By Allison Bell
The organizers of the Tea Party movement, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the revolutions and mass demonstrations in the Middle East, Greece and elsewhere have communicated one common theme: Economic pressure has been making workers throughout the world feel miserable.
The makers of Conan, a cable talk show, recently tapped into that misery by making a mock Apple TV commercial that demonstrates a high-tech approach to bouncing suicidal workers back to work.
That parody was a form of gallows humor. But a beverage maker has a commercial on the same channel encouraging workers to use a drink full of caffein and other chemicals to get through the work day.
A friend, Rachel, spent so many hours on tasks that her managers assured her would take "just 5 minutes" that she looked into a mirror one night as she was still working and saw that her eyes were red as cherries. She'd worked so hard the blood vessels in her eyes had popped.
The same increase in stress is of concern in the individual market as well as the group market. The lawyers and architects who are lucky enough to jobs in their fields face brutal demands. For now, at least, it seems as if most of the savings achieved by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
will be squeezed out of the flesh of physicians.
We seem to be turning working long hours into a talisman. If we just work long enough hours, and make others work long enough hours, sales will increase, profits will go up, and life will be perfect.
Of course, increasing productivity is important, and, to some extent, the increase in pressure now is a reaction to the "hire any live body" days of the 1990s.
Back in the 1990s, employers had to offer money, sushi and foosball just to attract workers who could start a document with and end it with. The pendulum had to swing in the other direction.
But the same disability
insurers that are encouraging people to eat right, exercise and stop smoking would seem to also have a commercial stake in encouraging people to recognize the value of getting some rest.
Employers, employees and self-employed people have to think about the concept of working smarter -- of prioritizing high-value tasks over low-value tasks -- rather than working till blood vessels pop.
Originally published on LifeHealthPro.com