Is overwork killing you?

Is overwork killing you? November 13, 2015


The Harvard Business Review thinks it might be.

The truly talented, we are told, flee obligations to work themselves into the ground. And yet they appear to love opportunities to do so, if presented in the guise of solving big problems, learning, and pushing themselves further.

Whether we are forced to or choose to work too much, however, a growing body of research suggests that working long hours damages our health, productivity, and families. A recent study suggests that it might be a factor in 120,000 deaths a year. Research also shows that people often use devices and policies meant to increase autonomy to take work home and work around the clock. While organizations wage wars for talent, it seems talent is at war with itself.

Given the physical and social harm that overwork can do, and the productivity losses organizations suffer, why do we keep at it? To answer that question, I believe, we need to look beyond personal ambitions and corporate incentives and norms, and look at our relationships with work itself.

The article goes on to explore the psychology of why we work ourselves to death–connecting it, maybe not so surprisingly, to the movement to “do what you love” and the equation of work with passion and artistic/creative expression.  Very thought-provoking, and worth a look.

Image: Pixabay.

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