Why we can\’t have nice things

€œIt’s harder for me to want to get up and go to work than it used to be, € said Weber, 47, who started at the factory at 19. €œIt’s not something I would wish on anybody. I’m worn out. I get home and I can barely stand up. €

The relentless drive for efficiency at U.S. companies has created a new harshness in the workplace. In their zeal to make sure that not a minute of time is wasted, companies are imposing rigorous performance quotas, forcing many people to put in extra hours, paid or not. Video cameras and software keep tabs on worker performance, tracking their computer keystrokes and the time spent on each customer service call.

Employers once wanted long-term relationships with their workers. At many companies, that’s no longer the case. Businesses are asking employees to work harder without providing the kinds of rewards, financial and psychological, that were once routine. Employers figure that if some people quit, there are plenty of others looking for jobs.

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