Tuesday, May 11, 2010

It's My Company's Fault I Left The Toilet Seat Up

Today i read an article on CNN.com titled "Working overtime may harm the heart, study says".

The author, Sarah Klein, starts off by trying to reel the reader in by offering up the article as proof you can use at work to get out of working extra hours. The following paragraph, however, starts off

"It's not clear why this is, but researchers suggest"

This post isn't to single out or bash on Sarah, but if there isn't any "clear cause" to tie this case study to truth, then how can you suggest that it's "literally true"? The fact that they have no proof, means that it's not true.

Anybody with have a brain would side with the "suggestions" of the researchers, unless they were one of the people "affected" by this. The wording of the article leads people to believe that the direct effect of the working extra hours is for a person to have heart problems, but this simply is not true. Wording the article the way she did allows people to cop out of taking responsibility for their actions and blame their health problems on an entity that has money, their place of employment.

With our country becoming sue-happy, and the government continuing to overstep the boundaries of free market, it won't be long before someone sues for overtime based on health reasons.

In reality, the researchers are right. It causes people to "have less free time to unwind and take care of" themselves. Very valid assumption. It makes sense that if people have less time outside of work, they'll resort to fast food instead of a home-cooked meal. They'll skip exercising because they're too exhausted from work.

Now there are plenty of people who work overtime constantly, nurturing their business to fruition and whatnot, but who don't have the same risks of heart problems or disease that those who were involved in the case study have.

Why? It's simple. They take responsibility for themselves.

It's not an easy task to be responsible for yourself (and for others, for you parents) after having to deal with your job responsibilities. But if articles like this give someone an easy way out, someone to blame it on, you're only aiding their self-neglect. You go find someone who is in their 80s and ask them their story. Have them tell you about their work life growing up. I'm guessing you'll find they were just as overworked as many of us are. The work isn't the problem, the people are!

That being said, the comments on the article were no better off as far as grouping and generalizations go. Much of the bantering back and forth portrayed people in 3 groups:

  • Those who don't work (In the comments referred to as lazy, or as overweight and having heart issues from lack of excercise)
  • Those who work their normal schedule and are not at risk.
  • Those who work overtime and are at risk for heart problems and diseases.

I however see 3 groups in addition that need to be give thought:

  • Those who don't work and who are responsible for their health and exercise and eat properly
  • Those who work normal schedules, but are still at risk because they don't take care of themselves
  • Those who work overtime, but make time to take care of themselves

Responsibility needs to be kept on the individuals themselves. Yes there are a few exceptions to the rule, but case studies like this allow people to put the responsibility of their health on the shoulders of someone else.

Only you can control your health. Only you can control your emotions. Only you can control your actions. If you have a habit of working overtime, either because it's expected or you're an overachiever, but can't find the discipline to also keep a healthy diet or actively exercise...then you should find another job that won't allow overtime!

Personally, I work overtime all the time. But i'm a software developer and i love my job. I also am disciplined enough to keep up regular exercise and eat healthy. However, i do have a few people who i know care about my wellbeing and when i'm struggling with the working too much myself, i ask for loving reminders to leave work!

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