Judith Shulevitz writes in The Atlantic on how our schedules are getting more hectic than ever before, which usually causes our work or our personal lives to suffer:

America’s relentless work culture is undermining our relationships with friends and family. The old 9-to-51 five-day-a-week grind has been replaced by a combination of punishing and unpredictable hours that is taking a dire toll on our sense of connection and community. Millions of Americans now hold jobs with variable work hours, subject to “on-demand” scheduling driven by employers seeking maximum efficiency. Meanwhile, salaried professionals are working 50, 60, and even 70 hours a week on jobs that bleed into evenings and weekends because of the always-on expectation created by email and Slack. As a result, socializing with other adults or spending time with kids requires extensive planning. Casual, impromptu get-togethers are rare. It all brings to mind Joseph Stalin’s ill-fated attempt to modernize the Soviet Union’s economy in 1929. He cut the week to five days and eliminated weekends, with workers operating on staggered schedules and getting just one day off per week. It was a disaster, and had to be abandoned. Nevertheless, Americans are imposing the same system on themselves, not because a Communist tyrant thinks it’s a good idea, but because the contemporary economy demands it.

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