Thanksgiving and Capitalistic Dysfunction


Once upon a time, the Japanese were known to be the workaholics of the world.  Now, the statistical average shows it is the Americans who overwork themselves.  The average American employee works 1,800 hours, which is more time clocked than any other wealthy/industrialized country.

In addition, Americans are much more likely to work nights and weekends.  Americans lead with 29% of its workforce working on the weekend, compared to 26% in the UK.

Weekly Hours United States United Kingdom Germany France Netherlands Spain
Work Avg 41 38 37 36 33 35
Weekend % 29% 26% 22% 22% 19% 10%
Night % (10pm-6am) 27% 19% 13% 7% 7%

Hamermesh and Stancanelli (2014)

So prevalent is the expectation to work long hours, and the belief to be grateful to have a job that works one from 9 am – 11 pm on occasion, that some of my executive clients have mused that they know their clients better than their own children.  How does this behavior impact the holidays?

Thanksgiving is traditionally the most widely travel day of the year to reunite with family.  Yet, this year 2014, Kmart and Sears (both owned by Sears Holding Corporation) will be open 42 hours straight on Thanksgiving Day.  The internal pressure to make financial ends meet plus the external demand by employers to work, lead many Americans to forsake quality time for capitalistic gains.  How likely is it that this behavior has largely contributed to destroying the very fabric of our greatest strength…our identity as a cultural unit?

We have become Individualistic to a fault.  This behavior to survive (and “Keep up with the Joneses” – Kardashians?) in a capitalistic society has torn at the very seams of our raison d’être, and threatens our legacy as a nation.* European countries, such as Austria, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Norway, close most stores on holidays.

CALL TO ACTION: Refrain from shopping on Thanksgiving; save it for Black Friday.

Shortsightedness, for immediate gain versus long-term results, can become a detrimental habit that leads to irrevocable time wasted/lost.  No body has “I wish I worked more,” inscribed on their gravestone.  Enjoy your family, and be thankful this Thanksgiving that you have one.

Eat. Laugh. Love.

Rossina Gil, MSOD, MAIS, is a Leadership and Organization Development Practitioner, an adult orphan, and the founder of Corporate Looking Glass – a diverse consultancy of OD experts and strategic thinking partners.  We increase retention.  Visit

© Rossina Gil, 2014

* China is highly collectivistic; it has three of the world’s highest revenue-generating companies, followed by JP Morgan.


Daniel S. HamermeshElena Stancanelli, 2014


About Rossina

Thought Partner & Corporate Primatologist

Posted on November 10, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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