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The Stress of Work-Life Imbalance

There's no doubt about it, Americans work hard—or at least they work a lot. An extensive study from 2010 explored the impact of our work habits on family life in exhaustive detail. The study reported, "Americans consider a 40-hour work week as 'part time' in most professional jobs and as a sign of a stagnant career." The report continued:

Work-family conflict is much higher in the United States than elsewhere in the developed world. One reason is that Americans work longer hours than workers in most other developed countries, including Japan, where there is a word, karoshi, for "death by overwork." The typical American middle-income family put in an average of 11 more hours a week in 2006 than it did in 1979.

As you might expect, work-life imbalance creates a lot of stress for many U.S. families. In 2008, 42 percent of employees reported experiencing "some" or "a lot" of interference between work and family. Moreover, in recent years:

  • 73 percent of mothers and 41 percent of fathers complain that they are multitasking "most of the time."
  • 69 percent of mothers and 68 percent of fathers say they have "too little time" with their spouse.
  • 53 percent of mothers and 37 percent of fathers report "always feeling rushed."

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