Today at the office, my boss Yin-Chu Jou (an international and NYC based concert pianist) told me that after three and a half years working in this job she had to get glasses because of how damaged her eyes became from looking at a computer screen for seven and a half hours each day. This statement perfectly summarizes my confusion toward 9-5 hour desk jobs and our society’s idiocy when it comes to health within our country. Even though I knew that the US is the most overworked developed nation in the world (after taking Eleanor Tison’s Intro to Sociology this past semester)- something about this statistic didn’t fully register within my being until experiencing my first ever official desk-job here at FAF.
Even though I’m doing work that I’m enjoying and is exciting overall, I’m having so much trouble (both physically and mentally) with sitting in a chair for almost eight straight hours. My posture has noticeably become worse and my back and shoulders almost perpetually ache. I’ve begun doing exercises to re-focus my eyes at the end of the day because otherwise I’ll feel dizzy and disoriented and my eyes will be fairly crossed.
We are allowed to take a half an hour lunch break in the middle of our day which I use to go outside and take in some sunshine- but so many of my coworkers choose to get their lunch and come back to eat at their desk while continuing work or browsing social media- which I don’t understand. It has almost become a social norm to work through one’s lunch break as an intern. On the grand scheme, this makes me so worried for our world. Not only do workers in the US not receive paid vacation leave (unlike any other industrialized nation)- but when they are given the time to take a vacation, many will choose not to in fear that their bosses will think they are lazy or replaceable-therefore meaning they could lose their job while on leave. Because of this- negative health risks increase every day for workers with desk-jobs country wide! Clearly, even worldrenowned musicians and company CEOs are falling into this cycle of unhealthiness- not to mention the entire upcoming generation of young people that I am a part of. Doesn’t it seem like our country is doing something wrong here?