stress, and a lack of time for self-care. In vaunted new technical world, where leisure time was to be expanded to historic proportions, we are working longer, harder, and more diligently than ever.
Where can we look for answers?
We can look at ourselves, identify our priorities, and learn to spend our time on what is important to us and let rest go. More critically, we can speak up to make sure that social legislation and tax code create similar priorities: to reward those companies who staff adequately and flexibly and provide benefits and resources to their employees. At same time, we need to negatively impact companies who pursue such activities as job outsourcing, retiering of job titles to avoid overtime costs, dependence on temporary (usually none-benefited) labor, and quiet acceptance of third world manufacturing of their products under sordid conditions, use of child labor, and payment of slave wages.
CEO salaries are running more than 130 times median worker salary. Viewing ethical and procedural problems of major corporate figures, now mired in legal system, Americans must start to ask whether equality and opportunity for all is still a viable creed.
Virginia Bola is a licensed clinical psychologist with deep interests in Social Psychology and politics. She has performed therapeutic services for more than 20 years and has studied the results of cultural forces and employment on the individual.She is the author of an interactive workbook, The Wolf at the Door: An Unemployment Survival Manual, and a monthly ezine, The worker's Edge. She can be reached at http://www.virginiabola.com