We’re not talking about just any old hangover, here. This past weekend was the Grand Daddy of summer weekends. A ceremonial end to summer vacations, days on the beach, carefree nights by the lake and cookouts in the backyard.
But, chances are there is more to this weekend hangover, where you find yourself afraid to open your e-mail, or even uninspired to get out of bed.
You’re not alone.
There are many people working today who feel they can’t catch up to their every day spending. It’s not necessarily people who have difficulty balancing their checkbook, it speaks to a larger problem. Whether one receives a raise these days or not, more people feel they can’t keep up with the rate of inflation.
The Pew Research Center conducted a survey recently. If misery loves company, here’s your consolation prize — only 5 percent of those surveyed say they were staying ahead of inflation.
Admittedly, that is unfair use of statistics. Your pity party lies more within the 56 percent of those who said their joint income was falling behind the cost of living.
Those figures were taken just prior to the Great Recession of 2008, and it may be safe to assume those numbers have not changed for the better. Not considerably.
The same report from the Pew Research Center indicates perception differs from reality and that the average worker is keeping on par with inflation, but certainly not getting ahead.
The spending power of the average worker today, earning an hourly rate of $22.41, is equivalent to the $4.03 earned by the average worker in January 1973. It’s a phenomenon defined as wage stagnation. For many of us, it’s the cold sweats we wake up to in the middle of the night because we never seem to be able to get ahead.
What causes the stagnation, experts indicate a few possibilities, one of which is the constantly rising costs for health care. Another of which is the cost per unit of production.
That kind of terminology bled into the white collar world in 2008. Regardless if you were a textile worker or load docker or data entry employee, chances are you found your daily work itemized with a dollar figure attributed to it.
Dad always said, ‘be the first one in the office, and the last one to leave.’ That was the ticket to success in the corporate world. But, not anymore. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, we work about four hours less a week than our grandparents did in 1950. Burning the Midnight Oil is no longer a favorable trait employers want in a hard worker. It’s what can you do within those eight hours.
Overworked. Overstressed. Underpaid?
The figures may state today’s employee has it just as good or bad as her or her counterpart in 1973, but the work environment is a much different world than 40 years go. Production efficiency places more demands on today’s employee, making the workday a constant race against time.
You’re lamenting over the end of that three-day weekend? No one blames you.
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