It’s in my nature to work hard. My work ethic is the way Will Smith put it, no matter my state, if we get on a treadmill I’m getting off last. I’ve translated this into my work over the years. For people who know my work ethic, they know that 16-hour days is nothing I shy away from, not because I’m slow, but because I can be incredibly productive and just love slashing off task after task.
Now I don’t want to toot my own horn, and how great I am (:-)) – the point I want to make is that having a successful career does not mean you need to sign off your soul (e.g.: all those consultants at McKinsey and co). Hard work and long hours do not equate to anything. Your job (putting the joy and passion aside – if you belong in that group for the job you do) should not define you and who you are. Emails at night, or working hours on end, or staring at the computer screen is not what it is about. You job title is just that – a job title. A description of what you do.
The problem society has is that in order to be defined as successful or have an “amazing looking career” you need to work long hours all the time, write emails nonstop, be involved in everything, and be the best at it all.
What I’m saying is that in the business world we, especially those in leadership roles need to convey and live the message that employees can be committed and still take time off. Managers and leaders can still be good leaders and delegate the right tasks. You, in your job, can be consistent and still have that occasional bad day. You can be a problem solver and still ask for help. You can be flexible and prioritize your family. You can work hard without overworking yourself.
Once society and businesses AND management grasps this – humanity will be that much better. Balance.