It’s time to stop making overworking a virtue

April 6, 2022


Back in the day, overworking was a virtue.

“Bedchecks”–the 7pm grand tour execs would make to see who was still at work that late–were common in Silicon Valley companies. I remember getting a call from my CEO on a Saturday morning asking where I was for our meeting–I was actually in a hospital ER getting IV fluids as I’d been up sick all night. When my IV bag was empty I dragged myself to that meeting.

Overworking was expected. Work had to be the priority of your life, period.

These younger generations have been admired for their more holistic approach to life and their so-called work-life balance. But is that really true?

I’ve seen some young entrepreneurs pushing really hard and not taking their foot off the gas until they crumble emotionally. I mean crumble.

I can think of one coach who measures success in the amount of money they make and PUBLISHES that number as a motivator for the people they coach, who also overwork because they measure success that way, too.

I’ve seen this individual push and push and push–despite having young children in their larger-than-average family, until, finally, the inevitable breakdown occurs. Also played out on social media.

There is no balance. There is only acceleration–faster and faster and faster– and the constant monetary data propelling them and their followers along.

This is disturbing.

I know someone else who is fragile emotionally, but as someone with many talents, pushes to do all of them. No matter the eventual breakdown. No matter the cost to mental health.

This seems normal to them..Overwork. Breaking point. family and still Money money  money. They don’t take the foot off the gas until they crumble emotionally. So much going on and they have to be part of all of it. So many talents and they must exercise them all.

I have a few questions for these two:

How’a your quality of life?

Is everything you’re doing really necessary? What are your priorities?

How are your kids doing? How much time do you spend with them? With your spouse?

How much laughter is in your life?

If your life were to end tomorrow, will you have done everything you want to do for yourself and with your family?

These are important questions that often go unasked when we’re busy overworking..

I’m asking.
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5 comments on “It’s time to stop making overworking a virtue
  1. Lynda Beth Unkeless says:

    Your post reminds me of the old adage that when people are on their deathbeds, no one wishes that they had spent more time at the office.

  2. Melody says:

    I Worked in Silicon Valley almost 20 years and I know exactly what you’re talking about. I myself used to work a lot of hours. And yes it was rewarded and appreciated. For me it also had it to do with survival and Silicon Valley. I really needed the money of course I worked way too much. That’s one of the main reasons I decided to move back to Oregon, so that I could semi-retire. If I had stayed in Silicon Valley I would’ve had to work full-time until I was at least 70. I just couldn’t see myself doing that


    This is so true…some odd holdover to if it hurts it may be better. I see the same thing in religion, it’s called going beyond the mark. If giving 10% is good 15% is better.
    We simply don’t give ourselves grace. The knowledge I’m fine, my offering is sufficient. I see the same thing in exercise, 2 miles is great, 3 miles is better. What is it that moves us that way? And then there is the sloth side where I am right now. If 8 hours of sleep is good, 10 is better. ???

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