A recent article I read on burnout in hourly-wage jobs mentioned how often people overlook chronic stress and fatigue in these jobs. The American ideal of “just work hard” makes many see burnout as the price of a better life.

While true in an ideal world, today there are a few things wrong with that:

  1. These jobs rarely give employees a career ladder to “climb up.”
  2. Burnout causes long-term health issues like obesity and heart disease, which hurt workers and society long-term.
  3. So many workers are so desperate for work and/or to support their families, they’ll put up increasing abuse and can’t just “find another job.”

All that nuance is lost when others can simply chant “just work hard!” It’s today’s version of “four legs good, two legs bad” - oversimplified and now meaningless, but great for drowning out calls to do better.