The total solar eclipse skirted just south of our Lincoln office on Monday. The once or twice in a lifetime event was a tourist draw for Nebraska and all around eastern Nebraska today there was a semi-festive atmosphere surrounding the eclipse. (When the eclipse passed over Lincoln around 1 p.m., the cloud cover combined with the eclipse created the temporary appearance of a severe storm coming in at dusk)
In and of itself the eclipse is interesting and even awe-inspiring, but I am not sure it completely explains why people are so fascinated by the event. I believe that part of the attraction of the eclipse is that it gives people an excuse to get away from work on a Monday – especially a Monday in summer.
I don’t mean that in a judgmental way. Americans work hard.
Among citizens of the so-called G-7 nations (U.S., U.K., Canada, Japan, France, Germany and Italy), Americans put in the most hours at work among the citizens of these wealthy nations. The average American put in 1783 hours on the job in 2016 in comparison to just 1363 for the average German worker.
The average American worker logged roughly two more weeks on the job than their counterpart in Canada. The average American worker also logged 70 more hours than their notoriously hard-working Japanese counterpart.
Earlier this year, the Heinz Corporation announced it was giving its employees a vacation day on Super Bowl Monday. Corporate America realizes that American workers work hard and some companies realize that giving people a little extra time off isn’t going to hurt the bottom line. And whether it’s a solar eclipse, the Monday after the Super Bowl or “Black Friday” hard working Americans are going to take some deserved time off from work if they are able.