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Sept. 2-8, 2004


September 2, 2004

Wedded to work For an increasing number of Americans, life on the job is the only life they have. BY KIMIKO L. MARTINEZ Sometimes you just have to do what it takes. Whether your job calls for it, your employer expects it or you just need to pay the bills, working seemingly endless hours is just a way of life, right? Doesn't everybody check their e-mail and voicemail on their days off? Or work two jobs to make ends meet?

State planner: Catherine Turissini, special assistant for policy and planning for Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis, puts in about 40 to 60 hours each week -- still fewer than she did during

Unfortunately, for too many Americans, that seems to be the case.

college. -- Tom Klubens / For INtake

Putting in more than 40 hours a week is commonplace for many Americans. According to a 2000 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, about 4 in 10 men employed as managers or professionals in 1999 found themselves working at least 49 hours per week; that's up from about 3 in 10 in the early '80s. For women, that rate

know it, you're married to your job.

OVERACHIEVERS Benjamin Klage is no stranger to extended workweeks.

Where are they now? INDY FACES

A helping hoof

Ask yourself these questions. If


you find yourself answering affirmative to many of them, • Do you take work with you to

responsibilities due to job responsibilities. And before you


Art in a can

two decades has remained steady for both.

habit of bringing work home and even neglecting other

Wedded to work


consider talking to a counselor.

promotion or nail that presentation can turn into an unhealthy



is about half the men's, but the slow increase over the past

What starts out as taking on extra responsibilities to get that


bed? On weekends? On vacation? • Is work the activity you like to do best and talk about most? • Do you work more than 40 hours per week? • Do you turn your hobbies into money-making ventures?

Tastes like Indiana WORK LIFE

Slacker! HOW TO

Spoonful of sugar SHOPPING SPREE

Personal postage TREND SETTER

Sweet vendors LIVE MUSIC

Top 10 live FREE SPEECH

Road expansion takes a toll

• Have your family or friends


The 31-year-old puts in more than 75 hours each week

given up expecting you on time?

between two full-time jobs, spending 40 hours per week as a

• Do you take on extra work

Email this

sales associate at Wal-Mart and another 37 hours at Verizon's

because you are concerned that

Print this

online DSL technical support call center.

it won't otherwise get done?

"I have no social life," Klage said. "And the down time I do have is spent catching up on sleep or trying to get overtime at one job or the other."

• Do you underestimate how long a project will take and then rush to complete it?

STORY TEXT Font: Verdana Size: 11

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Catherine Turissini was in a similar situation several years ago. One summer during college, Turissini, now 27, was juggling an unpaid summer internship, a part-time job at a children's bookstore and a third job waitressing.

• Do you believe that it is OK to work long hours if you love what you are doing? • Do you get impatient with

"It was 75 hours a week, and when I got back to school my

people who have other priorities

senior year I was exhausted, but it was easy," Turissini said.

besides work?

"It was a vacation to go back to school."

Source: Workaholics Anonymous

Like many post-grads, though, the hectic schedule continued as she began a career. Turissini worked weekends and

Tips for getting it all done

several weeknight shifts at Kids Ink Children's Bookstore after

• Commit to leave your desk at

her day job at the Historic Landmark Foundation of Indiana.

an exact time.

Like Klage, Turissini was simply doing what she had to do to make sure the bills got paid.

• Learn to say no. If you take on too much, you're practically guaranteed to be working extra

But even now that the bills are less of a worry, Turissini can


put in anywhere from 40 to 60 hours each week at the office,

• Don't bring work home with

traveling and coordinating work-related projects as a special assistant for policy and planning for Lt. Gov. Kathy Davis. She spends several more hours each month volunteering for Davis and Gov. Joe Kernan's re-election campaigns. If that weren't enough, Turissini still hasn't given up the job at Kids Ink,

you. • Develop other areas of your life to become more balanced. • Look at the origin to excel and

though she's cut her hours to just a couple of shifts each

understand how childhood issues


contribute to it.

"My second job doesn't contribute to me financially what it does personally," Turissini said. "It's something I believe in. I

• Ask for support from supervisors and / or spouses.

get to work with children, an amazing staff and literature, which I really enjoy. So right now, I'm not doing it to pay my bills." Klage, on the other hand, doesn't have much choice.

CELEBRATE: LABOR DAY PARADE • What: Ceremony to honor the

He wakes up at 6 a.m., eats a granola bar on the way to

American worker.

work, puts in a nine-hour shift stocking and zoning the

• When: Sept. 4, parade begins

stationery department at Wal-Mart, then heads straight over

at 11 a.m.

to Verizon and spends another seven {1frac2} hours

• Where: Downtown

providing technical support to DSL customers. Around


midnight, he hops back into his 2001 Honda Civic, rolls back in the door about a quarter after, sleeps four or five hours and starts the whole routine over again the next day. "It's more exhausting than anything else," Klage said. But things aren't likely to change soon. A divorce settlement, student loans, car payment and other living expenses dictate that Klage continue the cycle. And it could be more than another year before he sees any relief. "I would like to have a dating life of some sort," Klage said. "I miss having a girlfriend or wife to come home to." On the flip side, Turissini's hectic schedule makes it hard to find time to spend with her boyfriend of three years. "My boyfriend travels for a living," Turissini said. "And if he's gone for seven weeks on and off, comes home for a weekend, and I work that weekend (at the bookstore) -- he finds it hard to see why I'm doing it at all." Turissini is quick to point out that she doesn't consider herself "married to the job." Though she might take work home with her and log extra hours when needed, she says there are days when she actually leaves work on time. And volunteering time for the campaigns and working for Kids Ink

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are both activities she willingly devotes free time to.

THE AMERCAN WAY American society preaches that hard work will get you anywhere, so working 50- and 60- plus hours per week practically earns an employee a merit badge these days. It's all just part of achieving that American Dream. "Steeped within the American tradition is productivity," said psychologist Paul Riley, of the St. Vincent Stress Center. "We learn that you can succeed anywhere." The Japanese even have a word for it -- karoshi, which means working yourself to death. Karoshi received national attention during the economic boom of the 1980s, and since then, more than 30,000 Japanese have been diagnosed as victims. A national pension system was even set up for the surviving members of karoshi victims' families. The United States isn't likely to follow suit. Hard work, no matter what the cost, is a driving force of our capitalist society. Lawmakers don't even require vacation time for American workers, making the United States the only developed country that doesn't actually mandate it. "America is set up the wrong way," Riley said. "Wouldn't it be nice if everything shut down in August, like in France, and they have a good holiday and take to the woods and so forth? It's not easy to change that mentality. But truly creative and productive people need time off." China and India mandate three vacation weeks annually and most countries in the European Union require a minimum of four weeks each year. Even Japan, which has long been known for its workaholic society, calls for two weeks of vacation. But even if lawmakers instituted a minimum vacation time for Americans, it's questionable whether most would take it. Earlier this summer, online travel company reported that more than 30 percent of Americans aren't taking all their allotted vacation time, and 14 percent aren't taking any vacation time at all. "Americans don't do leisure," Riley said. "We work at leisure. And when you're trying to find leisure, it isn't leisure anymore." While countries like Spain have an afternoon siesta built into their day and Aussies have been known to work a four-and-a-half-day workweek -- taking Fridays off and returning to work around noon on Monday, Americans are hard-pressed to find leisure time. "Europeans have a different view on all of this," Riley said, "that hard work, within the time frame, is good. But outside that time frame, it's very harmful."

RISKY BUSINESS All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy, but even worse, it can make Jack really, really sick. "I am normally a healthy person," Klage said, "but have been getting sick more doing this. It is kind of depressing." Study after study has shown that the human immunity levels go down when stressed, leading to an increased risk of getting sick. Besides stress-induced conditions like heart attacks, anxiety, depression and exhaustion, Riley said that alcoholism and drug abuse are common side effects of workaholism, as well as overspending. Shopping sprees and things that give the overworked or overstressed individual an instant high are rationalized with the "I've worked hard and I deserve it" mentality. And if that weren't enough, weight gain and self-esteem issues can spiral out of control as well. "So often we're so tired that we plop in front of our TV for two hours and eat fast food because

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we're too tired to do anything else," Riley said. "And then, self-esteem goes down, because now I'm fat and unhealthy." And productivity goes down too, as exhaustion and stress take their toll. Businesses know that decreased productivity means lost money, which is why some are offering bonuses to employees for using all of their vacation time and discouraging overtime hours. Eli Lilly spokeswoman Joan Todd says the company has a "use it or lose it" policy that requires that employees take their vacation time each year lest it goes to waste. Employees can buy more vacation time, she said, but Lilly won't buy back vacation time. Still, many companies offer perks and incentives for putting in overtime. "I'm working overtime, but it's part of the business I'm in," said Melissa Hoch, a 25-year-old office manager for a retail store. "I don't take work home with me, but a lot of people get burned out doing what we do." Hoch said her hard work, which can equal more than 50 hours per week during busy seasons, has helped her save for the future, and that without any other responsibilities, there's really no reason not to put in the hours. "If I thought I had responsibilities that I was neglecting or if I didn't like what I was doing, I might consider (cutting back)," she said. "But right now, I don't have any reason not to." She adds, "I've been pretty fortunate, right out of school, to be able to get into management pretty quickly. I have an office and a lot of people our age aren't in management, so in that sense, I've been fortunate to have that experience." Like Hoch, Turissini feels lucky to be in the position she's in. "It's an amazing experience for someone my age," she said. "I wouldn't do it if I didn't completely believe in the person I was doing it for, and believe in what she can do for Indiana." Though many 20- and 30-somethings say they work the extra hours because they like what they do or that it simply comes with the job, many say they keep it in perspective, balancing work with other activities like exercising, pursuing hobbies or hanging out with friends and family. Turissini said that when she's tried to juggle too much in the past, her boyfriend or family members have called her on it. "It's in my nature, and after so many years, you start to see there's a line you need to draw," Turissini said. "I didn't see it, but my family and my friends saw it." When she finally did cut back, she said she realized that "it made me happier and gave me more time."

DRAWING THE LINE Overwork is common in America, but real workaholism is a true addiction. And with most addictions, denial is the first step to battling it. "We justify it, thinking no one can do it like I can, or only I can do it," Riley said. "But when you die of a heart attack, they'll hire two or three people to replace you." Workaholics Anonymous suggests common indicators that you're a workaholic are taking work home with you or on vacations, working more than 40 hours per week, neglecting personal relationships because of work, or defining yourself in terms of what you do. Carol Juergensen Sheets, a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist at Indianapolis Psychiatric Associates, said workaholics can also be the type that "can't turn their thoughts off as they leave for the day," or have no outside life. "They will eat, live and breath work," she said, "which leaves them no time to explore other areas

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of their lives." Often workaholics will avoid social activities because of an uneasiness in social situations or intimate relationships, or because he or she lacks social skills, Sheets said. Twelve-step programs and counseling can help workaholics deal with overachievement issues or prioritize to find more life balance. But for many, Sheets said there is simply no way to structure a day to get everything done, because people with workaholic tendencies end up taking on more than eight hours will allow. "The only way to structure your days to facilitate this is to work hours where you're going to get less interruptions and get more things done," she said. For those with on-demand-type positions -- those who work under deadlines or have unpredictable work schedules that shift with need, like doctors, journalists and social workers -- it's a bit tougher. "You have to breathe and balance your life with slowing down in other areas, saying no and being more assertive," Sheets said. "And not being so connected identity-wise to doing as much as you do." Work hard and play hard, she said, but make sure one side doesn't overshadow the other. "I'm not opposed to hard work," Riley said. "But it should be time limited."Are You a Workaholic? Tips for getting it all done Celebrate: Labor Day Parade

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