The American ethic: work at home and live at work

By: Dina Usanovic

Since I was little, my parents have worked extremely hard. They are the first ones to work and the last ones to leave. As I grew up, I wondered if it was just my parents who were making this sacrifice. I realized it wasn’t just them— this work ethic is found throughout the country. In order to be successful, Americans feel that they have to work twice as hard as their coworkers, leading to many people constantly pushing themselves over their limits.

It has become commonplace for people to keep their work phones with them over the weekend, answering every question and call during what used to be considered family time. As children see their parents working all hours of the night and not taking breaks on weekends, they grow up feeling that they have to do the same. We continue this hard work ethic from generation to generation by children being exposed to these ideas.

While a hard work ethic is most definitely not a bad thing, it is important to remember to take breaks and consider mental health. People are often afraid to take breaks from work out of fear of losing their standing or power. Breaks should be respected, not looked down upon. Needing a break is a sign of a job well done, not weakness.

According to a study by Wallethub in 2020, Cleveland is not a stranger to hard work and high stress. It ranked Cleveland as the most overall stressed city in the nation. Cleveland ranked first in financial stress, fourth in family stress, third in health and safety, and thirty-fifth in workplace stress. 

Clearly, Clevelanders have something to worry about. Stress is the leading cause of many health issues. It is frightening to be a member of such a stress-ridden city. Cleveland also ranked first in divorce rates, second in poverty rates, and twelfth in the percentage of adults with inadequate sleep. With these statistics in mind, it is important to let yourself breathe, give yourself breaks, and check-in with your mental health often. A hard work ethic is a positive attribute, but don’t let it affect your life negatively.

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