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Will employment in the 21st century make you miserable?

Whether we like it or not work has become part of one’s identity. Thus, people tend to work excessively to fulfill desires like wealth and prestige. But even if those desires were not in the picture, everywhere around us are enterprises that offer something next to nothing to the laborer. It isn’t just greed that drives people into the maddening world of excessive labor but need as well.

Goldman Sachs case

An example of work overload was brought to our attention by the New York Times. The study covers the working conditions of Goldman Sachs, an investment bank. While, it seems glamorous to work in the investment banking field and receive salaries of 150,000$ or more straight out of college, reality is far from the utopian picture outsiders have.

The New York Times selected 13 first-year analysts from Goldman Sachs to share their opinions on the field and company style. Most of the junior bankers regarded themselves as victims of workplace abuse since they work an average of 100h per week. They were presented early on in their career with long working hours, unrealistic deadlines, unmanageable stress and lack of respect. They rated their job satisfaction as a 2/10 and insisted they would have to leave if the conditions remained the same.

The junior bankers themselves described their angst in stark terms:

“There was a point where I was not eating, showering or doing anything else other than working from morning until after midnight.”

“My body physically hurts all the time and mentally I’m in a really dark place.”

“I didn’t come into this job expecting a 9am-5pm’s, but I also didn’t expect consistent 9am-5am’s either.”

Nike case

On the other side of the earth Nike’s factories in Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia and China have been heavily criticized for their “sweatshop”* working tactics. Nike has been attacked numerous times with the claim that it takes advantage of labor markets but has backfired saying that it has no control over the factories.

However, a former worker’s interview reveals the conditions are inhumane and makes it clear it is indeed Nike’s fault for allowing them to continue. Factory workers in Vietnam work 70-80h per week and make 61-89cents/h even after the 2003 report that stated Nike violated Vietnam’s environmental and labor laws by exposing 10,000 workers at the Tae Kwang Vina factory to toxic solvents and routinely forcing them to work above the legal overtime limit.


It is logical for companies and employees to go after large profits. However, wellbeing studies illustrate that materialistic tendencies are linked to decreased life satisfaction, happiness, vitality and social cooperation, and increase depression, anxiety, racism and antisocial behavior. Workplace abuse is real even at the highest paying jobs. It’s our duty as individuals to act upon this issue and cut off companies who don’t respect their employees.

*Sweatshop also been known as sweat factory is refer to any working environment that is considered and negatively involved in poor, unacceptably difficult or dangerous situation that can harm the employees


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