For most hardworking Americans, the benefits of over-achievement — or just plain over-work — are obvious. The never-ending workday puts the kids through school, buys the dream house, builds the ego and pads the wallet.
But are we paying a price for our workaholic ways? Physicians, psychologists, theologians, sociologists, public policy experts, and life-management coaches agree that our hyper-work culture is costing us.
Consider this: Although we are the wealthiest people ever, we also happen to be the fattest to walk the planet. A direct link from our sedentary work culture to the deadly obesity epidemic is tough to prove, but experts say there's no denying that spending our days sitting at a desk, in a car or train and in front of the TV must contribute to our growing fatness.
Then there's the emotional and psychological damage. Therapists say their workaholic clients bemoan an all-encompassing work life and lack of companionship, difficulty keeping friends and a general sense of isolation.
With work as the dominant force in our lives, it's tough to find time for family, friends and community. Perhaps worse for our psyches, some experts say, we are finding it tough to do things for ourselves, including sleep or just doing things we like, such as playing guitar or dancing or just sitting in a park watching birds.
Of course, the glue of the time-crunched life is stress. Just getting to work is often nerve-wracking for many, thanks to bumper-to-bumper traffic or crowded trains. Work itself is often stressful, especially for those connected to work at all times through the wonders of modern technology, like cell phones, beepers and laptops.
And when work isolates us from friends and family, it creates even more stress, creating a veritable anxiety snowball.
Is work worth it, in the end? You tell us.
Part 1: Is Work Making You Fat?
Part 2: Workaholics: Married to the Job
Part 3: Stressing Out Over Work
Part 4: After Work: Surviving the Hectic Household