UNITED STATES—Why does it seem nowadays that the idea of work has stretched far beyond reality? Some of us work part-time, some of us work full-time, and some of us work 2-3 jobs. Work is no longer a part of our lives, it is our lives. We wake up preparing to go to work and we fall asleep with the dread of having to do things all over again the next day.

Is there any possible way to alleviate the pressures, the stress, and the insanity about going to work? To be honest, it depends on the person’s idea of what they consider work. If you look at work as being stressful, there is a strong likelihood it will be. If you observe work as something unique and challenging, that is what you come to expect.

For most of us, the problem with work is the notion that we have jobs or do things that don’t necessarily bring us joy. It’s hard to clock in for 8-12 hour shifts knowing it feels like you’ve worked 20 hours at a never ending job. We work because we need MONEY. It’s the one commodity that drives so MUCH human behavior. We want this, we want that, we need this; we need that, money is the glue that unfortunately keeps society operating.

Someone pitched to me the notion of having only a four-day work week. There was one slight catch; you’d have to work 10-hour shifts. Hey sign me up. Why? Most of us already spend another 2-3 hours in traffic, why not spend that time at work, so that you have another entire day to relax, to recoup, to reenergize and prepare yourself for the following week.

I’ll admit my work schedule has fluctuated throughout my lifetime. I can vividly recall for close to 15 years I always worked weekends. There was about a good year or so where I didn’t work Saturdays. Sorry, I hate Saturdays, it the one day of the week I despise working. Sundays not so much; it’s that one day of the week, that just screams boredom to me, I don’t know why, but I’d work a Sunday in a heartbeat, Saturdays, I’ll fight to the death to have off.

Some have argued the four-day work week would have an impact on the economy, yeah probably a positive effect. I tell this to people all the time. If you work 5 days a week, you’re going to want 1 day where you do absolutely nothing, well at least a portion of a day where you do nothing. The other day will be reserved for running errands, paying bills, doing chores, etc.; trust me, that day off, if a day where someone else is not telling you what to do. Rather the new work pattern would consist of most Americans having Friday, Saturday and Sunday off or weekends and one weekday off is up for debate. However, I think this is something most Americans should consider; heck the government could also implement a possible policy for this. I mean they have more days of than anyone and they do little to no work on Capitol Hill. Yeah, please argue otherwise, I’m certain plenty of Americans would beg to differ with those claims. They receive breaks almost as if they’re still in school.

This might explain why so many Americans are overworked; we rarely get the appropriate amount of time off to recoup. Is a one week vacation a good thing? Without a doubt, but you can truly only enjoy maybe the first 3-4 days of the vacation. When it becomes apparent that the notion of going back to work edges closer it causes a few sleepless nights if you ask me. Americans should definitely have more personal or sick days with their employer.

Granted, it’s something that has to be earned, it shouldn’t be a cut-off in my opinion. I mean it took nearly eight years with my past employer to have 3 weeks of vacation, and we only got 4 personal holidays during the year. I think the personal holidays or sick days as many people call them, should be up to at least 10-14 days a year. Why? Those can act as an additional vacation or two for a worker. Could you imagine the idea of being able to take a vacation every 6 weeks?

The body and the mind would be able to decompress without the worry of being overworked which so many of us deal with day in and day out. Work is supposed to be fun and for the most part, it is to some degree, but employers should give a bit more. Remember, without employees there is no company. Sometimes you never appreciate a good employee until he or she is long gone and it’s usually a factor of being overworked and underappreciated.