Long Hours, Hundreds of E-Mails, and No Sleep: Does This Sound like a Satisfying Job?
Although the 40-hour workweek is now the exception rather than the norm, some individuals are taking things to the extreme.
• John Bishop, 31, is an investment banker who works for Citigroup’s global energy team in New York. A recent workday for Bishop consisted of heading to the office for a conference call at 6:00 P.M. He left the office at 1:30 A.M. and had to be on a plane that same morning for a 9:00 A.M. presentation in Houston. Following the presentation, Bishop returned to New York the same day, and by 7:00 P.M., he was back in his office to work an additional three hours. Says Bishop, “I might be a little skewed to the workaholic, but realistically, expecting 90 to 100 hours a week is not at all unusual.”
• Irene Tse, 34, heads the government bond-trading division at Goldman Sachs. For ten years, she has seen the stock market go from all-time highs to recession levels. Such fluctuations can mean millions of dollars in either profits or losses. “There are days when you can make a lot, and other days where you lose so much you’re just stunned by what you’ve done,” says Tse. She also states that she hasn’t slept completely through the night in years and frequently wakes up several times during the night to check the global market status. Her average workweek? Eighty hours. “I’ve done this for 10 years, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of days in my career when I didn’t want to come to work. Every day I wake up and I can’t wait to get here.”
• Tony Kurz, 33, is a managing director at Capital Alliance Partners and raises funds for real-estate investments. However, these are not your average properties. He often travels to exotic locations like Costa Rica and Hawaii, wooing prospective clients. He travels more than 300,000 miles a year, often sleeping on planes and dealing with jet lag. Kurz is not the only one he knows with such a hectic work schedule. His girlfriend, Avery Baker, logs around 400,000 miles a year, working as the senior vice president of marketing for Tommy Hilfiger. “It’s not easy to maintain a relationship like this,” says Kurz. But do Kurz and Baker like their jobs? You bet.
• David Clark, 35, is the vice president of global marketing for MTV. His job often consists of traveling around the globe to promote the channel, as well as to keep up with the global music scene. If he is not traveling (Clark typically logs 200,000 miles a year), a typical day consists of waking at 6:30 A.M. and immediately responding to numerous messages that have accumulated over the course of the night. He then goes to his office, where throughout the day he will respond to another 500 messages or so from clients around the world. If he’s lucky, he gets to spend an hour a day with his son, but then it’s back to work until he finally goes to bed around midnight. Says Clark, “There are plenty of people who would love to have this job. They’re knocking on the door all the time. So that’s motivating.”
Many individuals would balk at the prospect of a 60-hour or more workweek with constant traveling and little time for anything else. However, some individuals are exhilarated by such professions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2004, about 17 percent of managers worked more than 60 hours per week. But the demands of such jobs are clearly not for everyone. Many quit, with turnover levels at 55 percent for consultants and 30 percent for investment bankers, according to Vault.com. However, it is clear that such jobs, which are time consuming and often stressful, can be satisfying to some individuals.
1. Do you think that only certain individuals are attracted to these types of jobs, or is it the characteristics of the jobs themselves that are satisfying?
2. What characteristics of these jobs might contribute to...