Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Cubicle Death

Mother Jones editor Clara Jeffery has a nice statistical rundown showing how the Protestant work ethic has gotten out of hand.

Here are some surprising facts:
Weeks of paid vacation legally mandated in Brazil, Sweden, the EU, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Canada, China, and the U.S., respectively: 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 2, 0, 0.
Percentage of people who have passports among Americans, the British, and gay Americans, respectively: 20, 74, 84. (Insert: I'm sure the latter two stats will convince red-state Americans that Brits are indeed a bit light in the loafers. Seriously, who wants to go to France.)
66% of U.S. workers “often” or “always” come to work when sick. Lost productivity from such “presenteeism” is thought to represent as much as 60% of company health care costs.
30% of employees do office work during vacation.
Yet what struck me as unconscionable was the divide between the average length of an ordinary American's vacation and our executive's stays on his Crawford ranch. While the U.S. has no mandatory vacation time, with most receiving two weeks if they're lucky, the President believes he deserves a five week vacation while suicide bombers continue to detonate themselves throughout Iraq. To top it off, President Bush has spent the most time on vacation by far of any President in the last four decades except President Johnson -- who vacationed a whopping 26% of the time. How appropriate considering where we find ourselves now.

Americans work hard to maintain the same living standards they achieved three decades ago, despite productivity gains. Shouldn't our President work just as hard?