[OPE] Working Overtime Is Linked to Depression, Anxiety

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@tiscali.nl)
Date: Sat Jun 21 2008 - 04:47:35 EDT

I don't deny that unemployment and overwork is conducive to crime and disease, that is welldocumented as Jerry says. It's just that in my experience many people are unemployed or overworked for reasons which have more to do with personal factors, perceptions/prejudices, and social or power relations, than the real availability of suitable jobs or the objective need to work more hours. Workaholics do not not primarily work extra because they need to, but compulsively.

Just to give an example, we now have (officially) in Holland 300 thousand unemployed people and around 230 thousand known job openings, that's a ratio of 1 : 1.3.  A good part of that is no doubt due simply to a mismatch between the skills, characteristics and background of unemployed people, and the staff being asked for. Perhaps 130,000 Dutch people are on the dole longterm, and pretty much unemployable. But there is a lot of frictional unemployment. Many of those with tertiary diplomas can nowadays in fact pick and choose. But the situation also has to do with the functioning of the labour market itself (often more opaque than transparent) and with all sorts of intangible factors. That becomes clearer when you examine more precisely the supply and demand for work, in more detail - on the face of it, there is no particular objective reason why many people should be unemployed per se, and if they are, it may have more to do with not getting the work they want. As regards overwork, many Dutch public servants in fact work more hours than they are paid for. In many cases, they can clock up extra hours of leave, but in net terms still more additional hours are worked each year.  

As immigrant I have taken on the jobs I could get at the time, and I've worked even at times when I was ill. But that's not how Dutch people see it - if they cannot get a job commensurate to qualifications, experience and wishes, they often prefer to be unemployed, and if they have a notice from the doctor to say they're ill, they don't work. That's much less possible in the US, because workers there have fewer rights - the degree of leverage against the socio-economic compulsion to work is less.


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