average american worker

According to the Tax Foundation, the average American worker works 127 days of the year just to pay his taxes. That means that government owns 36 percent of the average American’s output—which is more than feudal serfs owed the robber barons. That 36 percent is more than the average American spends on food, clothing and housing. In other words, if it were not for taxes, the average American’s living standard would at least double.
—  Paul Craig Roberts

The average American office worker spends more than nine hours of every week preparing for, or attending, project update meetings, according to the results of asurvey released last week by the software firm Clarizen and Harris Poll. That’s up nearly 14 percent from the last survey four years ago.

Experts say poorly run meetings grind away at employee engagement and make companies less reactive by bogging decisions down in human red tape. Some companies, including Mattel, try to create limits around the size, duration or frequency of meetings.

But meetings often last longer than they need to, Rogelberg says, because managers don’t understand Parkinson’s Law. This is the idea, backed up by research, that tasks take as long as the time allotted. If you budget two hours, it takes two hours.

And So We Meet, Again: Why The Workday Is So Filled With Meetings

Illustration credit: PW Illustration/Ikon Images/Getty Images

7 ways living in Switzerland ruined America for me
The Swiss understand work-life balance in a way Americans completely miss.
By Chantal Panozzo

The Swiss work hard, but they have a strong work-life balance. According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the average Swiss worker earned the equivalent of $91,574 a year in 2013, while the average American worker earned only $55,708. But the real story is that the average American had to work 219 hours more per year for this lesser salary.

Which brings us to lunch. In Switzerland, you don’t arrive to a meeting late, but you also don’t leave for your lunch break a second past noon. If it’s summer, jumping into the lake to swim with the swans is an acceptable way to spend your lunch hour. If you eat a sandwich at your desk, people will scold you. I learned this the hard way.

A letter to my Liberal friends

The election wasn’t rigged in either side’s favor.  It’s disingenuous to blame Clinton’s loss on voter apathy; there has always been voter apathy.  It’s both disingenuous and a cop-out to blame Clinton’s loss on those who chose to vote for other candidates; for one thing, that also has always happened, and for another those votes just represent more people who chose not to vote for Clinton; you may as well be just saying that she lost because of the people who chose to vote for Trump.

Which, in effect, is exactly what happened.  On Tuesday, America chose hate and absolutism; I’m so sorry, but democracy works; and, at the end of the day, Clinton didn’t lose because of millennials or because of Jill Stein and Mimi Soltysik or Bernie Sanders.  Clinton lost because of Clinton.  You must understand this in order for us to proceed.

The Democratic Party could not possibly be more disconnected from the American worker, and your party has no-one to blame but itself.  The Democratic Party styles itself as the party of urbanites, of society’s well-off and cultured, of the intelligentsia, and has handily succeeded in making itself perceived as such; the average American worker sees your party as the ultimate high horse, full of wealthy people with superiority complexes who enjoy belittling them, and their perception is not wrong; your party’s leadership has shown utter disregard for the American worker, and you need only take a look at all the people lambasting the “stupid rednecks” who voted for Trump in order to get a sense of the spirit of the times.

Are they hateful?  Yes, and hate is a learned behavior.  Are they ignorant?  Most certainly, and ignorance can be educated away.  If only one were to bother making the necessary connections.

Amongst other promises that can never be made good on, the Republican Party promises the American worker domestic stability, security, increased wealth in terms they can understand (deregulation leading to the production of excess capital), a sense of belonging.  They hide their thieving greed quite well behind a veneer of “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” narratives and other ways in which the American worker can take pride in themself as a worker and pride in the work they do; isn’t that quite a concept?  While the Republican Party does a masterful job of playing off common misconceptions and insecurities in order to secure itself, the Democratic Party cannot offer a competing narrative, defaulting to elitism; thus we live in a nation where the might of the working class is harnessed and directed by the Reactionary Right.

In the 2016 election, the Democratic Party showed its hand as being as far as one can get from the pulse of the American worker.  Given the opportunity to counter the opposition’s populism by investing a wildly popular and appealing populist of their own, they chose instead to throw in with an establishment candidate, trusting in Trump’s sheer horribleness to carry the day for them despite their utter lack of solidarity or mass appeal.  Your party laid everything out on the table with this strategy, and they came up snake-eyes.  I hope in retrospect that you can see how poorly planned and horribly mismanaged the whole affair was.

So what is to be done?  The outpourings of outrage I’ve seen from liberals have got me optimistic, and the liberals stating outright that “we have to do something” have been heartwarming, but I worry that the “something” you folks plan to do is to regroup, to hunker down, to work on running better campaigns in 2018 and 2020.  Too many of us don’t have that luxury.

As for myself, I am a transgender woman.  By recent statistics, my mean life expectancy is somewhere around 30 and my odds of being murdered are about 1 in 8.  All transgender people, people of non-hetero sexualities, people of color, the disabled and neurodivergent, adherents to minority religions, and women all face horrible statistics for our likelihoods of being unemployed, homeless, incarcerated, suicidal, victims of assault, victims of murder.  Our abusers and killers are often the police themselves.  This is what our lived experiences and everyday lives look like in an America overseen by a progressive-liberal Black president.  As it stands, I can maintain optimism about how Trump’s administration will use its governmental power, but that doesn’t account for his emboldened supporters.  We all know that Trump was endorsed by various neofascist and white supremacist organizations, that fascists made up some of his campaign’s most vocal supporters; well, his election has emboldened them, made them brave, given them legitimacy.  Even now, this early, there are leaderless gangs of armed partisans roaming the streets of some American towns to harass and assault people; there have been many assaults; there has been at least one confirmed death.  This is hard to swallow, I know, but this is what is happening.

We can’t say for sure that we’ll still be here in two years, let alone four.  I’ve heard some liberals say, “We’ll survive this; we survived Reagan,” but that plays into my point; the reason that, today, young gay men so vastly and overwhelmingly outnumber old gay men is that we most certainly did not survive Reagan.

This is where we stand.  Your party threw your election through chronic mismanagement; Donald Trump won because (unfortunately) the system works; violent reactionary tendencies are ascendant; society’s most oppressed are afraid, and we are afraid because we are in demonstrable, visceral danger.  What is to be done?

There are groups at work out there now that are well versed in such things as taking care of the people society has abandoned, providing immediate refuge to those in need, protecting people who are being attacked, and obstructing the machinations of government when they threaten the innocent; these groups are small, but they carry messages that the American worker will listen to, and they know how to educate.  These groups are today setting aside their own differences and crying out for solidarity.  There is one mere problem, though:  None of us trust you.  Allow me to explain.

I’ve seen liberals going out of their way to express their willingness to cooperate with Trump and his supporters, which is to say I’ve seen them express solidarity with the self-same people who hate me and want me to die; I’ve seen them insist that we must be respectful of the opposition even while the opposition disrespects our existence; I’ve seen them get morally outraged over protestors destroying material property or otherwise demonstrating “incorrectly” when what those protesters were demonstrating against was nothing short of murder; I’ve seen them denounce people as criminals and savages for demonstrably reacting in defense against violent attack.  I’ve seen so many liberals become filled with moral outrage at the idea that an activist may have broken a law, with no regard for what lives might’ve been saved by the breaking of that law.

To make perfectly clear why this is so troubling, I’ll close with an anecdote:

When the National Socialists were coming to power in Germany, their first targets were the community leaders, the organizers, the dissatisfied and outspoken, and Germany’s moderates–out of a desire for social stability and to maintain their legitimacy, and for love of the rule of law–aided them, colluded with them, turned over their own neighbors.  Only after the streets were cleared and made safe for hate could the horror fully unfold.