‘Extreme’ jobs on the rise: poor time management skills and workaholism to blame

So I’m quoted in an article today by the Christian Science Monitor called “‘Extreme’ jobs on the rise,” which cites a study by the Harvard Business Review called “Extreme Jobs: The Dangerous Allure of the 70-Hour Workweek” (there is no free version of this article; they make you purchase a copy for $7.00).  Read the fascinating quotes from the CEO of a gift basket company who works 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day, including weekends.  She essentially says she works those long hours because she has passion for her work.  So what?  I have passion for my work, too, and you don’t find me working that long.  This is workaholism, pure and simple.  I feel sorry for her husband.  She doesn’t go outside the house, gave up golf, and installed a home theater in her house to make up for the lack of time to see movies in regular theaters.  If she’s the CEO of a company, that tells me she doesn’t trust anyone in her company enough to run thing for her.  Or she’s not delegating properly.  Or she hasn’t hired enough people.  Or she’s a perfectionist or has horrible time management skills.  Or her business model is broken if she has to regularly work 77 hours a week to keep it afloat.  Don’t get me wrong: it’s perfectly normal to work long hours when first starting up a company.  It’s perfectly normal to occasionally work an 80-hour week when you have an important project deadline.  Then things should go back to normal.  But if that becomes a habit, now you have a problem.  I get tired of people telling me the long hours is “just the way it is,” as if they are not participating in that reality to some degree.  For people who are employed, what happens when you kill yourself all those years and then get the pink slip?  What’s left?  Do you think your company has some sort of loyalty to you now?  Overwork is in the top four reasons marriages end in divorce.  When you come out of this self-induced 80 hour week, what shape will your relationships be in?  Will you have any friends left?  What about when you have those health problems from a severe lack of taking care of yourself.  I am severly unimpressed by people who brag about the long hours they put in each week.  It says to me that you are not managing your time well.  You have to figure out how to get the results your job require but do it in less time, leave the office earlier, and get home to a life.  Oh yeah, you might not *have* a life.  Maybe that’s the problem.  Are you going to work to escape your life?  It might be time, as we approach 2007, to take a hard look at the reality you’ve created for yourself and decide to make some changes.



  1. Brian Kelley says:

    Extreme Work

    “The Productivity Pro” Laura Stack posted in her blog today about jobs where long hours are the norm:…