I don’t see any statistics here about the people who work 50+ hours a week because they have to.

When I was 19 years old in 1973, I made 15-cents an hour more than minimum wage. I worked an average of 45 hours a week and leased a house, made a car payment, paid utilities, and purchased gas and food. Never had much extra but I paid my bills. No one can do the same now making an equivalent wage. No one can come close. I also had excellent benefits, including employer-paid health insurance and 10 days vacation a year.

I know people who work two or three jobs just to survive — not thrive, SURVIVE. The assistant manager of a realty office who bartends at night. The cashier at a grocery store who cleans houses on her days off. The Level 2 accounting clerk at a university who cashiers on her days off. The full-time nail tech who cleans vacant apartments in the evenings. These are not people who thrive or are clawing their way up the ladder of success; these are people who are clawing to stay out off the gutter. Most have no benefits, no safety nets if they get sick or injured. Most never take a vacation. Most never take any breaks from their grinding work schedules.

For years, my daughter and two grandchildren lived with me because the courts couldn’t figure out how to make her narcissistic ex pay child support. My daughter worked full time as a cashier and cleaned an office building and a house on weekends but still couldn’t afford a place of her own while raising two children. I provided a home and paid for clothes, school lunches, and after-school for the children. To do that, I worked 50+ hours a week. This isn’t how we wanted to live, it’s how we had to live.

Your “should” number of weekly work hours are impossible for most Americans.

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I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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