Regrettably, the sisters' saga is far from common. Americans log more time at work than almost any other people in the developed world. According to the American Institute of Stress, employees in the U.S. spent 40 more hours on the job during the course of 2000 than they did in 1990. (Some government statistics show a slighter rise in hours worked for this period, but they don't include little things like unpaid overtime!)
We also get less time off than workers do in other nations. Unlike many European countries where at least four weeks of vacation are required by law, American employers aren't required to offer any vacation at all. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we get an average of 10 days off after one year on the job and 14 days after five years. But in today's tight economy, many of us don't take vacations for fear of looking like a slacker. Either that, or we're struggling with extra responsibilities inherited from colleagues who were laid off during downsizing.
"We live in a time when people are asked to do more with less," explains Catherine Heaney, Ph.D., an associate professor of public health at Ohio State University. Add it all up and you have the formula for physical, mental and spiritual burnout.