Take a look at this sign.

I’ve one of these hanging on the door of my office. Now maybe I’m just being lazy on the day before Thanksgiving, but to me, this sign represents something broken about American work culture.

There’s no “Closed,” there’s just that stupid clock to say when you’ll be returning. No AM or PM, no day or date, so the implication is that you’re only absent a short time, a brief interlude in an otherwise uninterrupted work day.

Americans spend more time at work than almost anyone else in the world, but it’s hard to put a finger on what the benefits are. It’s not like the rest of the modern world is lazy and impoverished and we have to toil 18 hours a day just to get by; there are plenty of people living happy, productive, well-balanced lives with a decent income. Aren’t there?

I just returned from a trip across the Atlantic, and as an American, it’s hard not to envy the balance between work and personal time that so many other countries seem to achieve. Though maybe I’m just jealous of the grass, which, as we all know, is always so much greener than ours. I’m mostly ignorant about the daily life of an average citizen in other developed nations, so maybe I’m way off the mark. A lot of times I wonder if many of America’s problems, however, aren’t related to the demands of our work culture.

I’ll let someone smarter than me work that out, and yeah, I’m probably just feeling lazy today. Screw that sign, though.

Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow, Americans, and Happy Thursday, rest of the world. Now here’s a picture of some dancing dogs.