Working for Tom Cruise

We are all working harder- stats show that 86 percent of U.S. men and 67 percent of women work more than 40 hours a week and it’s not just at work -22% are expected by employers to check email while not at work and a third of us check email while on vacation.

Are you surprised??? How many times have you gone out to dinner with a friend, hung out in Dolores Park or even gone to Burning Man and their face is buried into their iPhone-half of the time answering work requests??  I’ve done it myself -from a dive shop in Belize, from a beach in Thailand from (sadly) my tent on the Playa.

TOmCruiseBut it’s EXPECTED.  At my company meetings  our Sales Managers rush the stage with Jon Bon Jovi songs blaring-fists pumping.  They talk about the sacrifices they expect us to make for the sake of the company, the long hours they themselves work, the lack of family time they have-all for the sake of the company!!  The message is CLEAR-successful people work HARD and work is the #1 priority in their lives.

At each meeting, my coworkers are either constantly sick or have that Adderall-glazed look in their eyes.

Is THIS the American Dream??

A recent study shows the job satisfaction rate has declined to just 45%  in 2011-the lowest level ever recorded.  And, if you think this is all for the sake of better production-it’s not.

Studies on this subject conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics , U.S. Department of Labor, Proctor and Gamble Company, produced similar results.

All of them showed that continuing scheduled overtime has a strong negative effect on productivity, which increases in magnitude proportionate to the amount and duration of overtime.

So, why do it??  Maybe we are caught up in this Cult of Personality that sees success as a the equivalent of a hopped up Tom Cruise- a wired, bouncing overachiever who works like a machine- has the right clothes and haircut and comes out on stage-fists pumping selling you into his dream.

But, it’s all bound to come crashing down.  The Adderall wears off, the wife/husband divorces you, management trades you in for a younger model who can handle the 80+hour work weeks.

So, what CAN you control?  Maybe you can take work/life balance back into your own hands where it belongs.  I watched a TED talk where  Nigel Marshthe author of “Fat, Fourty and Fired” says it best:

Work life balance is TOO important to be left in the hands of your employer”   He also muses: “Commercial companies are inherently designed to get the most out of you-it’s in their DNA-its what they DO.  Even the GOOD ones.”  “WE have to be responsible for setting the boundaries we want in our lives”.

Now, that’s something worth jumping up and down on a couch about!

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