Updated: Jan 17
There was a colleague I had lunch with at the beginning of 2022 as workplaces started to have employees back at the office. He admitted that getting a promotion to IT Manager was the worst thing that could’ve happened to him as he still had to manage projects in addition to his new duties as a manager.
Since he was managing teams in Hyderabad, India as well as Houston, Texas he had 12-hour workdays from 7 am to 7 pm EST. In addition, there were times when he logged in remotely in the evening to ensure the India team was on top of urgent issues before they logged in for the morning.
He told me about he one day approached his manager to quit citing overwork as the main issue. He previously indicated this issue to his management but it fell on deaf ears. He spoke to me about how he didn’t exercise and had limited time with his family. What set his plans to quit in motion was an elevated cholesterol level indicated by his doctor for the first time in his life.
He said the doctor’s report made sense because he constantly was stress eating and the company vending machine didn’t help.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO) published a report citing sufficient evidence for higher risks of heart disease and stroke among people working long hours (greater than 55 hours/week) compared with people working a standard (35-40 hour) workweek.
The report indicated that overwork is the largest risk factor for occupational disease and that stress hormones lead to elevated levels of cholesterol and blood pressure.
Societies often glorify overwork. In the United States, I’ve heard expressions such as “no pain, no gain” or “work hard, play hard” in the context of office work. Also, there are productivity maniacs that glorify “sleep only 4 hours like a Marine” or “only losers wake up after 5 am.”
In my personal experience, I’ve never encountered office resources that stress a work-life balance. We always need to take training from Human Resources about corporate code of conduct or cybersecurity. Have you seen any mandatory HR training courses on work-life balance or how to manage stress & overwork? If so, please let me know.