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Fri May 14, 2021, 09:08 PM

We Buy Into And Glorify The 'Cult' of Overwork, & Burnout- Why

Last edited Fri May 14, 2021, 09:47 PM - Edit history (1)



- "Money never sleeps," one of the messages of the 1987 movie, 'Wall Street.' Many think that workaholic vibe colored the 1980s as a decade & is still common today. Michael Douglas, L, as Gordon Gekko, ruthless corporate raider in the film 'Wall Street'; Leo DiCaprio, R, as NY stockbroker Jordan Belfort in the film 'The Wolf of Wall Street,' (2013).
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BBC News, Worklife, Bryan Lufkin, May 9, 2021. - Overwork culture is thriving; we think of long hours & constant exhaustion as a marker of success. Given what we know about burnout, why do we do give in? - Excerpts, Ed. ~ Interesting article, worth reading.

In 1987 Gordon Gekko, the unscrupulous cigar-smoking powerhouse in the film 'Wall Street,' told the world: greed is good. The movie – ultimately a cautionary tale – depicted work and wealth-obsessed executives putting in long hours in sleek skyscrapers to seal deals and boost their pay packets, at the expense of whoever got in their way. If you live and breathe work (and toss in some moral flexibility), the message was, the rewards will be exciting – and immense. Although many of us associate overly ambitious workaholism with the 1980s and the finance industry, the tendency to devote ourselves to work and glamourise long-hours culture remains as pervasive as ever. In fact, it is expanding into more sectors and professions, in slightly different packaging.
New studies show that workers around the world are putting in an average of 9.2 hours of unpaid overtime per week – up from 7.3 hours just a year ago. Co-working spaces are filled with "rise and grind" or "hustle harder" posters. Billionaire tech entrepreneurs advocate sacrificing sleep so that people can "change the world". And since the pandemic hit, our work weeks have gotten longer; boundaries between our personal and professional lives dissolve.

In spirit, we're not so far from the Gekko years as we think. Yet, one thing is different: we understand far more about the consequences of overwork, and the toll burnout can take on our mental and physical health.

Given how entrenched our admiration for high-stress work culture is, however, halting our overwork obsession will require cultural change. Could the post-pandemic world be our chance to try? Overwork isn't a phenomenon exclusive to Silicon Valley or Wall Street. People work long hours all over the world, for many different reasons. In Japan, a culture of overwork can be traced back to the 1950s, when the government pushed hard for the country to be rebuilt quickly after WW2. In Arab League countries, burnout is high among medical professionals working in overburdened healthcare systems. Reasons for overwork also depend on industry. Early researchers on burnout in the 1970s asserted that many people in jobs geared toward helping others, in clinics or crisis-intervention centres, tended to work long hours that led to emotional and physical exhaustion – a trend that's shown up in the pandemic, too.

But millions of us overwork because somehow we think it’s exciting – a status symbol that puts us on the path to success, defined by wealth or 'living a dream life with a dream job.' Romanticisation of work seems to be especially common among "knowledge workers" in the middle and upper classes. In 2014, the New Yorker called this devotion to overwork "a cult". "We glorify the lifestyle, and the lifestyle is: you breathe something, you sleep with something, you wake up and work on it all day long, then you go to sleep," says Anat Lechner at NYU. - Origins: So, where did our tendency to glamourise overwork come from? Why, in rich, Western countries, like the UK and the US, is there a sense that working yourself ragged is something to brag about? The roots trace back to the 16th cent. 'Protestant work ethic'- a view held by white Protestants in Europe that made hard work and quest for profit seem virtuous.. Fast forward to the yuppie age of Thatcher and Reagan- spending long hours at the office to support the upwardly mobile lifestyle and the rampant consumerism of the decade increased. From the late 1990s to the early 2000s, workaholics became identified not by blazers but rather hoodies, as tech start-ups grew into giants like Google and Facebook, and power shifted to Silicon Valley.

- The future: Yet even though we’re working harder than ever, and young workers are faced with a potentially toxic combination of greater financial pressures (student debt, combined with lower salaries and higher house prices), pressure to find ‘their passion’ and pressure to find a stable job in an increasingly insecure job market, there may be some small signs of change. In March, a mock employee survey by 13 first-year analysts at Goldman Sachs showed respondents said they averaged 95-hour workweeks and slept 5 hours a night. "This is beyond the level of 'hard-working', this is inhumane/abuse," said one respondent to the survey. Gen Z users have been open about mental health struggles, and built communities discussing depression, panic attacks and burnout openly. And as grueling as the pandemic has been, it's also forced us to see work-life balance in a whole new way. Last month, LinkedIn conducted a survey of more than 5,000 users over 2 weeks: 50% and 45% of respondents say that hours or location flexibility and work-life balance respectively have become more important to them since the pandemic...

More, https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210507-why-we-glorify-the-cult-of-burnout-and-overwork

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- Leo DiCaprio as NY stockbroker Jordan Belfort in 'The Wolf of Wall Street.' https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wolf_of_Wall_Street_(2013_film)

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Reply We Buy Into And Glorify The 'Cult' of Overwork, & Burnout- Why (Original post)
appalachiablue May 14 OP
rownesheck May 15 #1

Response to appalachiablue (Original post)

Sat May 15, 2021, 08:24 AM

1. I propose

20 hour work weeks MAX. Cut CEO pay to 250k a year MAX. Workers would still receive the same pay they would've received at 40 hours. No more classifying anyone as SALARY worker either. Your job should NEVER take over your life. It should be the most insignificant thing you do in your lifetime.

Granted, I haven't crunched the numbers on my plan, but we could make it work.

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