Our obsession with work-life balance seems to have increased over the past few years, and no wonder: thanks to mobile devices and a sketchy economy, the ability and pressure to work round the clock have never been greater. But should we really spend so much time worrying about balance?
Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic of Lifehacker says no — and that the problem might be less about work-life balance than about enjoying the jobs we do.
“If something bores you, it will surely seem tedious,” he writes. “When you hate your job, you will register any amount of work as excessive — it’s like forcing someone to eat a big plate of food they dislike, then asking if they had enough of it. Overworking is really only possible if you are not having fun at work. By the same token, any amount of work will be dull if you are not engaged, or if you find your work unfulfilling.”
In fact, he says, working “too hard” has a lot to recommend it. Putting in extra hours might be the distinguishing factor between you and equally talented colleagues, enabling you to move ahead in your career. It’s also a status builder: workaholics tend to have higher social statuses than their laidback peers, even in societies where most people have a more relaxed attitude toward work.
The goal, then, would be for workers to find jobs that are more fulfilling — no mean feat, but possibly a more fulfilling goal than chasing the elusive concept of work-life balance when the work side of the equation isn’t satisfying.
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