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It’s not all fun and video games. In advance of Red Dead Redemption 2, set to debut later this month, members of the team told Vulture they were logging 100 hour weeks to deliver the long-awaited game to fans on deadline. Originally framed as a boast, the familiar claim soon generated backlash, and brought to the surface a question usually carefully repressed: How much work can kill you?
Americans love to labor. While full-time employment is characterized as a 40 hour work week, the average employee actually spends 47 hours at work each week, compared to 35 in Germany or Sweden. The United States is also rare among wealthy nations in that it does not guarantee paid vacation. And those working for companies that do offer paid vacation don’t even take it; 54 percent of worker bees squander half of their vacation days each year.
Approach - Culture - Ads - Fiverr - Bills
This approach to work is reinforced in popular culture. Ads for Fiverr, which bills itself as an “online marketplace for freelance services,” celebrate people whose “drug of choice” is “sleep deprivation”. Many executives perpetuate the myth that they need only 4 hours of sleep to function at the highest levels. And Lyft’s PR team was “excited” to turn the story of a woman who continued driving passengers while in the depths of labor into a shining example of the success of the gig economy.
This culture and economic structure has serious consequences—physical ones. In his recent book Dying for a Paycheck,...
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