TIME Careers

Science Says Working Long Hours Is Seriously Bad for Your Health

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altrendo images—Getty Images/Altrendo

It's linked to stroke and coronary heart disease

Seriously: stop working so much, for your health’s sake.

A new study of 600,000 individuals in Australia, the United States, and Europe published in the Lancet, a United Kingdom-based medical journal, found that people who more more than 55 hours per week or more have a 33% greater risk of stroke and a 13% greater risk of coronary heart disease.

The study concludes that “more attention should be paid to the management of vascular risk factors in individuals who work long hours.”

The study is the largest so far to examine the relationship between working hours and cardiovascular health and is especially noteworthy because it points to stroke as a risk of working long hours. Earlier studies have linked heart attacks to excessive work.

There are critics of the study, though. Stephen Kopecky, a professor of medicine in the division of cardiology at the Mayo Clinic, told The New York Times, that the analysis did not fully account for the effects of cholesterol, family history, and blood pressure in all cases, so it is possible that long hours are not the only cause of the increased health risks.

TIME Business

A Brief History of Summer Vacation

Bailey's Beach. ca. 1940, Newport, Rhode Island, USA, Bailey's Beach, Newport, R.I.
Universal Images Group / Getty Images ca. 1940, Newport, R.I., postcard

Time off in the hot season is a relatively new invention

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

There was no such thing as summer 200 years ago. Of course there were the months—June, July, and August—but they merely indicated a hot season of the calendar year. The summer we know and love—the one that features vacations to the beach, 4th of July weekends that turn into 4th of July weeks, and the all but recent invention of casual Fridays or even summer Fridays—is a democratization of leisure that grew out of capitalist forces in the 20th century.

The first vestiges of summer began in the decades before the American Civil War when only the wealthiest class of antebellum elites vacationed in resort towns like Newport, Rhode Island and Saratoga, New York.

By 1869 the New York Times noticed a growing sentiment among working professionals in its description of the “sadly overdriven” businessman: “From one year’s end to another he lives, for the most part, in a breathless hurry…If any folk in the wide world have need of a summer refreshment, it is we.” Nineteenth century print culture in conjunction with a rising tourist industry prompted many to perceive summer as “a season of rest—rest from all care.” Periodical articles and tourist guides promoted an enticing escape to summer resorts such as Martha’s Vineyard, “a maritime Eden where one may shut out the whole world and be content.”

Summer was no longer just a hot time of year for Americans to endure, but instead an opportunity for rest, relaxation, and recreation that they could enjoy. In August of 1891, social scientist Edward Hungerford investigated the cultural gravitation toward recreation and leisure, seeking answers as to why Americans felt a need to take time off work for summer rest: “The magnitude of such a movement as this justifies the assumption that the social influence exerted by it are worthy of serious consideration.”

By the turn of the 20th century, summertime became further embedded in American popular culture as advertisers, musicians, and authors used the season as a way of telling stories, often with themes of nostalgia and romance. Summer inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald as the perfect setting to embellish the mysterious decadence of the parties in The Great Gatsby. In the advertising industry, Kodak attracted customers with a campaign that solidified their cameras as essential tools for telling “the story of a Summer vacation.”

While Gatsby and Kodak certainly reflected the lavish and extreme versions of summer, the rise of unionization combined with overcrowded cities led urban planners to begin developing leisure activities for the working class. Atlantic City became a day of respite for Philadelphia workers and their families, who spent a day on the Jersey shore and its newly constructed boardwalks before returning home sticky and sandy on the train for the city of brotherly love. Meanwhile, in New York City, Coney Island and Jones Beach became popular spots for workers in the city, who benefited from changes won by labor unions for “8 hours for work, 8 hours for sleep, 8 hours for what we will.”

Yet even when summer trips to the beach began making waves through American culture, many working-class black people traveled to the nation’s growing beach resorts as employees rather than as guests. The Chicago Defender, a leading African-American newspaper, reported the number of black men and women traveling as wait-staff, cooks, and hotel butlers and porters. Clifford Miller’s summers were neither enjoyable nor relaxing. Miller endured long hours and low pay waiting tables at a popular resort on the New Jersey coast during the first decades of the 1900s. He recalled the crammed living quarters, insufficient food, and prohibitions from enjoying hotel beaches during the day. “Every third day I worked, as a rule, from six in the morning until eleven o’clock at night, often later,” he remembered. “During the day I seldom had any time for my own. I wonder if the colored waiters will ever have only eight hours of work every day.”

Although the middle classes of the 20th century enjoyed the previously aristocratic privilege of escaping to a refreshing summer haven, their vacations created work, often low-paid and seasonal, for others. This history reveals summer to be more than just a few hot months of the calendar year, but a cultural phenomenon that sticks with us today through the interplay of capitalism and leisure.

Jackson Murphy is a graduate of the Class of 2014 at Connecticut College. This piece grew out of his year-long research for his honors thesis titled “A Cultural History of the American Summer.”

MONEY work

Why You Should Ignore Career Advice to “Do What You Love”

cover of "Do What You Love" book

Is "doing what you love" a trap?

Miya Tokumitsu is a contributing editor at the self-described “radical” magazine Jacobin, a PhD in art history, and the author of the new book, Do What You Love and Other Lies About Success and Happiness, which came out today. In it, Tokumitsu examines the ubiquitous career advice that we should pursue our passions, criticizing it as a luxury of the privileged—and a destructive idea. Tokumitsu spoke to MONEY by phone about the trap of contemporary Do-What-You-Love (DWYL) culture.

“Do what you love” isn’t the only piece of career advice out there. Why does it deserve its own book?

Particularly in American contexts, DWYL really hits all of the sweet spots of various connected cultural values. There’s a deeply entrenched sense of a work ethic—the idea that your work and your attitude towards it are expressions of your morality and character. And then there’s a newer belief that comes out of what Tom Wolfe called the “Me Decade,” which is the belief that your individual sense of self is extremely important.

“DWYL” fuses those two deeply held cultural values in a way that’s very appealing. This book is really the result of hearing and seeing these tropes of precious, lovable work over the years—from Steve Jobs’ graduation speech at Stanford and Oprah’s self-love culture to mantras on Pinterest and Instagram—and recognizing that they had rubbed me slightly the wrong way.

What bothered you about them?

For people who actually embrace the idea of DWYL, it really opens them up to exploitation and redefines the terms of negotiation between a worker and an employee. The work becomes something done not for wages, but for pleasure and moral self-improvement. Once that narrative takes hold, it becomes really hard to move the conversation back to the nuts and bolts discussion of wages and benefits. That whole discussion becomes crass.

What if we take DWYL out of an exploitative context? The U.S. is built on myths—what’s so bad about one that helps people find meaning in the sometimes mundane day-to-day?

I think work as hope and love can exist. A basic example would be within a monastic community, where there seems to be a ritualistic and spiritual aspect to even mundane tasks. But when you have DWYL as a cultural value within a fundamentally competitive context like the capitalist free market, personally, I think there’s no way that it can’t eventually become exploitative. The labor marketplace is eventually going to absorb DWYL values to its own ends.

There’s an undercurrent of hope in the book. What are you pushing for?

The potential that I want to open up is, let’s just take this whole DWYL framework and chuck it out the window. Let’s think about what work in our world actually needs to be done. There’s a belief that the market is an objective sorting device for what’s important and what’s not. Actually, a lot of the work that is the ground zero of maintaining society is done for free and by women. It’s the least valued monetarily and socially. Values are actually being completely turned upside down by the market.

So what do you suggest readers actually do about that?

I would like workers to really ask themselves: How is this job contributing to how I care for myself and for the people that I care about? There’s this sense that you have to take each and every work opportunity without really thinking about what good it’s doing you. I also think it’s extremely important to join your union or workers’ organizations. Some unions are better than others, and if you find that your union isn’t one of the better ones, it’s really worth the effort to try to change that from within to the extent that you can.

So the advice of your book is not necessarily that you shouldn’t “do what you love.” It’s that readers shouldn’t feel obliged to love everything they do simply because there’s cultural pressure.

It can be a bit of both. With unpaid interns in the U.S., I’ve pointed out that they’re often not protected against discrimination and sexual harassment. I had a conversation recently with a young artist who was asking, “Should I get an internship or work at Starbucks?” That’s a decision everyone has to make for him or herself. But what you get out of Starbucks is a paycheck and that it’s illegal for your manager to sexually harass you. That’s not nothing—there’s a reason people fought really hard for that.

Also, I would like readers just to be aware that when you are working, you are a worker—that’s not something shameful. Knowing it will help you protect your actual interests. And if you’re out of the DWYL framework, a bad day or a horrible mundane task, even at a job that you really love, is going to be way less devastating. It’s easier to shrug off a bad day at work than to have it turn into, “Maybe I’m doing the wrong thing with my life. Is this what I’m meant to do?” DWYL can really lead to all sorts of unnecessary mental anguish.

MONEY women

Getting Mad at Work Can Cost Women $15,000 in Annual Pay

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ONOKY - Eric Audras—Getty Images/Brand X

Angry men lose only half that amount in perceived worth.

Being overly aggressive or negative at work is never a good idea. But a new study finds that certain displays of assertiveness are perceived as especially unacceptable for women.

If a woman comes across as angry or critical, she is rated as 35% less competent and worthy of $15,088 less in pay than a woman who doesn’t rock the boat. Similar behavior by men costs them only about half as much in perceived fair compensation.

Corporate training company VitalSmarts surveyed more than 11,000 people in June to reach its results, which included this silver lining: Sometimes acknowledging sexism can reduce its effects.

When a woman prefaces a harsh comment with a “framing” phrase, like “I know it’s a risk for a woman to speak this assertively, but I’m going to express my opinion very directly,” backlash can be reduced by as much as 27%.

While discussing gender bias so openly might not feel comfortable in every workplace, more neutral statements also help reduce the negative effects on perception. One example: “I see this as a matter of honesty and integrity, so it’s important for me to be clear about where I stand.”

The study involved participants watching male and female actors reading the same scripts, pretending to be managers delivering criticism and suggesting there might be consequences for poor performance. After watching the actors, participants rated the “managers” in terms of competency and deserved pay.

Read More: 7 Myths About Women Leaders Debunked

MONEY Workplace

How to Stand Out in an Office Meeting

Meetings at work are a necessary evil. These rules will help you make the most of them.

Just because everyone complains about meetings doesn’t mean you can’t shine in one. Here are some tips to make sure you stand out (but not too much) in a meeting at work.

Try not to interrupt. Interrupting may make you come across as a blowhard.

Don’t be a wallflower either. You were invited to the meeting for a reason; make sure you contribute to the conversation.

Do some prep work. Have some talking points prepared.

Lean in. You’ll look more confident and more involved that way.

Try to sit across from the most important people in the room. When they look up from their notes, you’re the person they see.

Don’t undermine yourself. Phrases like “this is just my opinion but…” are not your friends. Speak confidently.

Be one of the first people to speak. This will help calm your nerves, and you won’t have to worry about someone else taking your ideas.

Read the body language. Are people checking their phones or drawing on their notepads? Maybe it’s time to sit down and shut up.

MONEY Workplace

Women, There’s a Reason You’re Freezing at the Office

A new study explains why women usually find the temperature too cold at work.

MONEY Workplace

How to Handle Your Worst Work Nightmares

box of office supplies on desk
Adam Gault—Getty Images

When you're done breathing into a paper bag, read this.

Your career is sailing along just fine—until one day you get an email from HR, and suddenly it isn’t anymore. While there’s no shortage of advice out there for how to handle the loss of a job, a blow like having your team downsized or being asked to take a pay cut can leave you reeling and without a sure sense of what to do next.

The silver lining, career experts say, is that you can bounce back—and even thrive—if you make the right moves. Career experts offer their advice for turning around these all-too-common professional setbacks.

You’re passed over for a promotion. First, try to figure out what happened, says career coach Todd Dewett. Maybe you had a hand in dealing your fate, maybe you didn’t—either way, it’s better to know. “You want to know if you were part of the cause, what the main cause might be if not you, and whether or not you should expect this to happen again,” he says.

If your performance is up to snuff, consider that there could be something in the way you look or act that could be holding you back. A recent CareerBuilder survey found that bushy beards, gossiping, even keeping your workspace a mess can be enough to keep you from moving up.

You have to take a pay cut. People like to point out that money isn’t everything—which isn’t the most helpful advice when you have to figure out how to get by with less of it. There are two steps to take here. The first is to think about what else motivates you to go to work every day. “Emphasize other aspects of the job or organization that have value… beyond money and position,” says James Craft, professor of business administration at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh. For instance, are there social benefits or personal perks (like being to negotiate one Friday a month off) that can ease the sting of that hit to your bank account? “Essentially, redefine what the value is in this employment,” Craft says.

If you come up empty—or if your budget is simply stretched too thin—then dust off that resume and move on to plan B. “Draw on personal and professional contacts to see what other job opportunities would be available elsewhere to continue to move toward [your] overall career objectives,” Craft advises.

Your team gets downsized. If the budget axe chopped your team in half, your job just got tougher. And if the changes result in more work and less reward for your underlings, you could be fighting an uphill battle—one that could reflect poorly on you. In that case, consider whether this might be a good time to move on.

“Spend time revising your resume and be sure your LinkedIn profile is current, and consider going on the market to find an employer that may value your professional competencies [and] positive attitude,” says Dale F. Austin, director of the Career Development Center at Hope College. The job market has picked up, after all, so it might be worth putting a few lines out and seeing if you get a bite.

You get demoted. So maybe you weren’t management material. Your ego might be smarting, but it’s your reputation you need to repair. “The most difficult type of setback is any which is clearly explained by your behaviors or competencies to the exclusion of other explanations,” Dewett says. “It’s on you, and everyone knows it. “ Depending on what went down, “you might need to make amends,” Dewett says. “Then it’s time to identify needed behavioral or skill changes.” Stumped? Ask a friend or trusted colleague in confidence. It’s likely they’ll see something that you don’t.

Your closest colleague quits. Whether it’s your assistant, your boss, or the CEO, an abrupt departure can rattle nerves and create an uncomfortable climate at the office. “Bad news can be unsettling, so be sure you get all of the detail you can,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director of HR consulting company Robert Half. Don’t assume you know what happened: “Ask questions and get clarification,” he says.

In a situation like this, McDonald advises, it’s important to evaluate your emotions and try to look at the situation objectively. “If you’re angry, frustrated, or sad, you may need a day or two to process the news,” he says. Once your emotions aren’t quite as volatile, you’ll be in a better frame of mind to address what happened.

Read next: 3 Sweet Employee Benefits You May Be Missing

TIME facebook

Here’s Facebook’s Course To Combat Bias In The Workplace

The company is now sharing it with the public

Facebook is a prestigious Silicon Valley company where many people hope to work, and yet it has had trouble building on a truly diverse workforce despite repeated promises to do so.

So on Tuesday, COO Sheryl Sandberg shared in a blog post the company’s latest effort in that area: an anti-unconscious bias course for its employees. The company is now sharing it with the public via a new website, complete with videos and presentations on various topics.

“One of the most important things we can do to promote diversity in the workplace is to correct for the unconscious bias that all of us have,” Sandberg wrote. “At Facebook, we’ve worked with leading researchers to develop a training course that helps people recognize how bias can affect them, and gives them tools to interrupt and correct for bias when they see it in the workplace.”

Google released a similar body of resources and training materials in 2014.

In mid-June, Facebook released its second annual workforce diversity report. Much like the other large companies that have also released such reports in the last two years, not much has changed in Facebook’s numbers. The company saw only a one percentage-point increase in total female employees (32%) and in women in technical positions (16%). Women in senior positions stayed at the same level — just 23% of the company. Facebook also didn’t see much improvement in racial diversity, still mostly hiring white and Asian employees.

“Diversity is central to Facebook’s mission of creating a more open and connected world. To reflect the diversity of the 1.4 billion people using our products, we need to have people with different backgrounds, races, genders and points of view working at Facebook,” Sandberg wrote.

The videos cover four areas: stereotypes and performance bias, performance attribution bias, competence/likability tradeoff bias, and maternal bias. It’s not clear how Facebook has implemented these training materials within the company, although Sandberg notes that people have asked the company to share the course with others.

TIME motherhood

Millennials More Supportive of Working Moms than Previous Generations

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Jasper Cole—Getty Images/Blend Images RM Mother and daughter walking on city street

Much more likely to say that moms who work have just as good relationships with their kids

Working moms are getting more love than ever. Millennials are much more supportive of working mothers than young people in the 1970s and 1990s, and there’s a broader consensus that working moms can have a great relationship with their kids, according to a new study shared exclusively with TIME.

Sign up here for TIME’s weekly roundup of the best parenting stories from anywhere.

Researchers at University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University attribute the increased acceptance to a shifting social and economic realities over the last 30 years, in which there are more single moms and few can afford not to work. The study, published Monday in the Psychology of Women Quarterly, analyzed the results of two national representative studies of nearly 600,000 respondents. They found that in 2010, only 22% of 12th-graders thought young children suffered if their mother worked, down from 34% in the 1990s and 59% in the 1970s. Adults also showed an increased tolerance for working mothers, with 35% believing that a child was worse off if his or her mother went to work in 2012, compared with 68% in the 1970s.

The researchers also found that more people believe working moms can have just as good relationships with their kids as moms who stay at home. In 1977, less than half of adults agreed that “a working mother can establish just as warm and secure a relationship with her children as a mother who does not work.” In 2012, 72% agreed with that statement.

“When you have more working mothers, you have to have more acceptance of them,” says Jean Twenge, author of Generation Me and a main researcher on the study. “When people look around and see ‘this is what people do now,’ you have to have more acceptance.”

But in some areas, there appeared to be a bit of a backtracking. In the 1990s, 27% agreed that it was best for the man to work and the woman to stay home, while 32% agreed with that idea in 2010-2013. In the 1990s, 14% thought the husband should make important decisions in the family, but 17% thought so in 2010. Twenge says that probably doesn’t indicate a spike in sexism, but instead might signify an increased perception that marriage is only for a certain kind of person. “It’s possible that this generation sees marriage as something that people with traditional gender roles do,” she says. “They think it’s for more traditional people.”

Twenge says the increased acceptance of working moms isn’t just because millennials have been around more women who work– it’s also part of the millennial tendency towards individualism. “One aspect of individualism is to treat people equally,” she says. “When you treat people as individuals, you’re not going to distinguish between a working mother and a working father.”

 

TIME Culture

The Art and Science of Doing Nothing

man-resting-rowboat
Getty Images

Shane Parrish writes Farnam Street

Also known as 'leisure'

Leisure or as some call it, the art and science of doing nothing. It’s something we all want yet rarely have.

Our modern workplace culture prides itself on filling every one of our minutes, even if it’s all for show. Yet leisure is necessary for insight, which is a key component in today’s knowledge economy.

Far from being the result of productive labour, for the knowledge worker, leisure is a necessary part of the labour. While it may seem non-productive, that is only looking at it from one angle.

In this excerpt, from The Theory of the Leisure Class, Thorstein Veblen defines leisure as the “nonproductive consumption of time.”

The term leisure, as I use it, does not connote indolence or quiescence. What it connotes is nonproductive consumption of time. Time is consumed nonproductively (1) from a sense of the unworthiness of productive work, and (2) as an evidence of pecuniary ability to afford a life of idleness. But the whole of the life of the gentleman of leisure is not spent before the eyes of the spectators who are to be impressed with that spectacle of honorific leisure which in the ideal scheme makes up his life. For some part of the time his life is perforce withdrawn from the public eye, and of this portion which is spent in private the gentleman of leisure should, for the sake of his good name, be able to give a convincing account. He should find some means of putting in evidence the leisure that is not spent in the sight of the spectators. This can be done only indirectly, through the exhibition of some tangible, lasting results of the leisure so spent—in a manner analogous to the familiar exhibition of tangible, lasting products of the labor performed for the gentleman of leisure by handicraftsmen and servants in his employ.

The lasting evidence of productive labor is its material product—commonly some article of consumption. In the case of exploit it is similarly possible and usual to procure some tangible result that may serve for exhibition in the way of trophy or booty. At a later phase of the development it is customary to assume some badge or insignia of honor that will serve as a conventionally accepted mark of exploit, and which at the same time indicates the quantity or degree of exploit of which it is the symbol. As the population increases in density and as human relations grow more complex and numerous, all the details of life undergo a process of elaboration and selection; and in this process of elaboration the use of trophies develops into a system of rank, titles, degrees, and insignia, typical examples of which are heraldic devices, medals, and honorary decorations.

As seen from the economic point of view, leisure, considered as an employment, is closely allied in kind with the life of exploit, and the achievements which characterize a life of leisure, and which remain as its decorous criteria, have much in common with the trophies of exploit. But leisure in the narrower sense, as distinct from exploit and from any ostensibly productive employment of effort on objects which are of no intrinsic use, does not commonly leave a material product. The criteria of a past performance of leisure therefore commonly take the form of “immaterial” goods. Such immaterial evidences of past leisure are quasi-scholarly or quasi-artistic accomplishments and a knowledge of processes and incidents which do not conduce directly to the furtherance of human life. So, for instance, in our time there is the knowledge of the dead languages and the occult sciences, of correct spelling, of syntax and prosody, of the various forms of domestic music and other household arts, of the latest proprieties of dress, furniture, and equipage, of games, sports, and fancy bred animals such as dogs and racehorses. In all these branches of knowledge the initial motive from which their acquisition proceeded at the outset, and through which they first came into vogue, may have been something quite different from the wish to show that one’s time had not been spent in industrial employment, but unless these accomplishments had approved themselves as serviceable evidence of an un productive expenditure of time, they would not have survived and held their place as conventional accomplishments of the leisure class.

(h/t Lampham’s Quarterly)

This piece originally appeared on Farnam Street.

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