Illustrated by Austin Watts
We've all heard those infamous tales of Europeans working a cushy work week and taking epic summer vacations. Anyone who's ever sent an email to a French or Italian counterpart and received a month-long out-of-office message can attest to the extreme jealousy we feel at their seemingly laid-back lifestyle. So, to get to the bottom of it all, the economics website FRED did some digging and pulled all sorts of data on our work weeks compared to several European countries — and, while we're not surprised at the comparison, we were taken aback at our own work-week history.
It turns out that while we're still toiling away more than most of Europe, as a nation our collective hours are way down. As of this year, the average American works about 1,700 hours per year — but, back in the '50s, American employees were clocking in a whopping 1,900 hours. This actually follows an international trend, as France, Germany, and Singapore have all shaved significant time off the career clock. But, that doesn't make us feel any more guilty for the serious toiling our grandparents and parents put in. We'll definitely remember this the next time we're tempted to complain about a late night. (Business Insider)