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Work-life Balance (revised)

Loving your job is BAD for your career as you work too hard in the evenings and are outperformed by colleagues who come in refreshed

  • People who feel their job is integral to their life may find it hard to be productive
  • These people are less able to successfully disengage from work in the evenings 
  • This limits their energy levels the following morning and their ability to focus

Workaholics may be doing their career more harm than good. New research suggests people who love their jobs too much are at risk of being outperformed by less dedicated colleagues. This is because they work too hard and for too many hours, leaving little time to relax. As a result, less dedicated colleagues could outperform them by turning up to work each more more alert and refreshed. 

Research from King's College London and Royal Holloway found having an intense career calling motivates people to work longer hours which directly limits their psychological detachment from work. This in turn reduces sleep quality and their ability to focus. 'A calling produces a set of superior goals that are given higher priority over other life goals', said lead author Dr Michael Clinton from King's College London. 'This focus on calling-related goals can be problematic when the additional goals, which may include both personal and family related goals, are not given sufficient attention and when they are important for individual functioning.'

The team studied the working lives of 193 Church of England ministers. Minsters who strongly believed their existence would be much less meaningful without their involvement in the church could engage less frequently in daily recovery processes.

However, researchers say these processes are important in protecting people from work-related strain. Individuals display workaholic tendencies in almost every sector, from zookeepers to bank managers.

'This study has shed light on how callings may often be challenging for an individual, demanding more of them than perhaps less meaningful and consuming endeavors', said Dr Clinton. 'People should be aware of how much value they place on their career and the subsequent effects of this on their life,' he said.

Researchers noted that it is not surprising people with intense callings push themselves to work long days. In the short term this is not a bad thing as it enhances satisfaction and productivity. 'While the intensity of a calling has a positive direct effect on work-related vigor, it motivates people to work longer hours, which both directly and indirectly via longer work hours', researchers wrote in the study, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.'There are costs associated with habitually working long hours, in terms of psychological and physical well-being and if this subsequently leads to fatigue then one might also expect a greater risk of impaired performance and risk-related behaviours', they wrote.

Questions for discussion:

  1. Is it necessary for human beings to work to be happy?
  2. Do you like your job? Why yes or why not? If you don’t, what job do you want to get?
  3. Which is most important in your life? Rank the items in order of priority.
  • Your partner
  • Free time
  • Personal growth and development
  1. Would you stop working completely if you had enough money?
  2. Would you take a 50% salary cut if it meant working only 25 hours per week?
  3. Do you sometimes work overtime? Is it OK for you to work longer hours?  Does your company pay you for that?
  4. Do you sometimes work on your days off? Does your company pay you for that?
  5. Does your company support work-life balance for the employees? In what ways?
  6. Do you want to do more for your company, or you think you already do enough/ too much for it?
  7. Does your job affect your relationship with your partner and/or children?  Why yes or why not?
  8. Is it easy for you to relax after work or during your days off? What do you usually do to relax?
  9. Do you sometimes find yourself in a situation when you can’t think about anything but work? If so, what do you usually do to take your mind off work?
  10. Workaholism - is it an addiction or a necessity of our life?



to work overtime – работать сверхурочно

days off – выходные

employee – сотрудник

workaholism – трудоголизм

necessity - неизбежность​

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