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Extreme Employees

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Some countries like France and Australia have begun to experiment with giving employees more vacation time. They understand that there must be a balance between work and personal happiness. But the worldwide trend has progressed in the opposite direction. Employees are working longer and longer hours in recent years. The result is a new type of employee, called the "extreme employee."

Researchers examined more than two million surveys of high-salaried employees in the US. They concluded that people need to work long hours if they want to climb the corporate ladder. The extreme employee is unusually dedicated to the company, though. He believes that he could--and should!--always do more. If you count the time it takes to commute to the office, then 70-hour workweeks are common. He is available to clients and office emergencies 24-7, too. He also takes far fewer vacation days than he is allotted, about ten days or less per year.

What is worse, though, is the fact that most extreme employees are dissatisfied. More than half believe they would be physically healthier with less work. A lack of free time also harms the relationship with their children. Slightly less than half complained that the long hours negatively influenced spousal relations.

Experts recommend getting the seventy-hour workweek down to forty-five hours, if possible. Although corporations haven't accomplished this feat for high-impact jobs, some major corporations are trying. American Express, Johnson & Johnson, and more than thirty other companies are working to reduce the pressure on managers to perform and produce.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Rank It!: Which is most important in your life? Rank the items in order. Remember to support your decisions.

  1. children
  2. significant other
  3. work
  4. free time
  5. personal growth and development

Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.

  1. But the worldwide trend has...
  2. Researchers examined more than...
  3. The extreme employee is unusually...
  4. Experts recommend getting the...
  5. Although corporations haven't accomplished this feat for high-impact jobs...

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. How many hours do your work per week? Is this too much, too little, or just right? Why?
  2. How does your job affect your relationship with your significant other and/or children? Please explain.
  3. Would you take a 50% salary cut if it meant working only 25 hours per week?
  4. If parents work more and more, how will this affect future generations of children? Please explain.
  5. Could you do more for your company? Should you do more? Why/not?

Google Search: Type "workaholic" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:

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