Sylvia Ann Hewett founding President of the Centre for Work-Life Policy wrote of “Extreme Jobs” in “Extreme Jobs: The Dangerous Allure of the 70-Hour Workweek” in the Harvard Business Review.
People in extreme jobs work for more than 70 hours per week, have frequent travel, highly unpredictable schedules, and are available to their clients on virtually a 24/7 basis.
One-fifth of high earners surveyed in the United States have such jobs, according to new research. We see many executives in India too fall into this category.
Today’s overachievers are cast as “road warriors and masters of the universe,” says Sylvia Ann Hewlett. Warning that their pace is not sustainable, Hewlett says, “There’s a lot of risk attached. The fallout in private lives is huge.” In addition, she says, women are being left behind because many cannot put in 70-hour weeks.
What makes them do these jobs and do them well?
- Personal ambitions.
- Globalization, which requires professionals to work across multiple time zones.
- Communication technology also plays a role, allowing them to stay in constant contact.
- Increased competition for high-level positions
- Declining job security
“There’s something deep in our culture right now which really admires over-the-top pressure, over-the-top performance, over-the-top pay packages,” Hewlett says.What distinguishes these overachievers is their passion for their work. Two-thirds of high earners in a range of professions in the United States and three-quarters of top managers in multinational corporations say they love their jobs.
“The big surprise of the data was just how much these extreme professionals love their work,” Hewlett says. “It is a knowledge economy. Millions of people are amazingly challenged and stimulated by their work. That is good news.”