Working in the Face of the Storm

While Americans may be labeled “fat” and “lazy” by some, those who have done their research know that the latter, at least, isn’t necessarily true. Ignoring the fact that there are lazy people in every culture, no matter how hardworking it is in general, Americans are far from the laziest when it comes to work.

NYC after Sandy

For some, this week’s work schedule was business as usual. Some dedicated Americans braved Hurricane Sandy to make it to work.
Photo: André-Pierre du Plessis via Flickr CC

In fact, over 18% of Americans work over 48 hours a week, “excessive,” as defined by the International Labor Organization. We also have 40% fewer days off than those countries that top the list (France, Finland, and Israel). And despite the fact that we tend to earn vacation time quite handily, many Americans choose not to take extended time off.

That’s a fact you can’t deny when you consider the events of the past few days in New York City. The storm now known as Superstorm Sandy hit hundreds of communities on Monday, including NYC and New Jersey. There was significant flooding in many parts of the city, torrential rains, and winds up to 90 mph.

Yet, despite the warnings and evacuation orders, some chose to remain in their homes—and many even went to work. Maria Soto of Queens drove herself and a co-worker to Manhattan early Monday morning. “I would never not come to work!” she exclaimed. And despite rising floodwaters and danger, she’ll be at work again on Tuesday, she says. Fortunately, she’s one of the lucky New Yorkers outside evacuation zones.

NYCHA Elevators

NYCHA Elevators are being shut down during the hurricane to avoid failures and accidents.

Still, she’s choosing to follow some storm guidelines, like those laid out by NYCHA, which houses nearly 5% of New Yorkers. She’s staying in the area instead of driving home until the danger passes, spending as little time traveling as possible.

Residents are also advised to avoid elevators, which can fail if power goes out and cause accidents. (NYCHA has shut down their elevators for this reason), listen to news broadcasts and updates via TV and radio, have flashlights on hand, and keep all doors and windows shut and locked.

The storm is expected to pass through by the end of the week. And while some little worker bees are being forced out of commission for the time being, others are continuing about their day, shaking off the water, and braving the storm. And you sure can’t call them lazy after that.



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