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Enjoy your Labor Day by NOT laboring

FastCompany has a good blog post about how difficult it is to get away from work these days.

Labor Day is 125 years old this weekend. And the American Psychological Association is urging us all to leave the workplace behind until Monday. They did a recent survey that showed nearly one third of us have trouble balancing our work and family lives.

They also point out that Labor Day as we know it was originally intended as a full day of relaxation in celebration of the American worker. Back in 1882, apparently, a workforce engaged mostly in factory and agricultural tasks could happily leave their jobs behind, and no text messages, e-mails or cell phone calls would arrive to summon them back to their place of business. Suggesting we all turn off our Blackberries this weekend, a spokesperson for the APA pointed out that our reliance on technology is contributing significantly to our levels of stress.

From the APA:

In today's 24/7 society, work frequently intrudes in to employee's personal lives during evenings, weekends, vacations and holidays. In fact, 83 percent of email users admit to checking their email daily while on vacation. Increasing work demands on employees have a significant impact on employers too -- job stress costs U.S. businesses an estimated $300 billion per year through absenteeism, diminished productivity, employee turnover and direct medical, legal and insurance fees.

"While technology has undoubtedly improved our lives in the last 125 years, constant use of technology can add to the stress levels of an already overworked nation," says Dr. Russ Newman of the American Psychological Association. "What is important is to learn how to manage your stress at work and truly balance home and workplace demands even if that means switching off your BlackBerry this Labor Day."

I'm not going to go that far -- shutting off my BlackBerry or iPhone. I mean, you've got to be kiddin, but... we are headed off to the Eastern Shore, and I have a book that isn't about government or IT or two-dot-anything. I heard Bill Flanagan, an executive at MTV, on the NPR program Fresh Air this week talking about his new book, New Bedlam, which apparently lampoons the cable-TV industry. So, I'm hope to fly through that, bike, kayak, watch a movie, and be recharged Tuesday when everybody will be back, right?

Have a good, long weekend!

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Aug 31, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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