(I love this post! I know I've been guilty of exactly what Joe describes below. Joe Robinson, by the way, is the author of Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life. He's also going to be a Brand ManageCamp 2005 speaker and, once you've heard him speak, I guarantee you will be re-thinking the balance - or inbalance - you've created between your work life and personal life. Humbling, enlightening and motivating message. Enjoy.)
By Joe Robinson, author, Work to Live: The Guide to Getting a Life
There might not be any Greek names on your office door, but the job these days is looking more and more like one big frat-house hazing ritual. Whoever can take the most abuse gets the promotion.
Somewhere along the line, we elevated work style—how long, how torturously—above the content of the work. Strain, stamina and constricted blood vessels have become the arbiter of commitment.
New evidence published last week shows the absurdity of the bravado game. A study in Occupation and Environmental Medicine shows that chronic 12-hour days increases your risk of illness or injury by 37%. Long hours regimens are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stress, hypertension, diabetes, fatigue, musculoskeletal problems and chronic infections, among others.
The study backs up many others that underscore the myopia of our overwork culture, including Japanese research into karoshi, death by overwork, which claims 10,000 fatalities a year in that nation. Since we work 100 more hours a year than the Japanese, I’d hate to think what our karoshi numbers must be.
Like eager fraternity inductees, we willingly subject ourselves to abusive work schedules as the price of acceptance among our fellows—and especially superiors. We look for those pats on the back from colleagues about how many hours/weekends we pulled, and how much more we can take than the next guy.
But overworkers and their companies are the ones being taken. Chronic overtime results in lousy productivity, mistakes on the job, and plays a big role in the $200 billion a year squandered by American business in job stress-related costs.
The stud sweepstakes are a dead-end, as former NFL warriors who can barely walk will testify. All the research shows that managers and employees who can resist the office version of marathon upside-down beer guzzling will live long and their companies will prosper in a grown-up workplace.