Negative Effects of Over-Dedication to Work

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Constituted as an ideal, favorable way of living, the American Dream is achieved through hard work and dedication. Yet, some take diligence and dedication to hard work to an extreme causing them an unhealthy relationship between themselves and their occupation. As Clausen claims, dedication to one’s work proves disadvantageous and creates conflict with other aspects of life, causing one to devalue the treasures that lie within.

The working lifestyle of Americans has dramatically changed over the years, causing conflict with personal lives. While technology has progressed the lives of Americans taking work that was originally inside the home to outside of the home, industrialization, Americans currently work longer hours than in any other time period in history and they work longer hours than workers in other developed nations. The International Labour Organization stated that Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers and 499 more hours per year than French workers (Miller). As this has proven advantageous for the country seeing that the average productivity per American worker has increased 400% since 1950, this has proven negative for American workers and their families by challenging their work-life balance (Miller). Working longer hours causes Americans to spend less time with their families. Parents who work, generally overwork themselves, spend less time with their children in comparison to previous years: “In 1960, only 20% of mothers worked and currently (as of 2018) 70% of children live in households where all the adults are employed” (Miller). There is nothing wrong with women working outside of the home, it is just that now children have less interaction with their parents, especially their mothers and as society has designed it, children generally spend more time with their mothers. The decrease, or rather, lack of familial interaction opens doors for children to find other ways of interaction and entertainment some of which may be harmful or inappropriate. This search for interaction also decreases the filial bond. As a result of a weakened familial relationship, children will lose not only an appreciation for the idea of family and but also an appreciation for their own personal family. Parents who have now primarily become workaholics will lose an appreciation for their families as well. Therefore, American workers who are parents must now work towards rebuilding the filial bond and familial relationships turning family back into something that should be cherished and loved.

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Other nations, especially those in the industrialized world, have taken the effort to develop legislation that will reduce work hours in an attempt to decrease intrusion on a worker’s personal life. For example, France has mandated that all employers give employees 30 working days of paid vacation and 1 day of paid holiday (Smurthwaite). The United States government has no mandated legislation requiring employers to give employees a specific amount of paid vacation days (Miller). Instead, workers take on heavy workloads because they think that it means that they are dedicated to their work in which they will only be left feeling stressed and overwhelmed. In addition to this, companies demand an extenuating amount labor from employees which doesn’t lessen their burdens. For some employees, especially those who are parents or the main caretaker of family members who require special attention, this culminates their stress making them less productive and leaving them irritable which could be transferred to those around them, damaging their personal relationships. This displays that American workers are well-deserving of a vacation. Yet, American workers don’t ask for vacation (paid or not) or those who are blessed with generous employers don’t utilized their paid vacation because they feel that they have too many assignments/deadlines to complete or that if they do take a vacation then there will be loads of work waiting for them when they return. In a survey conducted in 2017 with 7,331 full-time employees, these employees had 662 million vacation days unused (Smurthwaite). Moreover, when Americans employees do take vacations, they find it hard to disconnect themselves from work, turning a relaxing vacation into a time of answering work-related phone calls and emails and removes vacation from the category of treasures. This transforms their relaxing vacation meant to reduce stress levels into a work environment (work away from work) that increases stress levels, depriving employees the opportunity to enjoy their vacation. In addition, stress weakens the immune system making workers susceptible to illness in which they will eventually fall sick and land in the hospital where they will be forced to a vacation.

Contemporary American society calls for one to work as it has now become man’s natural tendency. By doing so, one obtains and sustains a livelihood and chooses a job that they cherish becoming devoted to the occupation. Yet, the devotion may turn them into a workaholic damaging other aspects of their life. Therefore, dedication to one’s work can be misconstrued into overworking oneself which is detrimental to themselves, their families, and eventually their community and limits them from happily experiencing the joys of life.

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Negative Effects of Over-Dedication to Work. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 19, 2024, from
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