Case Study -- Extreme Jobs
B6125-Leadership and Organizational Behavior
February 18, 2013
In today’s workplace, extreme jobs are now the norm. The article Harvard Business Review, “Extreme Jobs”, defined extreme jobs as any job that requires more than 60/70 hours per week and also adds different factors such as work flow, 24/7 availability, and travel. Executives are working harder than ever; showing that the 40 hour work week is now a thing of the past. The article states data revealing that 62% of high-earning individuals work more than 50 hours a week, 35% work more than 60 hours a week, and 10% work more than 80 hours a week (Hewlett & Luce, 2006). Working 80 plus hours a week is definitely extreme.
Working these grueling hours come with a price. While the pay is great, and the recognition unimaginable, what do you have to give up for it? The problems with these extreme jobs are the long hours, the health problems due to lack of sleep, the family issues, and no life outside of work. Many of these people endure health problems such as insomnia, weight gain, and heart problems. The impact on health is serious. Many of these top executives are not even taking vacations for fear of missing out. “Vacation has become stigmatized – in many corporations contenders for the big bucks or the corner office don’t feel they can take time off” (Hewlett, 2007). Survey data show that nearly 60% don’t take what they are entitled to, while others take less than half the allotted time off.
Extreme jobs may be appealing to some but it definitely is not free. Survey shows the repercussions of extreme jobs on family, home and intimate life. In women, 77% have issues maintaining home, and 53% claim that extreme jobs interfere with having a satisfying sex life. In men, 46% say that their extreme job interferes with them having a strong relationship with their spouse/partner and 65% don’t have a strong relationship with their children (Hewlett & Luce, 2006). David Shontz, a lawyer in Orlando, states that he is rarely home for dinner and breakfast a rare occurrence. It’s a big sacrifice but he believe it’s worth it (Stark, 2006). No matter the statistics, the majority of these individuals love what they do. They are motivated by the stimulating adrenaline rush and challenges that the extreme jobs give them.
Many people now-a-days think that in order to make it in this workforce you have to be willing to work the long grueling hours required. Extreme jobs are no longer rare. While most of the individuals surveyed on extreme jobs claim to love their work and everything about it, deep down they must feel pressure. Not having a social life, missing out on family time, and having health problems is not the life one wants for their self. Causes of the problems that extreme jobs cause:
• Competition – the competition has become more intense. “Within companies, the combined effect of merger mania and substantially flattened hierarchies has been to pit a bigger pool of workers against one another for any given promotion” (Hewlett & Luce, 2006). Another driver of extreme jobs is the fear of losing jobs to outsourcing arrangements. Outsourcing jobs have grown throughout the years. People all over the world are willing to work more for less money. This drives many companies to want to outsource. In order to keep your job, you have to perform beyond your best and show you’re worthwhile.
• New levels of connectivity – technology has grown tremendously giving workers the opportunity to be reached at all times and to work from anywhere. “Extreme work is also the result of the key technologies that facilitate it” (Hewlett & Luce, 2006). Technology has amped up work requirements by ten times what it...